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.