let why lead
Welcome to Let Why Lead, a place for the purposeful wife and mom. I’m Erica, and I'm passionate about living fully and filling my family with love and belonging. For regular reminders of the whys of your life, I hope you’ll keep coming back.
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A Metaphor for My Marriage

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.


  1. Alison says:

    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…

  2. Erica {let why lead} says:

    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!

  3. Vindie says:

    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!

  4. Mary B says:

    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!

  5. Erica {let why lead} says:

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

  6. Erica {let why lead} says:

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

  7. Beth Bryson says:

    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

  8. Beth Bryson says:

    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

  9. AWD says:

    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!

  10. Erica {let why lead} says:

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

  11. Becky says:

    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.

  12. Kassi Mortensen says:

    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!

  13. Sarah says:

    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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