October 23

Pay Attention to the Whole Plant

October 23, 2017

Marriage

Bob called and complained about several things that his wife, Karen, was doing or not doing. “We’ve talked about these things before,” he said, “but she doesn’t seem to care. And she gets irritated if I bring them up.”

“You guys have been practicing Real Love together now for more than a year, yes?” I asked.

“About that.”

“In that time, have you noticed OVERALL that Karen is blossoming as a person and as a partner? Have you noticed that her face just beams, compared to the overall fear and withdrawal we saw before Real Love?”

“Yes, I have,” he said with commendable energy.

I suggested that he might consider Karen as a blossoming rose bush that had grown larger and more beautiful over the past year, rather than to pick at the individual flaws or blemishes he could find.

I grow many plants in my garden. I could find something wrong with each branch or leaf—some discoloration or asymmetry or the like—and remove the flaws. In the process, however, I would eliminate the plant, or leave it severely disfigured. We need to look at ourselves and others as flowering plants, recognizing the overall growth and beauty, rather than clipping away at every visible or imagined defect.

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