Lucky Bamboo represents luck, strength, love, and prosperity. It is typically given as a gift and can last for a long time if properly cared for. In comparison, marriages too can be long-lasting if the proper care and attention are given. Marriages are not easy, but military marriages have to survive extreme pressures consistently. Distance, constant transitions, and creating new roots with every move are just a few of the extremes military marriages must face. Then, there are the unexpected tragedies and life-altering circumstances that can impact your marriage even more than the normal pressures of military life.
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On Valentine’s Day this year, my husband gifted me the most beautiful Lucky Bamboo plant that had four bamboo stalks shaped together which formed into two hearts. The plant represented our love; strong, resilient, and ever-growing. I have a total green thumb and could not wait to put this special gift on my desk, where I could view it daily and be reminded of what a special love my husband and I share. I am not sure if it was the fact that this plant arrived super late on Valentine’s night, or if I royally just screwed this one up, but about thirty days later, the plant began to die. The plant that “represented our marriage” was now dying. This situation made me cringe inside.
When this plant died, it had been a year since our first baby had died due to miscarriage. We made it through one of the most devastating times in our marriage, but the sudden death of this Lucky Bamboo, reflected the death of something in our marriage that pregnancy loss had left behind.
Determined to not only save the Lucky Bamboo, but also to revive the areas of our marriage that were damaged from the tragedy we endured, we began to create a plan outlined below.
Reviving the Lucky Bamboo and Our Military Marriage:
1-Inspect the roots-We inspected each root of the bamboo for life and similarly we also inspected the roots of our marriage. What are we founded on besides love? Is God a part of our life? Should we incorporate more religion into our roots? What is the foundation we are built upon? This was our very first step in determining how to breathe life back into our marriage. We inspected the foundation of our marriage and began to incorporate the missing things back in.
2-Trim the dead stalks off-The next step in caring for the Bamboo was to cut off the dead stalk tops. This allows healing and room for new life to grow. For our marriage, we did the same thing. We evaluated the “lifeless” areas of our marriage and worked on ways to revive those so that new life could blossom back into those areas again. Our love never died, but when we lost our baby, we also lost a part of us. Things just weren’t the same as before. We had worked extremely hard to put the pieces back together, but somehow, something still wasn’t quite right. Communication and reflection was key in this step of the process.
3-Put the bamboo in a new container-Similar to how we placed the remaining Lucky Bamboo in a new container, we also removed ourselves from our “routine” environment and began to go out on dates again, took short trips, and simply just changed our scenery. This helped the remaining parts heal and seek new life with a fresh start.
4-Give fresh rain water-Just like plants require fresh elements from nature, so does a military marriage. Getting outdoors does wonders for you and your spouse. It allows you to remove other distractions, offers an element of healing all its own, and will bring you both together again. Whether you take a walk together, work on an outdoor project, or simply just sit outdoors side by side, nature will help your relationship tremendously.
5-Place in a partially sunny and partially shaded place-Lucky Bamboo does not require full sun. It thrives in a partially sunny place away from direct sunlight. A military marriage requires a similar aspect of sunlight and shade. Sometimes, you need to be in the light and be social with others as a couple, but other times, hence the shade, you need alone time together. A healthy balance will build a stronger marriage, just like a healthy balance of sun and shade helps the Lucky Bamboo to thrive.
All marriages take work, but military marriages take a tremendous amount of care and attention. You have to constantly work to stay in tune with each other, do little things to show you care, make special time for each other, be present in each moment you have together since distance is always a factor of each tomorrow, and lastly breathe life back into your marriage when it needs it. Military marriages are very similar to the Lucky Bamboo. They are strong, beautiful, and hold the potential to be prosperous. However, they both will not grow and thrive unless you put care and attention into both your marriage and the Lucky Bamboo.
© Strength 4 Spouses LLC, 2018.
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Wendi Iacobello is an Army wife, Beagle mom, and mom to an angel son. She and her husband have survived geobaching, three moves, and the loss of their first child all within the first three years of their marriage. Wendi has spent the last nine years as an Adult Educator, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, and a Master of Arts in Educational Media. Currently, she is a blogger, freelance writer, instructional designer, and avid volunteer. Wendi is extremely passionate about helping others find their inner strength by sharing her experiences, insight, resources, and inspirational stories on her blog Strength4Spouses.