If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. ~ Lewis Carroll
When you get right down to it, many people simply don’t have the guts to take the risks involved in true marriage and relationship design. In designing the life or marriage you want, there are risks. Sometimes large risks.
But these risks may appear larger than they actually are.
This can all be summed up in the phrase “fear of the unknown.”
Designing a life or a marriage involves some unknown. But it may not be what you think. It may not be quitting your job to travel the world. Or figuring out a way to work a few hours a week in order to live anywhere.
Life and marriage design also happens when one parent decides to stay home with their children, when a middle-income family moves out of the city to a small rural town in the mid-west so they can retire earlier, when a family downsizes their home in order to live below their means, or when a person finds their call working a “regular” job in order to provide for their family and fund the activities they really enjoy. It happens every time an entrepreneur starts a business. It’s starting a consulting company so you can work 20 hours per week and make 35k per year instead of 50 hours a week for 80k (and using the free time to sleep in and exercise).
Marriage design doesn’t necessarily mean you dream up and create some exotic lifestyle that would be the envy of all those around you. It means you design and then begin living the life you choose!
Life is choice.
It’s one of my foundational beliefs. You don’t like something going on in your life, work to change it.
The other pitfall that comes up is people say “they just want to be happy.” You hear it all the time. Ask a random co-worker or family member what do you want out of life and you’re likely to hear this response. The problem:
Seeking happiness is too vague and too relative.
Seeking a life filled with happiness is largely impossible. It’s chasing the wind.
First, because nowhere in life are we promised happiness. The Declaration of Independence (for American readers) only allows for the pursuit of it. And another source many people around world follow, the Bible, never talks about happiness in this manner. In fact, the Bible says God is more concerned about your character than your happiness (Ecclesiastes 7).
And second, our likes and dislikes change too frequently. What you thought would make you happy, once obtained, doesn’t.
The reason our tastes seem to change so often is because they are constructed in part by those around us. We compare ourselves to others all the time. I do it too. What are they driving, wearing, watching, owning?
It’s probably the number one plague on marriage and life design.
What will other people think if I do this or that? What would my spouse say if I told them I wanted to try this or that?
Instead of seeking happiness, what if you designed life and marriage to be exciting?
What excites you is a better question.
Spend some time working on this question and you can uncover more of your core. And…
Living from your core is the way to radical growth and lasting passion.
Be it in marriage or in life.
In order to help get you started, here are two tools to use.
1. Get a more accurate view of where you are in life. Many people have no idea where they are in life. They go through the day lost in routine and roles. You may be one of them. Did you know that humans are the only mammal that when lost, speeds up! Perhaps this accounts for the fast paced society we all live in. All other mammals in the mammalian kingdom will stop, sit down and get their bearings before they proceed.
2. Sort out your core values. The second tool is The Value Sort. This takes about 20 minutes of your time. But at the end of the process you’ll have the top 4 or 5 values for your life. All that’s left is living life more in line with your core values.
For the next step in the process of building a better marriage, allow the words of master Yoda to encourage you.
Do, or do not. There is no try. ~ Yoda