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Do the work of loving

April 18, 2012

Here’s a great idea…

In their publication, The Marriage Garden, H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall say, “Marriage can grow from a handful of seeds to a garden filled with colorful, radiant life. But this won’t happen by accident. It will require careful attention to the well-being of the plants. We may need to increase the light of encouragement, the fertilizer of time spent together, and the water of kindness. We need to weed out destructive thoughts and actions while encouraging healthy growth. Steady investments in the relationship will assure a bountiful harvest.”

In other words…

We can’t neglect our relationships and expect them to grow and prosper. Just as gardens require regular attention, relationships require regular, enjoyable time together. They also require a willingness to understand our partner’s feelings. Unfortunately, many of us have been encouraged to deny our feelings. We have been told to be happy when we aren’t. We have been told to stop being mad when we are. So many of us are confused about our feelings and don’t know what to do when strong feelings occur. When someone takes a genuine interest in how we feel and—rather than arguing with our feelings—tries to understand how we feel, it can feel like warm sunshine on a chilly patch of the garden! For most of us it is a rare experience—and it is priceless!

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…

Both you and your partner can make a list of things you enjoy doing. Share these lists with one another and look for things you might do together. As you discuss potential activities, seek to understand your partner’s feelings and preferences.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent.

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