I think we all know the saying, “The grass is greener on the other side”.
One of the earliest mentions of this phrase came from the poet Ovid when he said “the harvest is always richer in another man’s field.” The phrase has come to mean “People are never satisfied with their own situation; they always think others have it better”. And thus the phrase was born. And it is not only used often but I believe has become a regular way of thinking… especially when it comes to marriage.
Maybe the Grass IS Greener
Here is the ugly truth, maybe the grass is really greener on the other side. Maybe a couple has a better marriage. Perhaps a married couple has been through a rough patch and has worked to make their grass greener. Maybe a couple has gone through counseling, been intentional, asked for help and they have learned how to have a healthy, growing marriage. Their grass is greener because it has been tended to and fertilized.
So if another couple has found a way to make their marriage better…healthier…wonderful…why in the world wouldn’t we ask them to share their wisdom. If their grass is really greener, why wouldn’t we ask to borrow some fertilizer to make our grass greener too.
Borrow A Little Fertilizer
All throughout my dating and marriage to my husband, there has always been some other couple I have looked at who seem to have it better. I did not purposefully look for things to be bad in my relationship (we actually had a really wonderful relationship), I am just prone to comparison. Really I think most women are…we know that cruel, green monster of jealousy and comparison.
Oh my gosh that boyfriend brings his girlfriend flowers every monthly anniversary.
I can not believe that her husband leaves love notes on his wife’s car dash almost every day.
Did you see that couple after 10 years of marriage still can not keep their hands off each other.
That couple never fights.
That couple always goes on expensive vacations.
Wow! That couple makes marriage look like a cake walk.
There is ALWAYS someone who is doing it better than we are and a marriage we wish we had. So instead of wallowing in what we don’t have in marriage and focusing on how much we think we are missing; how about we ask to borrow some fertilizer! How about we ask how they keep their marriage healthy and thriving and get to work!
The Fertilizer I Have Borrowed
First, let me say that my husband and I have known each other for 20+ years!!! We dated 5 years and have been married for almost 17 years. We have had some incredibly difficult years in our marriage. Some struggles other people might get a divorce over. We have faced healing from childhood abuse, postpartum depression, job losses, countless moves and everyday heartaches. So when I say we have borrowed fertilizer from another marriage, it is not because we have it figured out. It is because we saw what we wanted our marriage to be and we asked. We saw a married couple flourishing and thriving and we asked…
What made them have a good marriage?
What routines did they follow that help sustain a healthy marriage?
How did they deal with conflict?
And we started to borrow that wisdom to tend and fertilize our marriage!
My husband and I borrowed the idea of many different marriages that were not perfect but their grass was pretty darn green.
Growing Greener Grass
We follow the routine of a sabbath from a couple that modeled taking a day each week to stop work and household chores to be still and with our family. We spend one day a week away from our house, social media and daily requirements to focus on our marriage and family.
My husband and I routinely read books together. They can be marriage books or parenting books or just a good old science fiction book (thank you hubby for introducing me to Ready Player one).
An older mentor couple encouraged us to sit down for 5-10 minutes every day in the evening to sit face-to-face and check in with each other. We did this when our 3 children were really young and we taught them they could not interrupt us.
We have learned that fighting is not bad. Working through conflict is beneficial and shows our children arguing is natural and can be resolved.
Regular date nights are a constant part of our marriage that we learned from my brother and sister-in-law.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
If I really think about it, my marriage is a hodgepodge of different advice and admirations I have had for other marriages. My grass in my marriage is getting greener because instead of comparing and being envious of other marriages, my husband and I ask for those marriages to pass their fertilizer our way.
I have really changed my mind about being jealous of another marriage. If I see something in another marriage that makes me stop and notice or wish it was happening in my marriage…I ask! Hey how do you make this work? Can you explain how your husband and you make this work? I am borrowing fertilizer ladies and it really has made a big difference. My grass is growing. My grass is getting greener. And I know when my grass is withering in the heat and drought, I can ask another to borrow their fertilizer.