Why would we and how do we Design our Marriage?
February 28, 2009 § 1 Comment
Both of you will have pre-conceptions of what your marriage will or should look like, whether they are subconscious or real. You probably also have conscious plans for certain things you wish to be a part of your new team dynamics. I cannot stress enough how important it is to try and find out at least the most important ones to you before you marry, and to talk about these and design how they will be outplayed once you are married. Once you are in the habit of talking about these, it will be a lot easier as you go along and discover more of them to talk about them, and resolve them together.
Pre-conceptions that are at a sub-conscious level and remain unexplored, can be very dangerous to the marriage relationship. If you never talk about these with each other, then when a pre-conception is inadvertently violated by the other, it can lead to indignance, hurt and unforgiveness over time. As mentioned in the previous post, these pre-conceptions will come from your past experiences in observing your own parents’ marriage, couples on TV, friends, or whereever.
An example of this is being brought up to eat every meal at the dinner table, as I was. This was a time for catching up, especially over the evening meal when we would all talk about the adventures of the day and exchange support for whatever we each needed help with. The events for the rest of the evening, the next day and the ensuing week were often discussed at these times. We gave 100% of our attention to each other, sometimes for the only time that day. I always expected that my marriage and future children would share this same activity. However I was not at all aware of this expectation before my husband and I talked about it!
My husband on the other hand, would seldom eat a meal at the table in his childhood, except for example when out for a meal at a restaurant. In our early days as a couple, sometimes he would make moves to sit on the couch to eat his meal whilst watching TV, and I would feel alone and at a loss for where to sit myself. Luckily my husband is fantastically awesome, and he noticed this so we talked about it. It turned out that he wasn’t adverse to sitting at the table, and once he knew how it made me feel when we didn’t get this quality time to catch up, it became part of our new “culture”. There are still occasions where we sit on the couch to eat, however the TV never factors a part during this important time of communication together.
As well as the sub-concious expectations, you might also have clear plans for some things you want to be a part of your new team. An exmaple might be a certain thing you hope your partner will do for you. If you don’t think you have any clear plans, you might try thinking of some things that you definitely want your children and your children’s children to understand growing up. For example you may be very passionate about a sport, or have deep knowledge on a particular subject that you want to pass on. If you’re still stuck for what some of your plans might be, you could start initially by identifying some things you definitely do not want to take place in your marriage, and go from there. For instance there might be something your parents did that you do not want to be part of your new family, so you will do “a” and “b” this way rather than that way.
My husband and I had both read “Whale Done” and decided that we wanted constant praise, thanks and positivity to be a central theme of our marriage. I know that often when people ask my husband how I’m doing (if I’m not there), he’ll tell them I’m hot or I’m awesome. He always thanks me for doing the washing (though he does it too) and I always thank him when he cooks and tell him it was delicious. Whilst others may look upon some of this as cheesy, we both love and desire to hear these words of encouragement from each other. Even when they sound the epitomy of cheesiness, we know we are both being sincere because we decided we would be this way with each other before our marriage began.
So, a first activity you can complete in order to design an ever-lasting marriage is to discuss and match up these subconscious and conscious plans you each have. Don’t worry if you don’t come up with many at this stage; the following posts will bring more of these out. Follow the discussion questions below, and add other good questions to ask yourselves and each other through the comments tool.
What are some pre-conceptions that you have of how your marriage will be (perhaps that the dinner table example brings to light)?
What are some values that you hold dear that you are determined to hold up in your marriage to this new family member? What are some pieces of you that you wish to live on in your children?
How do they relate to your fiance’s ideas on the same topics? Are they very different? How can they be resolved?
How are you going to deal with these when they arise in your marriage?