If you read yesterday’s blog then you probably realized there would be a “Part 2” following the “Part 1” and you were right. Whenever you work on a project like clearing out dead growth and replanting bushes, you can almost count on there being many “parts” to the story.

Have you ever noticed that things aren’t as simple as they appear on the surface? You can prepare yourself as much as you want but chances are something will try to block you from achieving your goal. No matter how much you sit down and talk about a goal and come up with the action steps for accomplishing it, there is a pretty good chance things will get in the way of achieving the goal in the way you want to. Well, that’s what happened with our backyard. 

It seemed so easy. Pull up the dead bushes and replace them with new plants. What we didn’t anticipate was the “rest of the story.” The bushes along the west side of our home were against a fence that was not in the best shape. Since the bushes were 14 years old and had grown to considerable height, the only way to get them out was to pull the old fence down with the understanding that when the bushes were extracted, the fence would go back up. That’s nice in theory but once the fence was pulled down, the boards and fence posts were in such bad shape that it became evident we would need to put up a new fence.  There was no way the old fence would go back into place and stay standing. 

We decided at this point to go ahead and replace the fence.  However, we didn’t realize that putting a new fence in place would require digging new post holes since the old ones were not spaced right for the new fence.  Now, if you have ever lived in New Mexico then you know that the ground here is not soft.  We get very little water so the ground tends to be like concrete. Digging 11 post holes is not a piece of cake. The manual post hole digger we tried to use, wouldn’t even break through the ground.  At this point, we rented a gas powered auger. Although a step above the manual post hole digger, it didn’t do the job either. Finally, we rented a high powered auger that looked like something for a construction work site.  This baby worked! The problem; what was supposed to take 2 days to complete now was at 5 days.  A simple project had turned into a long, drawn out process and the expense for it had tripled. You just don’t plan for things like that and if you aren’t careful, you can let it really get to you.

Dealing with difficulties in marriage is a lot like completing the backyard project described here. We think we just have “a little issue” we need to work on and once that is dealt with then everything else will be fine. We say things like, “Everything in our marriage is great except this one little piece that we need to deal with.” We don’t realize that the one little piece is connected to all the other pieces. We sit down and begin to talk about the “issue” and before we know it, we are discussing other issues and seeing other things that need to be dealt with.  We can decide not to face the problems and walk away from the “project” before it’s complete or we can make the decision to go the distance and deal with everything that is in the way of having a satisfying and healthy relationship. Sometimes, it appears that things may become worse before they get better. In reality, it is like having an infection in a wound that needs to be cleaned out before it can heal. It’s going to hurt a lot when it’s being cleaned but once that is over, it begins to heal and feel better.

I think it really helps to keep the end in mind. If you don’t, you will get stuck and want to give up. Ask yourself, what do I want the final outcome to be? What does my marriage need to look like for it to be satisfying for me? Determine that if you get stuck you will just keep working on things until you see progress. Remember, things aren’t as simple as they appear but if you keep going, you will be glad that you did.