Monthly Archives: August 2014

Bugs: Not Just for Stomachs

Sometimes you can love, tend to, and care for something, but it will still not flourish. Bugs have gotten to it, and they have made a smorgasbord out of the leaves and baby veggies. The plant eventually dies, never having a chance to reach its potential. Now, bugs can bite you too, but when bugs happen to a marriage, a couple has let outside sources nibble away at the exterior or the leaves of the couple’s relationship. In other words, you let an outsider, whether it is a co-worker, a friend, or a family member, eat away at the feelings you have towards your spouse.

When Trae and I were having problems, I ended up talking to one my friends about the situation a good bit. I over shared with her and  we commiserated about husbands together. The conversations started out semi-light hearted and then ended up painting our husbands in a more unfavorable light.The more I talked to her, the more negatively I looked towards my husband. I did not see any of the good things he would do and hyper focused on everything “wrong” he did. She in turn would complain about her husband. In the end, this friend and her husband ended up getting an ugly divorce. Under her influence, I felt extremely negative towards Trae. I had to retrain my brain and grow new fruit when I realized that this friend was being a bug and nibbling away at my leaves. If I had not realized the adverse attitude I had acquired and changed my behavior patterns, my plant would have died.

Some bugs can be good. Apparently spiders are eight-legged demons* that help keep your garden from becoming bug infested. In other words, look at what bug you choose to talk to (or squash). If you do choose to talk to a friend, be wary of over sharing. A marriage is between two people, not two people and a friend who knows everything. If you do need someone to reveal more to, consider a counselor. A counselor can help you as a couple and as a one-on-one bases.  Having a positive influence, your plant will have healthy leaves and your marriage will have much stronger roots.

In Zig Ziglar’s words, “positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”  This saying is especially true for marriages. Be positive that you will overcome the hard times, and then you will. Be negative and the bugs feast faster, which makes the plant of marriage die even faster.

*Spider disclaimer: I hate spiders. Once in high school, my mother and I woke up one of my friends who spent the night. We were screaming and trying to suck up a spider with the vacuum. If you want to hear more about my spider adventures, you can read about them here.

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Weeding: Keeping Out the Bad

It has been raining a lot here, and the weeds have become like mini-Audrey plants from Little Shop of Horrors. The weeds have made getting through the Jungle of Tomatoes impossible. The good news is that the veggies are still thriving. (Some are even trying to escape the fence. The cantaloupe and butternut squash have already escaped the confines of their prison.) Granted, we can’t find the onions, but I assume they are still there amongst the tall grasses.

Trae was called out of town unexpectedly, and I decided to surprise him by weeding the garden. When I “finished ” (aka gave up) almost two hours later, I looked like an allergy appointment gone wrong and the Jungle of Tomatoes was still…well…unexplored territory. Two hours and weeds winning, I was sweaty, dirty, and covered in fifteen bug bites!

We really should have been weeding a little bit all along. Doing a little bit at a time prevents the task from being too overwhelming. Our garden is doing well, but it could doing better. Some of the plants are fighting the weeds for sun. Plus, the weeds have already developed roots, and while I can hack at them, if I do not get to the roots, they will just return. But more importantly, the weeds seem to have escorted fungi into the garden. Now we have two problems: roots and fungi. If we had been working like we should have, we would not have two problems to fix.

Problems in a marriage are a lot like weeds. If you wait until the rain stops to address the issue, then the problem has established roots and all the anger has transformed into a fungus. Sure you might briefly talk about the problem, but you are most likely not being honest about the problem and aren’t addressing the root of the issue. So when another problem arises, the roots of the previous problem produce new leaves and now you are fighting over two issues. Eventually the roots become so deep and the weeds so thick that any fun or happiness is overshadowed.

 

If roots do form, a couple of things you have to do are

  • Be honest! If you cannot admit that you are still mad about what happened six months, then you will never be able to address the issue at hand. You cannot move forward if you still stuck in the past. You do not need Hermonie’s time turner to fix the issue; you just need to talk.
  • In the word’s of Elisa, “Let it go!” Once you have addressed the previous problem, you have to let it go. You cannot store away any hurt. Storing it away causes it to regrow its roots and before you know it, you are re-throwing that problem at your spouse. I know many times I will be fighting with Trae and rehash problems from six months to even a year ago. I hadn’t been honest with myself or with Trae that I was still hurt/ upset from those things and then BAM, I am yelling at him about that late school loan payment from our second year of marriage which caused our credit to almost tank.
  • Talk. If you have problem communicating or are afraid that you will get into a bad fight, get a third party involved. Do not involve friends or family; a preacher or a counselor are good choices. A quick Google search will give you the name and reviews of nearby counselors.
  • Admit the role you played in the issue. Yes, Trae is a grown man, but I also know he has the tendency to forget things. How hard would it have been for me to remind him changed the address on his student loan payments so the bills would have come to our new address so that way a payment would not be late? I didn’t have to set back and think, “I bet he will forget. I will be pissed if…no, when…he does.” Even if you claim you didn’t do anything wrong, you are still at fault for not being completely honest about how the problem made you feel, which is why roots formed.
  • During the argument, if you notice you are arguing in circles or getting ready to boil over, breath, take a break. Do not stew and let the anger take over during the break; use the time to look at the problem from different perspectives. Also, sometimes separating after talking about major issues is good; it gives you a chance to let the whole arguing and decision-making process sink in.
  • Do not mull over your anger when a decision or compromise has been made; instead think about how glad you are that the problem is taken care of. Many times you will realize that you blew certain things out of proportion. (What does not putting down the toilet seat down have to do with late student loan payments? Man, I was a jerk to pull that out during this fight!) Self-reflect and store away grains of knowledge on how to approach your next problem. For example, I tend to rehash irrelevant stuff that happened six months to even years ago.  When we have a disagreement, I have to remind myself not to throw dirty socks on the floor or toilet seats left up into our arguments, but instead focus on the issue at hand.

All in all, make sure you tend to your marriage on a daily bases. Right now I am sitting at my office window, looking down on the rain soaked garden and I can see the weeds that have formed during the last three rainy days. I am not looking forward to going out there, but it has to be done. I want a healthy garden and in order to make sure of that, I have to put the work into it, just like I have to put the work into my marriage and make sure I get to the root of our problems. Happy Weeding!

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