(An excerpt from Cultivating Love and Renewal by Dr Ken McGill)
As with any work you do, you will need to take breaks. Becoming skilled at loving yourself and others infer that you will demonstrate patience, which is beautifully captured in the picture above. Being patient, which I remind you is a cultivated skill originally gifted to you from your Higher Power, is like handing a heated liquid (your emotions) to another in a manner in which they can receive the contents.
Carefully communicating your pain, anger, hopelessness, and devastation in addition to your love, joy, hope, desire, and passion communicate respect and love to your spouse. The opposite, of course, is to grant yourself permission to throw the heated emotions onto your spouse (rage) which further complicates the development of love and creates unnecessary trauma and schisms.
Wisdom, defined as becoming skilled at living means we learn, practice and become proficient at recognizing when we are “worked up,” need to take a break, ask for what we need, responsibly contain our behaviors, demonstrate empathy and become adept at delivering patience.
Imagine if the picture above were a puzzle. The “sweet and mature” expression of love is experienced as you and your spouse have diligently and patiently spent your time, energy, toil, commitment, power and insight to identify and accurately assemble the pieces of your “life puzzle” (up to this point) into their correct place.
As you work in the rows of your life daily and you have gained proficiency in utilizing your tools to create growth in your relational garden, then you have transformed what could have been a barren, forsaken and devastating life experience into something resembling a fruitful, functional and edifying grove. In spite of your weariness, your conflict, your trauma and your hunger, you persevere in your work and in so doing, you “co-create” new experiences, new memories, new life scripts and life positions that are respectful, empowering and loving for yourself and each other. Your commitment to work in the field of your life, in season and out, until your work is done producing empowering fruit (love) is nothing short of a miracle and is the word picture of “mature love” (realizing how all of the puzzle pieces of life with all of their complexity fit to form a picture you understand).
Keep up your great work in the most important and valuable garden imaginable — the precious garden of your relationship, marriage and/or family. May you be fruitful in your effort to cultivate love!