Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wanting a Better Marrriage Story, Take 1

In a turning point of our marriage, I had a forbidden thought for a married Christian man and summoned the courage to say it out loud:

“If this is how our marriage is going to be, then I'm not sure I want it.”

Expecting my wife to respond with the fury of God Almighty, she surprised me by thinking about it calmly on the outside, although I had offended her on the inside, she later told me. By the end of our walk, however, we decided to have the marriage we never wanted because we were too busy needing it. In other words, we wanted a better marriage story, because this script sucked.

Marriage is hard when it is about meeting each other's emotional needs and striving for an unrealistic compatibility--I've tried and I've just ended up losing myself trying to be someone I'm not. The result is always two needy people. If marriage is about meeting needs, then I will make sure I have needs my wife needs to meet. If all our previous efforts to be more fulfilled by the other failed, then we had a choice: we could either spend the rest of our lives in a story similar to that of a carousal horse, or we could live something that doesn't spend forever going in circles with the fear that a fat kid will sit on us.

In the next year, we plan to do two things. The first is to live our own separate lives creating stories that don't fully depend on the other. We are committed to supporting each other without functioning for each other because we found that getting over-involved with the other person's story always makes the over-involved one the conflict to overcome in that story.

I would rather not be the conflict that Monica needs to overcome to achieve her goals. It would be much nicer to be her husband.

As a result, on a career level, we are both starting new businesses that play to our God-given, life-developed strengths--Monica as a Professional Home Stager, and Ben as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice. One tiny vow we've already made to each other is this: "I, insert name, will not tell you how to run your business or do your job."

The second thing we plan to do is to preach the good news of living a better marriage story. We don't know exactly what this looks like and don't want to tie ourselves down to a definite plan, but this message is beating in our hearts right now. All we know is that wanting our marriage is so much better than needing it! A story worth living is a story worth talking about, so our first goal is to live more fully by taking risks and seeing challenges in marriage where we used to just see roadblocks. We've filled up white erase boards with our story and our ideas to impact others with it. In Portland at Don Miller's seminar, we hope to experience new ideas and thoughts to impact our stories even more; plus, we also want to go to the Saturday market...

At this point I read the rules for the Don Miller "Living a Better Story Contest" and realized I needed to be a bit more specific and that it was way too long! However, I loved what I wrote so far and thought I would post it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Ben. Sounds like a great new chapter of your lives.