Have you noticed how marriage continues to be a big part of American culture? Even though the divorce rate still is hovering around the 50% level, people continue to get married. Marriage holds a special place in most people’s life. We all want to be involved in something special, to be able to share important times and experiences with someone else. Did you also know that of those couples that end up divorced, 40% state that they regret ending the relationship?
It is natural that in marriage there will be difficult times. Times where you and your spouse don’t seem to be on the same page or where life seems to be routine and monotonous. Yet it is during these times that each member of the marriage often will blame the other for their lot in life. Yes we may admit our own contributions to our floundering relationship, but not fully. Or we may take more than our share of the blame and become the marriage martyr in hopes that everyone will be happy and just get along.
It is during these times that most people sell their relationships short. Limits are placed on what the marriage could become. Statements are tossed around like “he’ll never change,” “that’s the way she’s always been,” “they never initiate or make the first move.” I’ve got news for you, the future is not yet written. I assume you do not consult a crystal ball regularly. Even if you do, the future can be what you make it.
To begin expanding the possibilities of your relationship, be honest about what you think is possible. There are many bonsai marriages in our society. A bonsai marriage is one that looks good from the outside, but is internally weak and stunted. Like the bonsai tree which is intentionally contrived to look like a strong tree, many marriages look great, but behind closed doors are no stronger than if you placed a bonsai tree out in the elements. Over time, the tree’s poor and stunted root structure can’t tolerate the seasons of life unless it is protected by its owners. That is why bonsai trees are placed in ornamental pots which are just large enough for the tree to survive, but not thrive. Maybe that’s what we do with our marriage. We only allow it to survive. And the pot responsible for this is ourselves. We think too small about our marriage, thus stunting the growth of ourselves and our spouse.
In order to produce a marriage that thrives, it begins with challenging what you think is possible in your marriage and in your own life. Are you living according to your values and dreams? Are you relating to your spouse according these same values and dreams? Are you honest with your spouse about the way things are between you? If so, are you doing anything about it? Again, this starts with you. If you want something different in life and in marriage, the only thing you can change is you. Break the pot you have been living in and allow your roots to go deeper. Live according to your values and dreams in every aspect of life. There are some free tools that may help you do this located at www.marriagefullyalive.com. We need more redwood marriages in our society. Marriages that will not only withstand the seasons of life, but will thrive. It starts with each of us. Be honest with yourself this Christmas season, it may be the best gift your spouse and family could ever receive. Merry Christmas!
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The art of bonsai maintenance