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I’ve never had a green thumb, but really admire those who do. I’ve been thinking about this lately because my balcony could really use a pretty plant to brighten it up, but I refuse to have one because I know as much as I’d like having it, I won’t consistently care for it. Even if it only needs periodic watering, I am likely to go weeks without paying attention. And since a dying plant is not only unsightly, but a reminder of my own inadequacy or unwillingness to accept responsibility for its upkeep, when I do check on it, I won’t see possibility for reinvigorated growth, I’ll instead see needy despair in every shriveled leaf. Needless to say, the pattern of avoidance will continue until at last, I will breathe a sigh of relief and pronounce the poor dead plant “too high maintenance”, as I throw it away.
Of course, the problem is that I’ve just realized that keeping passion alive within a long term relationship takes a lot more than a simple weekly watering…
If I can’t keep a plant alive, can I (and my partner!) reasonably expect myself to consistently nurture passion any better? Conversely, do people with green thumbs find it easier to give passion the ongoing attention necessary to allow it to thrive?
The similarities never occurred to me before, but now seem obvious. Plants and passion both require: healthy soil in which to establish sturdy roots; some amount of sunshine as well as rain; the proper nutrients to develop fully; room to grow; and protection from external harms like insects or strong winds.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that while they may not be absolutely necessary, research shows that loving attention, words of affirmation and even touch, foster much healthier growth of plants and passion.
So, now I ask you… do you have a green thumb?
If so, are you as careful tending to your passionate life as you are to your plants? If not, do you know why? Do you value passion in your marriage as highly as your garden? Is it worth considering a change in your focus?
If you lack the ability to sustain plants, have you found it equally difficult to nurture passion? Are you like me and find consistency almost impossible in all areas of life? Or do you focus well, but prefer to direct your energies towards things that matter more to you? Is maintaining passion something that is worth the investment to you even if it requires great effort?
While the fact that I avoid plants in order to ignore facing the consequences of my inattention can be laughable, it’s not usually quite as funny when we use the same avoidance technique in our love life. But, it happens all the time. Not only do we stop engaging in passion, we stop talking about it, we stop thinking about it and we often make fun of others for openly celebrating it. (I can’t stand when people snicker and try to shut down warm public displays of affection between loving adults; it makes me so happy to see people hugging and kissing.) Yet, it happens regularly because none of us like to be reminded about what we don’t have, even if it might be available to us if we cared to exert the necessary effort.
Maybe we should all have a visual reminder, like a “love plant” of some sort in our kitchen. Every time we enjoy a burst of healthy passion in our relationship, we can “reward” ourselves by adding a new bloom to it. In contrast, because nothing ever stays the same, we take one away every week that goes by without growth. That just might be a plant I’d get excited about growing instead of trying to avoid.