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Love is a Garden to be Cultivated

Here are five things you can do to maintain a healthy relationship.

Nashville, Ark. – June is the month of weddings and a time to celebrate that love. Whether you have been married for just a few months or for many years, love must be cultivated like a garden. Here are five things you can do to maintain a healthy relationship.

1)      Practice humility.

            Psychology tells us that what we as humans tend to see is what we look for. If we look for offenses against us or if we look for selfishness or faults in a partner, we’ll probably find it. If we look for graciousness, kindness and goodness, we’ll probably find them. There is often a “hardening of categories” in marriage, meaning that people tend to see their partners in a certain way. Next they start to look for confirming evidence this is true and the cycle continues.

2)      Look for the good.

            Take the time to notice the things our partners do that we appreciate, including the parts of our partner that inevitably, at times, will be inconvenient but that are still a blessing that we would chose.

3)      Speak your partner’s language of love.

            Gary Chapman, author of the Five Love Languages series, points out that nothing you do to show love for you partner will be effective unless what you’re doing matters to your partner. Even though, Gifts, is one of the love languages, buying a diamond necklace doesn’t mean much to the person who has Quality Time, as their top love language. This person would much prefer to spend a quite night together watching a movie or taking a walk together. The key is to find out which language of love your partner has and then doing things to address that particular love language.

4)      Do maintenance.

            John Gottman, one of the country’s foremost authorities in marriage research, says that a trip to Hawaii won’t heat up a relationship if you haven’t kept the pilot light lit. It isn’t the great big events that are the key to having a continuing healthy relationship. Instead the little conversations, the spending 10 to 15 minutes a day to catch up on each other, the doing little things together, whether it’s working in the yard or painting a room or watching videos. Little things done together regularly provide maintenance that’s very important.

5)      Foster companionship.

            Jonathan Haidt, talks about the idea that in the early stages of a relationship the romance initially skyrockets and then starts to decline within a short period of time. For a relationship to continue, it’s important for people to evolve gracefully from the electric jolt of early romance to the sweet satisfaction of being with someone whose company is comforting.

            Gottman recommends keeping a list of the qualities that we enjoy in our partner in a wallet, keeping photos of cherished times handy, or keeping a small scrapbook handy to page through every now and then and remind us of the good times and help us remember what we enjoyed about them in the first place. That is the key to a healthy relationship.

            If you are looking for something to keep the spark going in your marriage, check out the “free” publication, “Marriage Garden” available at the Howard County Extension Office. You can also access the information at

Recipe of the Week

            This week’s recipe was shared by Garrett Lance, a Howard County 4-H Teen Leader. Garrett received fourth place at the recent State Dairy Foods Contest. Garrett was sponsored locally by Howard County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. His recipe is delicious!

Cheesy Light Breads

1 ½ c. flour

1 ½ T. sugar

1 T. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 c. shredded colby-jack cheese

1c. shredded mild cheddar cheese

1c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

1 c. milk

1 egg

¼ c. (½ stick) melted butter

Whisk together dry ingredients, then stir in cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, milk, and butter together. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir with a spoon to combine. Bake in greased muffin tins at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12. Suggestion- Can put ¼ c. green chilies in batter for a Mexican flair. Good served with soup or chili. 

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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