Today, as I was tending to one of my favorite plants, I started thinking about how this plant, when left up to my care, almost withered and died. Why? It was simple. I was not taking care of it the way it needed. I would give it water only when I saw it withering sadly in the dark. And I never fed it any kind of nutrients. What’s worse, I rarely opened the blinds to give it the sunlight that it obviously craved.
Originally, when I brought this plant home from Home Depot about a year ago, it was a young plant in a 4” pot with a couple set of leaves. I must have thought it would grow all on its own because I really didn’t pay much attention to it. After a while, seeing that I was not taking very good care of the plant, my husband took over the chore of nurturing the plant and soon the plant began to thrive.
Relationships Need Nurturing
The pitiful-looking plant that you see here is a plant that was left in my care. Because I did not nurture it, it died. In the same kind of way, this is what can happen in a relationship that is not taken care of.
Like the plant, if we do not provide relationships with the love they need to survive, they could dwindle. And, before we know it, we have a relationship that needs lots of mending to be brought back to life, or worse, we have a relationship that withers and dies.
It is not easy being in a relationship, but like plants, relationships need nurturing. If we love someone, we will have a natural desire to give them all the love and attention they need to survive.
Give Without Expectations
Like the plant, in a relationship, it is best to give without expectations of receiving anything in return. A plant cannot do anything for us but live, yet, if we take good care of the plant, it will give us beauty, not to mention other life-enhancing benefits, such as helping to clean the air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen.
Let me stop right now to remind you that I am not a relationship counselor and I don’t pretend to be one. What I share here are merely my opinions. I am just thinking out loud about my life and the relationships I have had and how I perceive them.
Givers and Takers
In my limited life experiences, I have come across people who are givers and takers.
In order to live healthily with each type of person, I had to first determine whether I was a giver or a taker. I feel I am more like myself when I give than when I take. So, I am going to say I am a giver. If you know me well and if you think differently, please tell me so. I need to know.
Let’s look at the relationships of givers and takers (from my perspective).
Givers take joy in doing things for others.
A giver's life mantra might be, "What can I do to make your life better?"
Take heed that if you are always the one who gives, and your partner receives but never reciprocates, then this type of relationship can be disheartening. I feel that when you give, it is best to give without the expectation of receiving anything back in return.
When you give without the expectation of receiving that is one thing. But, if you give to someone who expects to receive, in other words, when you give to a taker, then you set yourself up to live a life of disappointment and sorrow. Why? Because when someone takes something from you, they are reaching beyond that which you have given. Please don't ask me to explain my rationale behind this thought. As I am thinking out loud, this is just how I feel about such things.
If you wish to continue in this type of give and take relationship, then a change of attitude might be helpful. You would need to learn to give without the expectation of receiving anything back in return. At the same time, you would need to find alternative ways to refuel your life engine (your heart), because it takes effort to give, so in order to keep from burning out, you would need to find a hobby or something that refuels (brings joy back into your heart) so that, as it is your decision, you could continue to give.
When you are in a relationship where you only think about yourself and you are thinking only about what your partner can do for you, and you take what you can get, then you might be a taker.
A taker's life mantra might be, “What have you done for me lately?”
If you take, but rarely or never give, then you might be someone who feels constantly dissatisfied with your partner because continuously taking from someone continuously drains that person to the point where they no longer have anything left to give.
Givers and Givers
This is the most ideal relationship. If you are a giver and your partner is also a giver, then it is almost like being in heaven on earth. You both say please and thank you to each other. You both constantly seek to serve the other. When you give, your partner receives, but at the same time, your partner gives and then you become the receiver. It presents a glorious relationship. To me, it is the ultimate and most sought after relationship of all.
What the Bible Says About Relationships
In a relationship that is nourished, where each partner is receiving what they want, need, and desire in life, both partners win. I like the following bible verses because they remind me of how a relationship can be cultivated best.
1 Peter 4:8
I believe the above verses apply to all relationships, whether the relationship is a friendship, courtship, marriage, or even a relationship with our Father God.
Love has a tendency to reciprocate itself. Right now, I am speaking purely from experience. When you give love freely, and when you are in a relationship with someone who healthily receives what you have given, that love is likely to be returned in a greater proportion than what you have given.
Give love and it is most likely your partner will give love back to you. When love is reciprocated, your partnership will likely thrive and grow into a beautiful relationship that can be relied on and be cherished for a lifetime.
If you want your relationships to thrive and grow, you need to spend time nurturing them. Do not ignore the needs of those you love and cherish. Give and you will receive in abundance of what you have given.
I am generally a quiet person, but at times, my thoughts run deep and wild. Most of the time, I keep my thoughts to myself, but sometimes, I feel the need to shout it out! These are just my thoughts and opinions, which may or may not be the same as yours.
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