By Ron Price — On occasion, I have had the privilege of coaching couples through difficult stretches in their marriage. After a recent coaching session, I received an email containing what you are about to read. I was impressed with it and asked permission to share it with you. Obviously, permission was granted. I took the liberty to change the name of the husband, but little else. By the way, I do not personally know anyone named Buford, but it has long been my favorite substitute name for a person I do not wish to identify.

When Buford and I first got together, he had a plant that his last partner had abused. So, I took the plant and nursed it back to life. Like our relationship, it was growing and producing new leaves and vines. But, after a while, it started not to look so good and was droopy. So, I clipped some of the dead leaves and vines – the stuff on the surface that I could see.

It continued to die. I then decided I needed to check it out further to get to the root of the problem (pun intended). I soon discovered the plant was waterlogged. The pot was not allowing for the old water to drain.

Buford suggested that we get a bigger pot and replant it. So, we moved the sickly plant from the little pot to a new, larger one. But we had not addressed the previous damage from having been waterlogged. The plant continued to die.

Buford said, “it’s dead; throw it away.” I told him I based our marriage on how the plant is doing and that I was determined to save it. He said the plant had nothing to do with our marriage, that it was dead, and we should just throw it away.

I looked him in the eyes and told him, “I am going to save that plant, and you are going to see what I mean.” So, I took what was left of the very sickly vines and put them in a mason jar. Little by little, it started to grow roots. It was sitting on the window sill, neglected and pretty much forgotten. It was not getting any attention, and the water was almost gone.

At this point, Buford and I separated, and it brought me back to the plant. I clipped it and added some freshwater. I started babying it – giving it the attention it needed. Buford and I started marriage counseling. We started working on our “root” problems and let the old water (bad feelings) drain out of our pot. Our plant had good roots now and was ready to repot. Buford wanted us to put the plant in the big pot immediately, but I explained to him that it needed to grow and strengthen before it was ready for the big pot.

You see, this plant needed to be nursed to a point where it was able to withstand another shock to its root system. So, I repotted the plant back into a smaller pot where it was contained and held close so that it was comfortable and able to produce more roots.

If we forget about this plant or only look at the surface, we could risk losing it once and for all. Right now, the little plant looks amazing. It is bright and growing new leaves.

You see, this plant had problems of its own before it became mine, as did my husband and myself. If we work together to fix our marriage as we fix this plant, we too will grow new roots and leaves. One day we will be ready and comfortable to move into a larger pot. Some things take time, patience, love, and attention. God is helping us grow new roots and reminding us to let the old water drain and not hold onto the things that will continue to cause harm.

 I hope you enjoyed the sentiment expressed in this message. While not all marriages can, or should be, saved, I do believe many could succeed with some effort, attention, and help. What say you?

— Ron Price MA writes a regular column on  He is the owner/operator of Productive Outcomes, Inc., and has spent the last 30+ years as a mediator, helping people resolve their differences with others. He provides in-person and virtual training on a variety of life skills. He is a member of Piñon Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church in Farmington, New Mexico and a member of the RMC Executive Committee. For more information, visit To add your name to his weekly mailing list, please send him an email at [email protected]. Photo by Unsplash

This article was reprinted with permission