Softening the soil, as I am using the metaphor, is not being too stuck in our ways to hear feedback. If we cannot hear how we are experienced without feeling criticized or being defensive, how can the relationship grow? Sometimes the feedback can make us reflect further about ourselves. Perhaps this is my main point about making room for a relationship, whether we are single or married 25+ years: that without the ability to reflect about what we are told, how do we receive someone--make room for them?
Often people want to be accepted for who they are, including not wanting to change themselves. This morning I was told I was impatient. I could feel I am bad for that, I could blame them or say they are too touchy, or I could observe myself and see if I can see it too when it happens. This might make me more open to others, even myself. I am not referring to being overly receptive to people who hurt, exploit, etc., who always seem want us to compromise, while they are less than compromising. Those might be the weeds that need pulling in order for the real flowers to thrive! Sometimes the soil is very hard or difficult. These are like our defenses protecting us against things like past wounds, fears, shame and the like. It is hard to work from there, but it can be rewarding to let more love in.