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The internet is filled with self-help tips framed as metaphors for everyday actions. One of my least favorites has to be the comparison of relationships to gardening. Sure, there are many similarities between the two, but to proudly boast that relationships just need to “grow” in the same manner as a seed is to make light of the complex process both must take. 

Personally, I find the relationship between gardening and interpersonal relationships to be highly relevant, but I believe there should be more substance to it than simple, catchy metaphors. More specifically, I feel that the action involved in tending a garden should be a shared activity. Because the quality of a relationship depends largely on the quality of activities shared within the union, gardening can be a valuable tool in building a quality relationship. It is a time when two people can be together without the distractions of work, television, and other thought-consuming ideas. 

I [Heart] TomatoesMore than that, I’ve found that working with my husband on any project gives us a common goal to work towards. Gardening, therefore, does more than just promote sustainable living: it gives us a purpose - a reason to work together. It teaches skills vital to healthy relationships such as patience, diligence, and the need to remain flexible in order to reap our highly sought after rewards. Thus, growing a garden together not only helps us sustain our environment, it also helps sustain our marriage.

From the basic construction of our garden to our pre-frost harvest, working together as a team is one way my family proudly contributes to the idea of sustainable living. Building strong households is the foundation to building strong communities, and gardening is a tool that can help both. So, even though the phrase "plant the seed of love and watch it grow" may sound cliche, it actually contains some very valuable implications. Specifically, if you want to strengthen your romantic relationships, then you should get down and dirty - literally - and do it as a couple.