I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not always greener on the other side. In fact, the grass is greener where you water it. At times in life, we can feel like we’re stuck. Maybe you feel like your relationship with your spouse, parent, sibling or friend is under strain. Of course there are times where we need to protect ourselves, and put up boundaries in relationships that are causing more harm than good. But for the most part, frustrations and difficult seasons happen - no one is immune to trouble, it’s just a part of life! But instead of peering over the fence, and contemplating what life could be like without that relationship, why not shift your perspective, face the situation head on, and begin to water it.
Sometimes trouble is a product of neglect. I’m not by any means an expert, and yes, I am young. But my own experiences to date, what I have observed, and common sense would tell me that if you aren’t ‘watering’ your relationship, then you must be neglecting it. And with neglect, comes trouble.
A few months ago I went to my favourite markets, as I like to do on my Saturday mornings, with a dear friend. One of the stalls was selling spinach plants, among other things. And we thought it would be a fabulous idea to buy spinach plants And the lady who was selling them assured us they would be ‘so easy’ to look after. ‘Just water it every day, and each time you trim it, it should grow back within two days’. OK, great, I thought. This sounds simple. This means I’ll never ever have to buy spinach from the shops again - I can simply pick it from the pot in my lounge room. Great. So I planted my lush spinach in a pot, and put it right next to the window, so it would get a whole lot of sunshine - the first mistake. I then went away for a few nights over the weekend - the second mistake. Fast forward three days, and my lush spinach plant had completely wilted to one side. It was almost dead!
You think I would’ve gotten the hint that I'm not a green thumb, and would've thrown the plant out? Of course not! While I was tempted to buy a new spinach plant and start again - for some reason, didn't and I stuck at it. Ever since, I've been tending to that little plant, watering it, and willing it to flourish. It’s taken a very long time for that little plant to sprout again, and produce green leaves. And I’m slowly seeing the outcome of my consistent watering and tending to it.
Just because something is broken, doesn’t mean you have to trade it in for something new.
Just because the grass may seem greener on the other side, doesn’t mean that your grass can’t be even greener if you actually water it.
I think this can be like relationships of any kind. Whether it’s your marriage, your dating relationship, your relationship with your sister, mother, father or brother, your relationship with a colleague or a dear friend - if you neglect it then it will wilt. But if you water it, then it will flourish.
Much like my interaction with this plant, there may be times where you aren’t watering your relationships, in fact you may have neglected them for quite some time, or you may be in a habit of neglecting them time and time again.
First things first, show yourself grace. You’re human. You’re not perfect, neither am I or the girl next to you.
Secondly, just start watering it!
So what does watering look like? If you want your relationships to flourish, you’ve got to be intentional. Here’s some practical points: Set aside a specific, recurring times in your week that you will spend with your spouse - for example, set aside a date night. And during the week, or on certain nights, have a ‘phones away’, technology off time, where you chat, go for a walk, play a board game together or go get your favourite gelato or donut. Yum! When it comes to your family and friends, plan ahead. We all live very full lives, there's always another ‘thing’ that can chew up our time - so book in ahead! Why not plan a month in advance? Chat to your friend and arrange for a time a few weeks down the track, put it in your calendars, and follow through.
Simple, intentional decisions will ensure you are watering the relationships in your life. Let me echo my earlier words - I'm by no means an expert in this area, but I know that we could all receive this reminder to take care of our relationships, so they will flourish.
I'd love to hear about the intentional decisions you're making to water your relationships. Tell me in the comments section below.