Oh my, a marriage metaphor. This could be dangerous.
I buy myself inexpensive flowers a couple of times a month. It is the perfect Monday pick-me-up. I love hydrangeas so much that try as I might to buy a different flower, I usually come home with my tried-and-true favorite.
A couple of years ago, my husband gave me a hydrangea plant for father’s day. (Why he bought me a present on Father’s Day weekend is another story altogether.) It flourished under my care for a little while, but ultimately, I killed it. Ryan thought that was hilarious and started calling it a metaphor for our marriage.
So I did what I had to. I brought it back to life.
It’s a hardy little thing.
Unfortunately, I proceeded to kill it again. (Sorry, little fella!)
Now I’m nursing it back to life for a second time.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I “kill” our marriage routinely, but it definitely takes its hits. Like the other night, when I was a bit peeved not to get any notice that Ryan was on his way home from work (I think it was 9:30), and he interrupted my episode of Downton Abbey. (Can you blame me? That is a good show!) Despite his protests, I dutifully turned off my show and tried to chat with him. But my mouth kept betraying me with its unnecessary quips.
Or last Saturday, when I was a annoyed all day because I didn’t feel like Ryan’s heart was into fathering that day. (I mean, hello! Is my heart into mothering every single day?)
But I’ve also been doing some nurturing lately. I call it Marriage Maintenance Mode. He loves it when I’m in Marriage Maintenance Mode because I give a lot of back rubs and greet him enthusiastically when he comes home at night (even at 11pm, which is quite the feat for this morning girl!). I try harder to watch the tone of my voice and to thank him for things I notice him doing.
Writing it down, it actually looks simple. But anyone in a serious relationship knows, it is not. A relationship requires DAILY care, and yet it is so easy to let almost everything else come first. I used to let long periods go by (whole pregnancies, in fact!) without whipping out Marriage Maintenance Mode. I’m quicker to get back into it now when I start to feel our connection sliding.
One great thing about a hydrangea is that when it starts wilting, it will revive after spending a night submerged in water. A vendor at the farmers’ market taught me that trick a year ago, and it works like a charm. For us, Marriage Maintenance Mode has a similar effect. 🙂 It helps us reestablish the connection that makes me smile when I wake up each morning.
What are some of the small things you do for your spouse when you go into Marriage Maintenance Mode?
** The last tie-in I can draw from this analogy—The blooms changed colors when I revived it and repotted it in new soil! I will let you draw the parallel there, before this analogy degenerates any closer to sappy. 🙂