Currently I am facing a difficult time in my personal life. I am in a place where I have to be patient through the process of growing. As I was coming back to the office I thought about how hard it is to work for something when you do not see any results. We want to see the “fruit of our labor” and we want to see it fairly quickly.
In your marriage it is easier to “work the process” when you can see the process working. But what about when you do not see any results? The truth is, while it’s not easy working when the payoff is delayed, it is even more difficult when you work at something and you believe the payoff is coming but you have no idea when. If you had a job where you had to work 6 months at a time with no income but then at the end of the 6 months you got a check for $200k then you could probably work hard for 6 months. In this case the payoff is delayed but you are certain it’s coming. However, what about when you do not know how long you have to work before you get the payoff?
I am used to doing a certain thing and getting a certain result. But now that the result is not coming and I am unsure of when it will, or even IF it will, the willingness to do the work has decreased. And in that moment when I realized this for myself, I thought of my clients who are working on their marriage but may not be seeing the results they had hoped. I want to encourage you as I encourage myself to keep doing the right thing. Keep investing in your marriage, keep being kind, keep being patient, keep forgiving, keep loving…keep going. It’s not easy but you have no idea how close to “payoff” you are.
You’ve probably heard the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree. Like any plant, growth of the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In its first year, we see no visible signs of activity. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. The third, the fourth, still nothing. Patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our efforts (caring, water, etc.) will ever be rewarded.
And finally in the fifth year – behold, a miracle! We experience growth. The Chinese Bamboo Tree grows 80 feet in just six weeks!
Does the Chinese Bamboo Tree really grow 80 feet in six weeks? No, it actually took 5 years. The tree did not lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth. The tree was actually growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond. Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation it could not have sustained its life as it grew.
This story is often told to inspire people to keep pursuing their dreams. People, who patiently work towards worthwhile dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success, while get-rich-quickers and lottery winners usually are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth. In the same way, as you nurture and water your marriage, do not become discourage by the slow or lack of growth you see. Do not be weary in doing well because in due season you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. You may not know when “due season” is and that’s the hard part, but keep going!