In the spring, I’m an enthusiastic gardener. I plan, I plant. I set up barriers to keep Flopsie, the wild bunny who lives in my yard, away from my lettuce. I water the garden. I savor those first days when the sun feels warm after a long, cold Chicago winter.
By autumn, I get neglectful. I water less often, I check plants less frequently and when I do, I discover the 2 foot cucumber that has rotted on the vine. The sun is lower in the sky and there isn’t quite enough warmth to ripen those last tomatoes or the peppers that seem like they will never turn red. I wonder if it is time to pull up the plants and call it quits for this year.
Relationships can be like a vegetable garden. We go through seasons when we invest time and creativity in them. We savor the warmth we feel with our important person. The days feel long in a good way. At other times, there’s less time, less light, less warmth. Sometimes these darker seasons are for reasons we can’t control; work demands, illness, a busy season in raising a family. Sometimes we get neglectful, preoccupied.
I was talking with some friends recently who have been in one of those darker times. As we talked, they threw out a metaphor, “Our marriage needs more water and sunshine,” by which they meant more attention, more warmth, more time with each other. And they started to brainstorm about ways to choose each other more often over the other people and tasks that crave their attention.
Every relationship needs water and sunshine. What’s one thing you could do to bring more water and sunshine to your important person?