It was an off the hook windy, sunshiney fall Sunday morning and we were lingering in bed. This is the kind of morning that we live for — a little time to slow down and just be with one another. The little beings (even the furry ones) were all sleeping in. Nobody was asking us for anything at that moment – just the way we like it. We have this massive window in our bedroom — and we have a love/hate relationship with it. We hate it because the sun fills the room after some post late nights when we would prefer a little more dark time, but we love it for the amazing view of the towering trees that surround our home. Cheesy love moment warning: As I laid my head on my husband’s chest listening to his heartbeat, we watched the blazing autumn leaves swirling in the sky. The trees danced and swayed almost to the point where you’d think they would snap. It was mesmerizing to just lie there and watch. His voice jolted me from my Zen zone….” The trees still have lots of leaves just hanging on this year, Heath,” he said. “We must have had a lot of rain this year. They’re really hanging on late — even through this crazy wind.” So normal people would think… yeah, we had a lot of rain and this may have prolonged the sugar reaction that causes the leaves to turn color and then fall... blah, blah, blah. He’s right — he’s scientifically on the mark. Not me. I immediately noticed the parallels between his statement and relationships.
Simultaneously, I have another odd and similar observation regarding plants and water. My houseplants are a barometer of my life. They all start to droop and die when life gets crazy and I’m overwhelmed and forget to water them or pick off the dead leaves. When things are going well they are watered regularly and they grow beautifully. Living things flourish when they are nurtured and cared for. But, just like plants, we can’t flourish when we aren’t being nurtured. It’s really that simple in relationships and marriage, too. Life has a way of taking so much from us at times. It can pull us away from one another (if you allow it to) leaving us thirsty with unmet needs, or we can choose to turn towards one another as each other’s life source. Stressful times are when we really need nurturing, attention and care from one another – yet these times are when we are most in danger of being selfish and turning inward. We have to make an effort to water our relationships regularly.
What’s in the water, you may ask? Many things: compliments, thoughtfulness, really connective conversation, back rubs, vacations, laughing together, alone time, adventure, surprises, projects, sex (really good sex) a non-judgmental ear, a favorite movie or TV show, dinner out, cooking together, hiking, and having fun — however you like to have it. Lots of things act as water in a relationship…. it all depends on the two of you. How often do you water your relationship? What’s in YOUR water? What do you need from your partner? Ask them what they need from you. Be sure to water regularly – as if your relationship depends on it – because it does! A tree hangs onto its leaves only as long as its nourishing them and, when it stops, those leaves fall away. People are not so different.
So on this perfect fall morning I am feeling very grateful for OUR water – these little or big moments in our lives where we slow down, connect and refresh our relationship, and really enjoy our marriage and life. Sometimes one interaction like this will make me smile to myself days later. Back to our Sunday morning…the sounds of the kids stirring in the kitchen ended our peaceful, private Sunday bliss. “Mom, what’s for breakfast?” crackled over the intercom in our bedroom. I rolled from his chest and reached behind me for my robe strewn somewhere on our bed and accidentally knocked over my glass of water on the nightstand…the glass of water he faithfully brings to me every single night without fail in the twenty-five years I have been with him. “It’s okay,” he says, “It’s ONLY water!” But really, I think to myself – it really is so much more.