If you’re in a relationship or read a lot about them, you might have heard of the analogy of the flower and the gardener. You can probably imagine how this works. In a relationship, there’s the flower, the one who needs nurturing and tending, and thrives on attention and care. The flower can grow a little wild sometimes. On the other hand, there’s the gardener, who’s much more organised and stays on the path. The gardener tries to pay attention to the flower’s needs and adapts to such requirements, and lavishes it with love and care.
Rebecca Serle stated that two flowers should not be in a relationship, just as two gardeners should also stay away from each other, since a relationship needs balance to work. However, this isn’t exactly how it works. So how exactly do we understand this concept in relationships today?
There needs to be a balance
This means that people change and that you can’t always be a flower or a gardener for life. If you’re always the one being taken care of, or always the one doing the caring for, it’s not fair. Relationships that last are mutual and full of trust and give-and-take. Yes, there might be times in your life when you will rely more on your partner and will need a lot of care to get through things. But there might also be times when you will have to be willing to give that care to your partner. Certainly the balance may tip in favour of one or the other; you might be more of a flower than a gardener sometimes, but you can’t be a flower all of the time.
A gardener makes the first move
If you’re in the habit of texting someone first, or scheduling a date and asking your boyfriend what restaurant he likes, you’re probably the gardener (at least for now). If you’re worried when he gets sick and likes to do everything to make sure he’s comfortable, and your relationship is your major, if not first, priority you’re probably a gardener too. You put a lot of work into the relationship to make sure things are running smoothly, and you like to spoil and care for your partner, and give them the attention they deserve. You are always careful to protect the relationship. While being a gardener can be very enriching, you can also sometimes feel underappreciated.
A flower enjoys feeling wanted
If you like a bit of attention, and like to be cared for and made to feel like you matter, you might be a flower. You might be confident in your own presence, skills, and unique personality. You might even be a bit self-centred, which isn’t a bad thing by itself. You like to be pampered and also care a great deal about your partner. You might like to have surprises planned for you, or to be showered with gifts or phone calls from your partner to say they’ve been thinking of you. You’re not the person who always takes the first step to do something, but you appreciate the gesture. You tend to be a little wilful and do what you like.
Work it out
As you can imagine, conflicts can often arise from someone playing the flower role to perfection, or someone being too much of a gardener. Roles in relationships should not be static because people themselves are always changing, and so are situations. If you feel like you’re always doing all the heavy-lifting in the relationship as the gardener, and you feel it’s not right, that’s very fair.
Similarly, as a flower, you might feel too boxed in by a gardener’s demands, or you might feel like you also want to show affection sometimes, but your gardener doesn’t take it very well. The key to solving these issues is communication, and listening to each other without immediately arguing about it. You have to listen to and understand the other person’s perspective when it comes to such fundamental issues in a relationship.
There’s a gender disparity
As you can imagine, women are often gardeners, while men take the role of the flower. Especially when they become mothers, women become a lot more nurturing, and they quite naturally fill in the role of the gardener, keeping the relationship stable. Of course, there are many cases where men are the gardeners, but they are more frequently women. While, to a certain degree, someone must take this role in the relationship, many women hate to speak up if they feel anything is wrong. They feel that others grin and bear it, so they should too. But eventually, unhappiness and anger will ruin the relationship if this continues.
Love is often imagined as a garden. But even if the idea is romantic, there are considerations. Whether you’re a flower or a gardener, remember to keep a balance.