Deadhead Your Marriage

Posted by: Shel 14 Comments

Deadhead Your Marriage

First of all, to spare potential disappointment, I want you to know from the get-go this has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead. So if you thought I was going to help you talk your spouse into taking a retro adventure, uh . . . sorry.

Let’s talk about my backyard. I took a look around the other day and noticed my once-lush marigold plants seemed to be withering. There were as many dried-up brown flower heads as there were yellow ones. So I set about deadheading them – snapping off crusty remnants of blooms. I was surprised at how much time had passed when the last plant was finally cleaned up.

I stood back to admire my handiwork and was impressed – lush plants had magically reappeared! Instead of seeing  brittle flower heads that indicated an expiration date was a breath away, I saw the plethora of new buds ready to open up and keep the full blooms company. Kind of like marriage, I thought. Sometimes we look at our marriage and see more dried up flowers – disappointments, grudges, hurt feelings, nurtured anger – than healthy blooms. That’s when you know it’s time to deadhead! When we deliberately clear away those dusty areas, letting go of  negative attitudes and complacency that settles in when our guard is down, we do more than freshen our marriage. We open up spaces for the new buds of kindness, gratitude and appreciation to bloom alongside the mature flowers that are still brightly hued. And then we can all live happily ever after, right?

Not quite yet.

marigold 1 editDeadhead Your Marriage







Deadhead Your MarriageDeadhead Your Marriage



The next day when I stepped out to savor coffee amidst my revived plants, I was dismayed to see numerous dried-up flowerheads had cropped back in while I slept. I immediately starting snapping off the intruders. Within a couple of minutes, the plants were restored to their cleaned-up vibrancy. And then it hit me. It only took minutes because I had done it so recently.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

As I see it, whether it’s gardens or marriages, we have three options:

Option 1: Ignore the situation entirely and let nature take its course. With no attention to the dying blooms, they will continue to absorb energy from the plant, thus causing the other blooms to die off quicker. Before you know it, the whole thing is one overgrown, brown, negative mess that can’t possibly be restored.

Option 2: Once in a great while deadhead so you can appreciate the huge difference of the before and after. Let it get rundown and then toss at it some effort and care so you can enjoy a special moment. Repeat as necessary to keep some life in it.

Option 3: Invest a little time in it daily to keep it always looking its best. You won’t have a dramatic ‘Before and After’ to prove to outsiders how much work you put into it, but you will have beautiful, well-cared for blooms that will flourish.

Let’s choose wisely.

Like This Post? Never Miss Another!
We respect your privacy.

Leave a Reply


  • I am such a sucker for garden analogies!! LOL Love this one. Let’s choose wisely indeed. xoxo Especially let’s do small, gentle things to keep our marriages healthy rather than wait until scary overhauls are needed. Thanks Shel!!

    • Shel Harrington

      Funny you commented on this one, Marie – I was just admiring that log garden on your FB page – it’s gorgeous! I’m with you on ‘maintenance’ versus ‘overhaul!

  • Kay

    Excellent comparison Shel! I loved it!

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks, Kay! As others pointed out, deadheading is a concept we can apply to all our relationships -starting with ourselves (ouch!)!

  • Great reminder! (Though at this point I think I’m doing a better job with my marriage than my actual marigolds.)

    • Shel Harrington

      I almost said “unfortunately I can relate,” but I guess that is actually a good thing!

  • Clever analogy, Shel. And so true. Isn’t God amazing to leave these clues surrounding us? Same principle applies with zinnias. And applies not only to the marriage relationship, but to all relationships…especially with God.

    We’re to deadhead sin every day, else the trunk load of wrong doing wrecks havoc in our heart and soul too.


    • Shel Harrington

      I agree with you, DiAne that the concept pertains to all our external relationships. I thought Pauline made a great point, too, that we can apply the same concept to our relationship to ourselves – now there’s a great starting place to do some serious deadheading!!

  • Great advice Shel! Being a happy single this is the also the way I treat myself – regular clearing out the detritus, to keep me happy 🙂 You have just reminded me I need some marigolds for companions in my spring garden 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      You’re so right, Pauline – kind of hard to push our baggage on others if we’ve already gotten rid of it! On another topic, I hope you don’t mind that I quoted you on the other site – what you have accomplished is was very inspirational!

  • A divorce attorney with a green thumb…you’re a woman of many talents, Shel! Great advice!

    • Shel Harrington

      Got ya fooled, Jill – I said I deadheaded them, not planted them! I’ve been known to kill a cactus (apparently they need water every once in a while!).

  • good thoughts for daily pruning on ourselves not others flowers…

Get updated by email when there's a new post!
We respect your privacy.