It’s the same goal every year.
This Fall, you think to yourself, I am actually going to stay on top of keeping the leaves out of my yard.
Good intentions are the road paved to…lots of leaves.
They seem so harmless when the air begins to turn a bit more crisp and the foliage that’s most excited to leave the company of the other leaves lazily floats their way to the ground.
At first, there are simply a few scattered here and there – more ground than leaves. This should be the point when we head to the garage, fire up the leaf blower and clear them away. It would only take a few minutes. Just pop the small pile in a bag, and like the fall leaves you have just wrangled, you’re golden.
It never seems to happen that way, though.
Before we know it, it’s snowing leaves and the onslaught has begun. The ground is no longer visible and you can kiss entire weekends goodbye as you brainstorm all kinds of strategies to deal with the drifts, and then mountains of leaves, that emerge.
Is it possible just to set fire to your whole yard? Probably not a good idea. If you’re breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about it, let’s change the subject a bit.
What are you letting pile up in your marriage?
It’s tempting to simply ignore little things we know need adjusting. There might a screaming to-do list, or other big distractions, that put routine maintenance for your relationship on the back burner. Let us assure you, the things we let pile up in marriage are a lot more difficult to get rid of than the leaves that accumulate in our yards.
We thought this checklist from AARP, of all places, was a good place to start. What it doesn’t include though, is the foundation for keeping things clear in your marriage. You’ve got to make sure your spiritual life is in check.
This is something you need to do as an individual, and as a couple. One of the biggest pressure points in a marriage is when we turn the focus inward, to what we want and need instead of being available to understand and serve the needs of our spouse. The one-word description is simply part of the human condition: selfishness.
Selfishness is responsible for most of the things that pile up in marriage. We’re selfish in the way we communicate, offer sexual intimacy or affection, or offer support in various ways. And we are selfish in the amount of time we offer to the person we’ve pledged to love most.
It’s not something that seems to go away on it’s own. We have to constantly go through the clearing process. When the sun comes up, it behooves us to observe the landscape of our lives, see where there’s debris, and actively do what it takes to remove it.
There’s no reason to do this if you’re not in tune spiritually. The spiritual life is one of emptying ourselves of selfishness to fill up with love, service, and hope for better things to come – right now and in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
Those are things that, once they’ve covered your life, you never have to remove.