August 2016: Greener Grass
The other day, my wife commented on our neighbor’s lawn. “It looks so lush and green. I wonder how he does it.” Inwardly I cringed a little as I surveyed our own lawn – mostly weeds, clover and dandelions, interspersed with bare spots where it seems like nothing will grow. No question about it: we didn’t have a fence between our yards, but the grass was definitely greener on the other side of the property line!
Did you ever feel like that about your marriage? You meet another couple who just seem to have it all together, or you read Facebook posts from your friends who are constantly celebrating one thing or another, and seem to be having a great time doing it. Then you look at your own relationship and wonder, “what’s wrong with us? Doesn’t anyone else have bills and problems and fights with their spouse? Does anyone else get tired of working, tired of trying, or just plain tired? Why isn’t our marriage as uncomplicated and fun as theirs seems to be?”
Well, of course, the first thing to remember is that you can’t believe everything you see on Facebook, or even on the faces of people that you meet. Every marriage has a public side and a private side, and even couples who are close friends seldom see the true nature of another couple’s inner life. Every marriage has conflict, and there is no perfect marriage. That doesn’t mean, however, that some marriages are not healthier or more stable than others, just as some lawns really are greener.
Quite often, as in the case of my neighbor and me, the difference in yard attractiveness is largely attributable to a difference in care and feeding of the turf. My neighbor spends a fair amount of time (and some money, I expect) in applying fertilizer, lime, weed killer and water to his lawn. He aerates and dethatches it, and overseeds it when necessary. Me? I just sort of let my lawn grow “naturally.”
Unfortunately, a lot of people think healthy, happy marriages will just happen “naturally.” Not so. Like lawns, they must be cultivated and nurtured. The primary difference I see in healthy marriages as compared to those that are struggling is intentionality. Good marriages are good, not because of luck or choosing the “right” partner, but because the individuals in the marriage work at making it better. Every marriage can be improved. There are tons of resources available to help you, but you must provide the intention, the will, to do something different. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be surprised if your marriage eventually goes to seed.
Remember the old (new?) proverb: if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, try spreading some fertilizer on your side!
For help and resources to improve your marriage or relationship, contact Compass Marriage & Relationship Services. We are pointing the way to better love!
Contributed by: Larry Compter, Executive Director
Above image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net