Well, how about that, the Springtime rains are finally here! Ahh, just taste the freshness, feel the … wait. What’s that? Heat? Humidity! What happened?!
We didn’t get much of a Spring where I’m from in the middle of Iowa. Springtime was pretty cold, even a little snowy, and then all of a sudden summer hit with a humid heat wave, and a lot of rain. But because you missed Springtime doesn’t mean you can’t get those Springtime duties done! Not at all. Get those windows open, the sills dusted, and the rugs shaken out! We assume you’ve prepped your mower. Here, some people are mowing their lawns three times a week. The changing seasons is a lot like relationships.
We’d love it if life with our spouse or significant other progressed exactly as you and I expect them to. I step outside with the hopes of breathing in the coming of a fresh rain. Few can actually describe how a coming rain smells, but I can tell you that it fills my nose with notes of freshness that make my whole body invigorated. The love of fresh air and seasons became a familiar rush of happiness induced by mom back in my kid days.
I didn’t always appreciate how much there was to do to prep a new season mostly because I wanted to play, not work. We vacuumed, and dusted, and Lysoled. We cleaned screens before popping them back into the window frames, and washed as many windows as we could reach. I think mom was most excited by her ability to hang our wash on the line outside to be dried by a fresh breeze, but she absolutely loved her garden too. I admit to loving the fruit of the garden. There is nothing like a fresh tomato, or carrot, right out of the garden. Mmmm Mm! But I didn’t love all the work that needed to be done. Mom told me once that gardening was about attitude and mindset. I get that, now. So are your relationships.
I complained too often. I didn’t relish her excitement either, mostly because she wanted us awake at 6 a.m. to weed the garden or clip bushes. She knew the summer heat could be overwhelming by late morning. The sun and humidity had the affect of wet, sweaty skin, and dry throats. I still wanted the freedom to ride bike, climb trees – or better yet, play catch with dad, or my brother! At some level, we all want that, don’t we?
More than several of our clients step into our office wanting to do anything to save their relationships. But “anything” means hard work, and discipline — like the days we had to wake up early so we could do everything we could to make the garden healthy and the house fresh. What does it take to make your home fresh again? What does it take to save a suffering relationship, or make a fledgling one, better?
Let’s face it, we don’t always appreciate cleaning up our relationships. And sometimes, even though we want to make all the right preparations, the season of one’s relationship may not cooperate. You can’t simply make everything better by prepping to do the right thing. When the time comes you must do whatever it takes. We’re relationship counselors, and you’d think we were perfect, but sometimes we realize we haven’t dated in awhile, or found our moments of time needed before the day begins. What happens when we neglect the work that should be done? We let our weeds overtake us. Weeds like irritability and apathy. We let other things like work get between us. We start living parallel lives, instead of together lives. We need to remember our mom’s advice in days when she was right, and we were too stubborn to recognize it.
Look: golf, baseball, softball, tennis, climbing, hiking, cycling, swimming, CrossFit … they’re all fun to play, and most of them cost a mountain of money, and quite a lot of time involved in building the necessary skills. But the cost couples (who see us for crisis counseling) don’t often account for is the stuff you “didn’t do” – well, it piles up, and becomes even harder to make right later. Take it from my mom. “You’ll have plenty of time to play, and you won’t have the stress of knowing everything is left undone at home!”
You can’t just sweep the dirt under the rug. Eventually the rug will be lumpy and difficult to walk on. Eventually the rug will lose it’s purpose. My mom was right. The seasons won’t always cooperate, but you can always set yourself up to get the work done. Do that and you’ll have plenty of time to play. Plenty of time for fun. But it’s all the good stuff. It’s all important. Just ask mom.