A Metaphor for My Marriage

by Erica Layne on February 29, 2012

Oh my, a marriage metaphor. This could be dangerous.

I buy myself inexpensive flowers a couple of times a month. It is the perfect Monday pick-me-up. I love hydrangeas so much that try as I might to buy a different flower, I usually come home with my tried-and-true favorite.

A couple of years ago, my husband gave me a hydrangea plant for father’s day. (Why he bought me a present on Father’s Day weekend is another story altogether.) It flourished under my care for a little while, but ultimately, I killed it. Ryan thought that was hilarious and started calling it a metaphor for our marriage.

So I did what I had to. I brought it back to life.

It’s a hardy little thing.

Unfortunately, I proceeded to kill it again. (Sorry, little fella!) 

Now I’m nursing it back to life for a second time.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I “kill” our marriage routinely, but it definitely takes its hits. Like the other night, when I was a bit peeved not to get any notice that Ryan was on his way home from work (I think it was 9:30), and he interrupted my episode of Downton Abbey. (Can you blame me? That is a good show!) Despite his protests, I dutifully turned off my show and tried to chat with him. But my mouth kept betraying me with its unnecessary quips.

Or last Saturday, when I was a annoyed all day because I didn’t feel like Ryan’s heart was into fathering that day. (I mean, hello! Is my heart into mothering every single day?)

But I’ve also been doing some nurturing lately. I call it Marriage Maintenance Mode. He loves it when I’m in Marriage Maintenance Mode because I give a lot of back rubs and greet him enthusiastically when he comes home at night (even at 11pm, which is quite the feat for this morning girl!). I try harder to watch the tone of my voice and to thank him for things I notice him doing.

Writing it down, it actually looks simple. But anyone in a serious relationship knows, it is not. A relationship requires DAILY care, and yet it is so easy to let almost everything else come first. I used to let long periods go by (whole pregnancies, in fact!) without whipping out Marriage Maintenance Mode. I’m quicker to get back into it now when I start to feel our connection sliding.

One great thing about a hydrangea is that when it starts wilting, it will revive after spending a night submerged in water. A vendor at the farmers’ market taught me that trick a year ago, and it works like a charm. For us, Marriage Maintenance Mode has a similar effect. :) It helps us reestablish the connection that makes me smile when I wake up each morning.

What are some of the small things you do for your spouse when you go into Marriage Maintenance Mode?

** The last tie-in I can draw from this analogy—The blooms changed colors when I revived it and repotted it in new soil! I will let you draw the parallel there, before this analogy degenerates any closer to sappy. :)

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Click here to read my other four Marriage Maintenance posts.

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Alison March 1, 2012 at 3:42 am

VERY good point. I have to admit, marriage maintenance mode can be very hard for me, especially after 9 p.m.! Also, the color of hydrangeas depends on the acidity of the soil. I wish I lived somewhere humid enough to grow hydrangeas…

Erica {let why lead} March 1, 2012 at 4:44 am

Yes! Nights are NOT my finest hour!

I had read that about hydrangeas. I live in a good climate for them but still manage to kill them!

Vindie March 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I need to do this more often too! This post rings so true to me! I feel that way about Lincoln and I all the time. Sometimes remembering how we ended up here helps me feel the butterflies again (and helps me to stop being a brat!) Love your blog!

Mary B March 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I love this post. I need to think about Marriage Maintenance a bit more… I feel like we've been coasting for 10 years and now that we have a teenager, we NEED to work on ways to stay close. Thx for the insight!

Erica {let why lead} March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Oh my, yes, I would assume that having a teenage girl necessitates marital unity just so that you can be a united front!

Erica {let why lead} March 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Love that tip – remembering how we ended up here. It always makes a difference for me too, at least when I remember to try!

Beth Bryson March 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Hi Erica! I read this via Serenity Now. GREAT post! So creative and inspirational! Have an awesome weekend! Best To you! -Beth @ Flair For Home

Beth Bryson March 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Hi Erica! I read this via Serenity Now. GREAT post! So creative and inspirational! Have an awesome weekend! Best To you! -Beth @ Flair For Home

AWD March 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I read this via Serenity Now. I am so appreciative that I found the link. This is a great reminder for me…not only to be more positive and uplifting but also to prevent the snaps and deep sighs that get me into needing marriage maintanence!

Erica {let why lead} March 5, 2012 at 6:28 am

Thanks, Beth! Hope you enjoyed your weekend as well!

Becky March 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Just catchig up on posts after a busy week… Do we live parallel lives? Just this weekend I barked at my husband for interrupting a rare DVD break with season 2 of Lark Rise to Candleford. (It was his bag of pretzels – must it be so loud?) Daily maintenance, yes. I pray for daily grace in order to fuel the maintenance.

Kassi Mortensen March 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Stopping by from your feature over at Serenity Now! :) Marriage Maintenance Mode is a good thing to know about for a newlywed (married less than a year!). :) Thanks for this fun analogy!

Sarah March 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Erica, I love your wording when you wrote that you thought your husband's heart wasn't into parenting on a particular day. We've had those days here. I'm quick to point them out too – leading to increased marriage maintenance mode here :) Thanks for sharing your great insights :)

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