RSVP Montgomery

Growing Love

MAY/JUNE 2012

Crystal Strickland
New*ly*wed: a person recently married. This definition by Merriam-Webster may no longer apply to you, but no matter how long you've been a couple, there's always an opportunity to create excitement in your marriage. So how do you maintain the love, chemistry, adventure and fun?!

As you're reading this, my husband and I are approaching our one year anniversary. With 10 years of courtship under our belts, I guess you could say we really know what each other likes and dislikes. Well, I’m here to tell you that we learn something new about each other every day. The experience of growing together as newlyweds is similar to the garden we recently planted. We all have ups and downs in our relationships, and to find happiness together, sometimes it’s simply a matter of how well we handle the “weeds.” A garden is much like a relationship. It takes some tending to, but it really is a lot of fun!

Steps to building your garden and your relationship
First, we had to smooth out the ground where we wanted to build our garden. Then, we built the support out of wood beams. This step was crucial in determining the height and size of our bed.

Relationship-wise: Support is important in any relationship, but especially with your spouse. Having just the right words and just the right touch can make a difference in how something is taken or interpreted.

Second, we put the soil in the bed. We combined a mixture of potting soil, mushroom compost and manure (kind of gross, but it’s considered an organic fertilizer). Having the right soil can be a deal-breaker for a healthy garden, and sources say your garden soil should be at least 50% compost.

Relationship-wise: To keep a healthy relationship it is important to know what love language each other reacts to. Remember, we all have different ways that we feel appreciated, so find the right mix. Make sure your spouse knows how you feel most appreciated.

Third, we flattened out the soil and determined which vegetables to plant. Remember that certain veggies and fruits require an allotted amount of space for best results. Depending on how large your garden is, you will need to do some research and check the labels.

Relationship-wise: Like determining the best things to plant, find out what makes your relationship grow. Have date nights and hobbies you enjoy together! Even just getting out of the house and going on a walk together is a great way to separate yourselves from work thoughts, TV, cell phones, etc.

Lastly, we planted all of our vegetables and fruits and gave everything plenty of water.
Relationship-wise: Both of you need to be givers, not just takers in the relationship. This is probably one of the most frustrating things couples face today. Realize that it takes both of you to make a relationship work— just like your garden needs not only plenty of water, but sunlight too!

Ways to keep your love going strong:
Weeding: Get rid of the negatives in your relationship by talking it out with one another. Pick your battles and determine, is this really worth it?

Fertilizing: Couples, who pray together, stay together. This is key to a lasting relationship.
Pruning: You need to prune your plants (especially tomatoes) for structure and health—this will ensure that you end up with the largest and most abundant vegetables. Just like in relationships, sometimes you have to change how you do things. Be willing to listen to your spouse, and understand that being stubborn isn’t healthy. In order to grow together, you must be willing to listen.

Pest Control: There are so many pests that can ruin your garden, and this also goes for your relationship. It may be your stress from work, your addiction to texting or even more serious issues like cheating. It’s important to focus on getting rid of these bugs, and it all depends on how much effort you put into it. Think about it, you would never plant a beautiful garden and then allow the pests to take it over without a fight.

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