Marriages stand a better chance when they begin with conversations rather than assumptions.
It’s all too easy to enter marriage with an expectation of what it is going to look like. It is all too easy to expect that your partner-to-be (or even current spouse) has the same view and presumptions about matrimony as you do. It is all too easy to fall into a marital model that does not match the needs and wants of you and your spouse.
Conversations about marriage are not comfortable. They are not easy. And, in many cases, they are even taboo because we see the institution of marriage as being rigid with defined rules and boundaries.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Instead of trying to make everyone fit into the mold of a “traditional” marriage, maybe it makes more sense to shape marriage around our own desires for family and companionship. Maybe the reason that half of all marriages “fail” is that they didn’t fit the couple to begin with.
I received a copy of The New “I Do” last week. It provides templates for seven different types of marriages: starter, companionship, parenting, distance, covenant, safety and open. Each section consists of a description of each style, real-world examples, pros and cons and matters to think about.
And think I did.
As I read, I found elements of some of the models that intrigued me and other ideas that repulsed me. I found myself nodding in agreement for a few paragraphs only to bust out a, “oh, hell no!” in the next.
But throughout, it made me think.
And when it comes to marriage, a little more thinking can go a long way.
Even though I am already in a happy marriage, I found that this book made me consider ideas and options that I had not before. When I summarized the marriage styles for Brock while I was reading, it led to some great discussion about the broader ideas of marriage in general as well as conversation specific to our own marriage.
And marriages stand a better chance when they are based upon conversations rather than assumptions.
If you’re divorced, check it out. It may make you look differently at your first (or second) marriage and see areas where you could do things differently.
If you’re afraid of marriage or convinced marriage (or remarriage) isn’t for you, read it and you may find a model that fits what you’re looking for.
If you’re in a troubled marriage, this book may give you ideas about how you can restructure your relationship to fit your changing needs and perspectives.
And if you’re in a happy marriage, this book lends itself to some deep and interesting conversations about what it means to be married and if you and spouse share the same priorities.
Because when it comes down to it, marriage is not one size fits all. And there’s more than one way to wear a wedding ring.
If you’re curious, Brock and I concluded that our relationship doesn’t exactly fit any of the models. Its core is based on companionship with a healthy dose of passion. That doesn’t mean that’s the right kind of marriage; it means it’s right for us.
3 thoughts on “There’s More Than One Way to Wear a Wedding Ring”
Hmm. Safety is apparently about money in the book? I wanted a marriage of emotional safety, the one person I could rely on to always be in my corner (being an only child betrayed and deserted by one parent and the other one torn between struggling to keep things going, me, my illness and supporting her parents). To me loyalty was the key. To him rescuing was the key, or what made him feel bonded.
So he rescued me and then I couldn’t be rescued anymore. He ended up trying to rescue a sociopath in an affair. Despite having my loyalty needs shattered I still saved him.
And now? For me it’s still loyalty. For him it is rescue still (now that’s more like redemption).
Lots of companionship too. But I think the key dynamic is rescue/redemption vs loyalty. And it hasn’t changed at that level.
Isn’t it interesting how much our childhoods impact our marriages? I get your need for loyalty.
I, too, saw safety as emotional safety. In some ways, I still do. But I look at differently. Now I see emotional safety as a relationship where I feel safe in the moment but, after how my first marriage ended, I have to accept that the moment may end.
I am a long way from accepting that, which i suppose will come. But if if does it basically breaks my fundamental value-system. To me loyalty is way more important than love. I would have done well in Bismarck’s time I suspect.