Happiness and Tending the Garden

Standing in your new house you look out at the garden. Your own garden. Maybe your very first garden. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s lush and green… and perfect. You buy some tomato cages and gently wind the plants through so they’re supported as they grow. You buy the right pesticide for those pesky green bean bugs. You go out there every night for a few minutes to weed, and you water when it hasn’t rained in a while. Sometimes you even spring for some special nutrient-rich soil. You spend the summer caring for and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor.

By the next summer you have a baby and a dog and a new job and there is less time for the garden. It doesn’t bother you – you’re too wrapped up in the things demanding your attention – and even when you catch a glimpse of a gangly, fruitless tomato plant you aren’t really bothered and just tuck it away as something to work on next year.

One day you happen to glance out the window and it hits you. The garden is a complete mess. The weeds are taller than the plants, which have mostly rotted away or been eaten by grateful deer. The rusted cages are all bent and there are more leaves than soil now. Come to think of it, you haven’t seen a bean or a tomato in a few years.

Marriages, like gardens, don’t grow if they’re not tended to. Neglect can creep up slowly and sometimes irreparable damage can be done when you aren’t looking. Get back in the habit of tending to it – and enjoying it – every day. You both deserve it.