Marriage is like a plant: It Blossoms or Withers
Few years ago my family and I took a long trip to overseas, and we had asked a friend to move-in and keep or take care of our house. We forgot to mention that a friend should also water our plants. We had different kinds of plants at a strategic corner of our house. Our plants were so beautiful and well taken care of. They were a pride of the family. Our friends and relatives would always admire their beauty.
When we came back from an overseas trip, we found our house in good order, except for one thing – our plants had withered and died because they were not watered – except for one which survived the ordeal, and displayed some signs of resilience and promise of life. We tried to save that one plant, but it later died.
Marriage can be likened to a plant. It either withers when not taken care of, or blossoms when taken care of.
1. Choosing a plant
Experts in plants and planting encourage beginners to study plants, choose plants that grow easily, and can survive the beginners’ mistakes. One needs to decide on the kind of marriage he/she wants. Study the prospective partner before taking a huge step of tying a marriage knot. Find out from those who are experienced in marriage. It is generally believed and accepted that one’s worldview and values determine the type of partner and marriage one desires to have. Some people’s worldview and values are informed by their religion, and society or/and family traditions. For example, Christians or Muslims or Hindus or followers of African Traditional Religion often search and choose partners from their within their ranks or religious persuasions. This move minimizes marital conflicts seeing that a couple shares common fundamental religious beliefs. Their mutual religious beliefs tend to serve as a support system to a couple. They may have marital conflicts in other areas of their marriage, but not in their religion.
2. Planting stage
A plant grows well in a prepared and fertilised soil. Marriage should have a strong foundation for it to grow and blossom. Choosing a partner from one’s religious persuasion can be equated to planting on a fertilised soil. Critical care should be taken in the early stages of a plant, and carelessness and negligence might result to withering of a plant. Studies show that the first five years of marriage are critical in the survival of marriage. The time of bonding and getting to know each other closely might cause growth or withering in a new marriage. Great care should be taken, and guidance sought all the time from those who are experienced.
3. Plants need sunlight
Plants need sunlight in order to make chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a chemical that helps or makes plants to be green. If we deprive plants of sunlight, they will not be able to produce chlorophyll. A plant will lose their green colour, and ultimately die. Sunlight is not generated by the plants, but it is a critical resouce that comes from out side of a plant. All marriages need sunlight or power or resources from outside of itself in order to remain healthy and grow. Like a plant that receives enough light in order to make chlorophyll, so marriage needs to receive help from outside in order to produce peace, love, and kindness for partners. Each marriage needs God or Allah or Higher Power in order for it to grow. Each marriage needs to be exposed to marriage enrichment programmes, not only as a response to problems, but as a regular and proactive nurture for marriage. Without nurture and support, marriage will grow unhealthy and die.
4. Weeds choke plants
We grow plants, but weeds just grow. We work hard in order grow plants, but we don’t need to do anything to have weeds. Weeds intrude and then fight with our plants for space, water, sunlight, and nutrients. In order to keep and protect our plants, we must remove or kill weeds. Marriage, if unattended, will develop weeds, and weeds will compete with marriage for space and attention, and suffocate marriage. What kind of weeds that can threaten to choke your marriage? Lack of or no love, communication, care, attention, support, and kind words. Weeds show themselves in nagging, lack of patience, unfaithfulness, and causing unnecessary problems in marriage. Other people (relatives or in-laws) might represent weeds in marriage. Protect your marriage from unwanted weeds. Marriage will grow and blossom if we protect it from weeds that compete with our marriage. Weeds undermine our efforts, hence it is important to remove them.
5. Prune old branches
We prune plants in order to encourage new or fresh growth, and also to encourage a certain shape of our choice. Marriage may neeed to be pruned of unwnted habits and practices. A partner might develop habits that need pruning in order to benefit marriage. Partners in marriage should make a deliberate choice to be on the lookout for habits or acts that might need to be attended to for the sake of the growth and health of marriage. Prune the habit of not keeping promises, forgeting important dates, not allocating time for the partner, and anything that is not in the best interest of your marriage.
6. Plants yield flowers
Well nurtured and healthy plants reward us with beautiful flowers. Flowers attract bees, people, and beautify the environment. A well nurtured marriage attracts and encourages others, and provides a sense of security for children. Take care of your marriage, and do not leave it to chance because it will wither and die. A well taken care marriage yields a healthy, loving family. A loving family forms a strong backbone for a healthy society, and this in turn, positively impacts on the entire entire nation. A happy, healthy, nurtured family provides a buffer for all forms of abuses, and a haven of rest for children. NURTURE YOUR PLANT. NURTURE YOUR MARRIAGE.
I live in Somerset West, South Africa. I am a senior lecturer in the Helderberg College Faculty of Theology, Somerset West, South Africa. My… (Bio)