A few years ago, I took an interest in gardening and met a woman who taught me not just about gardening but about life as well.
One of the first things she told me was her relationship with her garden. She said, “when I get a seed, I really do not know what that plant will become – will it bloom, wither away, grow up straight or crooked, be beautiful or ugly, live or die. My expectations whether high or low, does not stop me from giving the plant all that I have. I plant the seed, water it, tend it regularly and spend time nursing it. The plant reciprocates my love and care by blooming and beautifying my garden and above all, putting a smile on my face every day. There are hard days, which can be attributed to either nature or my failure to do my part properly or when some circumstances are beyond my control. But no matter the situation, my plant gives back to me in some way, the love I dish out”
Every time I think about relationships, I remember what this lovely old lady told me about her plants. When we meet someone, we never know what the next step will be or how far the relationship will go or how much impact that person will have on our lives. From that first hello, smile, handshake or hug, a connection is made. Some connections end after that first meeting while others last for a long time; sometimes, till the end of our lives.
For husband-wife relationship, ‘I do’ at the altar creates a bond that is meant to procreate and if well preserved, will last till death does them part. For parent-child, the bond created is one of blood, whether the parents divorce or separate, this relationship lasts forever. For friends, how long the relationship lasts is determined by what both parties put into the relationship.
Every plant has its unique requirement that gets it to bloom – while a cactus does not require lots of attention to blossom, a rose needs to be pruned and an orchid needs a lot of tender loving care. The same applies to people. Our approach to life is determined by our experiences both good or bad, but in the end, the success or failure of our relationships depend on the level of commitment we invest in that relationship.
For any relationship to thrive, there has to be a middle ground, compromise and a disregard for ego. This is what sets an enduring relationship apart from the rest. Relationships thrive, when the burden of effort is shared on both sides. When one party is doing all the giving – emotional, financial, physical and intellectual – and making all the compromise, it is no longer a relationship but servitude and all such situations are doomed to fail.
When you are with someone, strive to give him or her nothing less than 100% and like the plants, sometimes your efforts will pay off but other times, the seed may have been faulty to begin with and the result is totally out of your control. Assess your relationships and ask yourself the following:
- Am I giving this relationship the particular kind of nurturing it needs?
- Do I like the kind of person this relationship is turning me into?
- Am I giving as much as I am getting?
- Am I getting as much as I am giving?
Finally, remember to put God first in your relationship, listen more, speak less, keep an open mind, forgive, forget and ALWAYS maintain a balance