13summerWhen we moved into this house and I finally had a large plot of land where I could plant a real garden, someone said to me, “It takes seven years to grow a garden.” At the time I had no idea what that meant. I passionately and naively threw myself into planting our garden: a few tomatoes here, a row of peas there, pole beans planted around a bamboo teepee, some peppermint around the borders to deter the pesky mosquitoes, strawberries in the back. I watered and weeded as best I could with an almost four year old underfoot, and for a while it all looked lovely and hopeful. Then, as the heat intensified and my time shrunk, the weeds took over, some plants dried out, the tomatoes sagged and turned black on the bottom, and things didn’t look quite as sweet. By sheer luck, the peas and pole beans did well while everything else withered away, except the peppermint, which took over like wildfire.

Now, in our fifth year of being in this house, I understand: It takes seven years to get to know the soil, seven years to let the perennials take over, seven years to understand the climate, seven years to learn which plants I enjoy tending and which I don’t, seven years to realize what I’m capable of given my time limitations. Each year I’ve learned more. Each year I’ve had successes and setbacks. Each year, as my kids grow older and my time opens up, I have more time to spend in the garden and, thus, more time to get down into the dirt and pull out the weeds (as opposed to paying someone else to do it) and understand the ground that I’m planting in.

As I’m gardening, analogies to marriage often pop into my head, and today the similarity was clear: it takes time to grow the garden of love. We have a deeply-entrenched belief in our culture that love should be easy; that when you marry, you should know how to love and be loved; that you should understand your partner’s needs, likes, and dislikes and he/she should understand yours immediately. We think it should “just work” (just like you should “just know” if he or she is “the one”), and when it doesn’t “just work” we wonder what’s wrong. We think we made a mistake. We worry that something’s missing.

Like plants, love needs water to grow.

Like soil, love needs the right nourishment to flourish.

Like flowers, love needs light to thrive

But here’s the caveat: Perhaps it wouldn’t take seven years to grow a garden if you had a wise master gardener guiding you along. We can find our way by floundering and learning from our successes and failures, but it would be so much less scary and so much more effective if we had someone to show us the way. Perhaps we’re not meant to garden alone.

And perhaps we’re not meant to navigate relationships alone.

What if someone could tell you exactly what your relationship needs in order to thrive? What if you could learn the “Love Laws” that would help you open your heart so that you could feel more love, attraction, and connection with your partner? With water, nourishment, and light, a healthy relationship can turn into an exquisite garden, but how much? When? How? Most people are thrown to the wind when it comes to relationships and have no idea that Love Laws even exist, let alone knowing which ones to follow.

Perhaps it often takes seven years to grow a healthy relationship, to learn how to give and receive love in a way that feel nourishing and fulfiling for both of you… but perhaps it doesn’t have to take that long. And the truth is that many people can be in relationships for ten or twenty years – or a lifetime – and never grow a thriving love garden.

If you have a healthy seed (a loving partner), you can grow your love, cultivate your attraction, and nurture your intimacy

if only you know which love laws to follow.

Most people know that following Love Laws like connecting to gratitude and expressing appreciation help open your heart and water your garden. But what are the other Love Laws? What are the secret texts that lay hidden beneath the soil of healthy, loving relationships? Do some people know what they are and naturally follow them? Yes, they do. But all is not lost for those of us who didn’t have loving action modeled or for whom it’s more challenging to access the positive mindset.

Next week I’ll be opening registration for my new program, “Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner,” in which I’ll be your head gardener as I teach you the Love Laws that will grow your relationship garden into the beautiful, nourishing place that you’ve always dreamed it could be. We tend to have this idea that loving couples are just naturally loving with each other because they’re “well-matched” or “meant to be.” The truth is that loving couples exude the air of love because they practice the Love Laws and consequent loving actions, either consciously or unintentionally. Some people are more primed to act in loving, positive ways while others – generally the half-glass empty folks – have to put more effort into loving. This point was addressed in a beautiful comment on my last post, “So Much Love“, by a woman named Andrea:

What we pay attention to in life grows and expands. The trick is to grow and expand the loving, good parts of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Doing so ultimately feeds and fuels the goodness in our relationships and enriches our lives. That takes a conscious approach of daily mindfulness, which you lovingly provide us here with this forum. Thank you for the blessing!

I like to remind myself in my darkest hours of relationship anxiety that everything in life follows a predictable pattern… including love. If I neglect my car, it will break down. If I only feed my body bad foods, I will get sick. If I stop watering my orchid, it will lose its lovely flowers. Predictable pattern. Love is no different. If I don’t feed and fuel my love by recognizing the good things about my partner and our dance, the darkness will grow like a virus and eventually kill what is in its path. So when the negative thoughts come up, I have to remember to ask myself, “Do I want to feed this love or starve it?” It is up to me.

To which I commented:

This is the reason why some couples make it look so easy and loving and others struggle. It’s not that the loving couples are inherently more loving or “right” in some way but that they probably naturally water their marriage garden through loving action. For those of us that don’t do this naturally (usually glass half-empty thinkers), we need to learn these love laws and practice them more intentionally. This is also what I’ll be teaching in my new program, “Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner.”

Are you ready to learn? I’ll be opening registration next week for this exciting new program and space will be limited, so if you’re interested in learning more and being added to the list, email me directly.

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