Every Spring I love to go out and work in my backyard garden. From my desk in my home office I see weeds, dried plants, moss and fallen leaves. No matter how hard I try or what garndening techniques I find on the internet and in my gardening books my yard is just not attractive all year long. Just like my garden, we have to work hard to keep our personal relationships healthy and close. For a healthy couple relationship, this work can be the most challenging of all.
Back to my garden --- I still need to work on all aspects of my garden and yard to make it beautiful and keep it that way. Planting flowers, plants and even the correct type of lawn and knowing when and where to plant these items are skills I have had to learn over the past years.
Relationship skills like gardening can also be learned. Most people I see in my counseling office think somehow they are already supposed to know how to communicate well automatically without much training or effort. They also often believe they can just solve conflicts without getting upset or not have any other part of their stressful life interfear with the relationship. It’s just not so. All of us need to learn and grow especially when we are under pressure to solve a painful situation.
To grow, your responses to the other person needs to change. You can’t wait till the other person changes. Waiting for the other person to make needed changes is a stand off. It’s not about who cares the most in the couple , its about you working toward a healthy relationship and taking the steps for growth and change yourself right now. The attitude of - I’ll start anyway making changes and growing is a good one. And your growth will make it more likely the other person will be influenced.
I have learned in my years of work as a therapist with most people it is the hardest to respond well as an individual in a couple. There are several reasons for this --- the risk is different, your buttons get pushed more easily and all the stuff from the relationship comes up. There are many things that can effect the relationship just as there are many types of plants and flowers in my garden that all require different types of care.
Today choose to start the change in your relationship and work in that garden you will be surprised and excited to see yourself as an individual and as a couple change!
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