16 Jun Marriages don’t survive neglect

Ever noticed how relationships and marriages tend to wilt over time? As a marriage therapist I see frequently how one of the common reasons for this is that marriages don’t survive neglect.

garden nursery photo

In couples therapy I often see once blissfully happy partners wrestling with the realisation that their relationship has wilted.

“How did that happen?”, they say.

“Maybe I chose the wrong partner?”, or “maybe I’d be better off with someone else?”, or “how disappointing: this one seemed so right at the start!”.

I’m a lot more competent as a marriage therapist than I am as a gardener, which is a good thing for my couples clients, and not such a good thing for the many plants that have withered whilst in my care.

I can cope with the odd pot plant that withers in my care. But my work with clients is a constant reminder for me of what could happen if I treated my marriage with the same degree of neglect.

When I finally gave up on an indoor pot plant recently, I reflected on how marriages and relationships can’t survive (let alone thrive) without ongoing commitment to attention and care.

It’s a cycle that many will recognise. Let me tell it as a gardening analogy that goes like this:

You go shopping and see a lovely pot plant and think:

“How gorgeous. I want that! It’s just what I’ve been looking for!”

You take it home, and put it proudly in your lounge room where you can enjoy it every day. When it needs water, you happily oblige.

Then you have a busy week and forget to water it…

At first you don’t notice that it’s become dry. The leaves go a little brittle and brown. When you finally do notice, you add water, and make a mental note to look after it better from now on. Then you have another busy week and forget to water it again.

Sooner or later, looking after this plant becomes just one more thing to do…

The leaves are now brittle and brown. You water it again and buy some special pot plant reviving food as a last ditch attempt to revive it. The reviving works a little, but sooner or later you acknowledge that it’s just not what it was.

You decide that the best is over, move that pot plant outside, or chuck it in the bin…

Then sometime later, you go shopping and see a lovely healthy pot plant and think:

“How gorgeous. I want that! It’s just what I’ve been looking for!”

Relationships and marriages are a lot like pot plants. They need to be cared for. If they’re not, it doesn’t matter how great things were at the start. They will wilt (and die) eventually.

Busy lives or not. Take care of each other if you’re after love that lasts.

If you’re on the Sunshine Coast and in a relationship or marriage that’s wilting, contact me. Let’s get you both caring for it better, and creating love that lasts.