Você está na página 1de 22

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................

CONTENTS
Introduction.................................................................03 Marriage is Not an Institution..............................05 Marriage is Not About Living Happily Ever After................................................................................08 The More You Give to Marriage, the More It Gives Back......................................................................11 Marriage can Change the World..........................17 The Invitation to Rethink.......................................20

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................3

THIS IS NOT A MARRIAGE SURVIVAL GUIDE.


As much as we could all use a survival guide on those days when marriage is especially heated, this is not one. In fact, the next 18 pages are written in the attempt to remove marriage from something to simply be survived, as if it were just another task on our long list of things to do or some sort of liability needing to be managed. On the contrary, the following 4 thoughts suggest that marriage, though a unique and enigmatic paradox, is our most valuable asset and is worthy of endless investment. This is not a another guide presenting a 3-step behavior modication formula to win at marriage. The next 18 pages intend to reach beyond behavior correction and change the way we think about marriage altogether.

MARRIAGE NEEDS A RETHINK.


In our modern world, marriage is a stale brand that is rarely found in our headlines for anything other than its short life span among celebrities and its validity among non-traditional relationships. In America, there is one divorce every 13 seconds. That means that 6,646 divorces are led everyday and 46,523 every week. According to current research, the chances of remaining married to your rst spouse are around 50%. And even when the title is still in tact, studies show that only 63.1% of men and 60.7% of women are happy in their current marriages.

1 MARRIAGE ENDS EVERY 13 SECONDS.

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................4

As a young married, these stats are hard to hear, but at the same time, incredibly understandable. Matrimony in modern America can often feel far more like an experiment than it does a covenant. Our parents were handed a brand of marriage that apparently wasnt worth more than a 50% success rate. Many of our counselors promote seasonal commitment re-evaluations rather than death due us part. And even our relational veterans often seem to speak of their marital success in terms of survival strategies and not covenantal love. It didnt take long for my limited perspective of marriage to run out of gas. A year in, my wife and I found ourselves hitting the same emotional walls and with every encounter, Id lose a little more interest in trying to climb it. Im sure we all have our own version of this story, but it quickly became clear to me that I either needed a new vision of marriage, or I would eventually nd myself on the lonely side of the statistic. Around that time, my friends and I started a conversation about marriage that challenged my lifeless brand of matrimony. In having this conversation, we didnt hope to simply to develop more formulas to help us modify our poor marital behaviors. Rather, it was to reinvent the way we thought about marriage altogether. And before we knew it, this re-envisioning was changing our marriages, our families & our lives. For me, this conversation launched a rethinking process, marked by the following four thoughts, that might be valuable to anyone needing a fresh perspective of marriage. Regardless of where you are today - pre-marriage, married or divorced - I promise that you are four thoughts and 21 pages away from a healthier and happier view of matrimony.

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................5

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................6

MARRIAGE IS NOT AN INSTITUTION.


I am always looking for the next 3-step plan or success equation that is going to make my life at home more efcient. However, my experience has been that even the very best formulas eventually grow stale and counterproductive within the context of a relationship. Unfortunately, I, like many, approach my marriage in the same way I approach my job and am often reminded that relationships are not, in fact, institutional.

THE REVOLUTION.
The Industrial Revolution was a beautiful display of human creativity. Over the span of 60 years, systems and machines were created to serve a human workforce and empower an economy. It succeeded tremendously at building wealth in the world and offering us most of the liberties we enjoy today. However, it also wired us to think in a way that made successful marriage nearly impossible. Thanks to this revolution, virtually everything we do is a part of a larger system. Professionals nd their place in the machine called a career and approach each day with routines and methods to serve their system. Stay-at-home mothers have babies, build systems in their home and wake up everyday with the intent of keeping the family safe and running. Church leaders build structures, establish their responsibilities, and settle into routine activity to keep the train moving. Every one of these systems, big or small, serve tremendous value in helping us perform in life well. Unfortunately, we often fail to approach relationships differently than we do our systems. We attempt to bring our industrial mentalities of heartless performance into our marriages and quickly nd that they dont operate by the same rules as the systems in our lives. Relationships, unlike institutions, are not built on formulas, cannot be predicted, and are not designed to be controlled. They are built to possess a mystery that is designed to persistently invite us back to connection. Contrary to popular opinion, this tangible connection found by two attempting to mutually trust and commit themselves doesnt have a roadmap and cannot be approached like it does. Its enigmatic nature

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................7

simply requires that two committed parties leave their formulas at work and intentionally walk hand-in-hand, today.

So, how might this look in our marriages?


This thought of marriage not being an institution may or may not be new to you. However, it means very little unless we can nd a way to make it practical and relevant for our own marriages. Here are some ways that this belief may affect our relationships.
We may take note of things that work and dont work for others but we dont use them as standards or necessities for our relationships. Through the lens of our own marriage, we determine what works for us. We dont compare our marriage to anyone else's, understanding that every relationship has its own set of unique variables. We make it a point to progressively learn our spouse and marriage, assuming that its impossible to ever fully know or master them. We make our priority less about the activity of marriage and more about staying connected to and on the same page as our spouse.

Some things to ask ourselves...


In what ways have we institutionalized our marriages? (IE: making marriage something you do from 6pm-9pm in between work and TV or see your relationship as a sequence of tasks.) How might we rethink those things and our marriages with the intention of connecting to our spouse, rather than routine activity?

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................8

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................9

MARRIAGE IS NOT ABOUT LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER.


Heres the truth: I get annoyed with my wife. But this is more a reection of me than her. Im intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think Ive given all I can possibly give, she somehow nds a way to ask for more. The worst part of it all is that her demands arent unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, shes looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on but never ventures too far from things she perfectly deserves as a wife. Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my very strong and dysfunctional value of well, myself. I know it shouldnt be this way, but I happen to often be selsh and stubborn. Sadly, our modern brand of marriage with its lens of gratication and convenience leaves us dazed when we inevitably hit emotional walls with our spouse. We quickly nd ourselves disillusioned in marriage and thinking things like this is not what I signed up for. However, in actuality, its exactly what we signed up for. The rst mention of human relationship in history, according to a Christian worldview, sheds some light on the issue. In the Hebrew language, Adam is referred to as Eish, and Eve, Eishah. Eish, literally meant, one that works amidst a re. And Eisha, one that comes out of re. (And yes, in common biblical fashion with multiple layers of meaning, re here is referring to more than just God.) This means that re is the rst word picture we have to envision the union of two people. Ironically, it pretty well describes how we may often feel in our married life - inamed and scorched. The implications of this are enormous. It seems to redene marriage as the re of our life. As if it was designed to rene our dysfunction and

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................10

invite us into progressive wholeness. In this light - and contrary to popular opinion - the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more signicant purpose. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on re and help us grow. This re may be painful, but its entirely bent on empowering the best version of who we are as individuals and as a couple. When were willing to see it this way, the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fullling experience of life.

So, how might this look in our marriages?


Here are some very practical ways that believing that marriage is not just about happiness may affect our relationships.
We wont fear conict but embrace it as an invitation to grow. Our I didnt sign up for this mentalities will slowly disappear and be replaced with What about me is this situation attempting to confront and change? We begin seeing our spouses needs as opportunities to grow.

Some things to ask ourselves...


Do I run from conict or over value it (drama makes me feel alive)? What is that issue that keeps coming up in my marriage trying to rene in me? If I chose to see conict as a healthy and needed thing in my marriage, what are some guidelines my spouse and I can implement to create a culture of productive conict?

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................11

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................12

THE MORE YOU GIVE TO MARRIAGE, THE MORE IT GIVES BACK.


Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriagespecically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a story that the Jewish Rabbi, Shalom Arush, tells about a young couple that came to him on the verge of ending their marriage. When given the chance to explain why he was never home, the husband inferred that his overtime work was for the benet of his wife and kids. The Rabbi politely let him nish before responding in a way that makes me uncomfortable but as time as shown, true. The way to escape debt and nancial difculties is not to work overtime. All of your problems are because your marriage isnt your highest priority. He went on to say, The gains that a spouse will feel on both a spiritual and material level defy description, once they make their marriage rst place. This story and its utterly derailing hypothesis seems to suggest that if one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benet. That if we were to make marriage king of our priorities, it can quickly turn into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives. Its a disorienting claim because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur or any professional requires that career should take the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years. However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I gured giving the philosophy a test drive couldnt hurt.

MY EXPERIMENT IN PRIORITIZING MARRIAGE.


For 31 days, I attempted 3 small things a day to communicate to my wife that she was my priority. (This may not work for all couples, as my wife is an extreme words of afrmation junkie)

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................13

1.

Tell her I loved her and one thing I love about her as the absolute FIRST thing I did each day. Reach out to her 2-3 times during my work day via call, text, email, FB post or a lunch date. Intentionally connect with her once a day. This often took on the face of a conversation alone, praying together or sex.

2.

3.

Then, every night, I rated our day from 1-10 on 5 different scales. 1. Priority Points | 10, indicating I made my wife my rst priority that day, executing all 3 things above. 1, indicating that I didn't execute any of them and put numerous things before her. Peace | 10, indicating no ghts. 1, indicating the consistent presence of conict. Marriage Enjoyment | 10, indicating enjoyment of wife. 1, indicating wanting to hide. Quality of Life | 10, indicating general happiness in home. 1, indicating zero happiness in home. Career!|!!10, indicating a productive day at work. 1, indicating an unproductive one.

2.

3.

4.

5.

After 31 days, I plugged my ndings in to a spreadsheet and discovered the eerily direct relationship making my wife priority number one has with every other layer of my life.

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................14

According to my rather rainbow visual, my life experience was predominately inuenced by the level of intention with which I invested in to my wife. Simply put, when I gave my wife priority number one, every layer of my life proted and the perks were tangible. The results, and not just the ones on the graph, were astonishing to me. It was previously typical for our ghting to escalate to a level ten quickly and stubbornly remain there for hours. Yet, I began observing our conict rarely hit an eight and if so, it wouldnt camp there for long. My wife spent less time making sure I was very aware of our relational deciencies, which is an extremely natural conversation for women to lead. Subsequently, she spent more time in the moment making our marriage experience far more enjoyable. Previously more inclined to pull me away from things I loved because her needs werent getting met, I began witnessing my prioritized wife encourage me to watch football or grab a cigar with the boys. The

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................15

more full she felt, the more she championed things that allowed me to relax or made me come alive. More relevantly, my marriage and its constant conict went from being the greatest resistance to my productivity to becoming!one of my careers most valuable assets. On the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. It was as if she stopped competing with my career for my attention, and subsequently joined my team to partner with me. Remarkably, prioritizing my wife OVER my work became a way to invite her IN TO my work, and the benets of having the closest person in my life champion me as a professional have been momentous. To my surprise, I now had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back. Of course, marriage requires sacrice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes and never gives back. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives. Regardless of if you agree with the Rabbi or not, one of the most signicant ways we can rethink our brand of marriage is to refuse to see it as a liability. Beyond relationship with the Divine, marriage is the most valuable asset in our lifes portfolio and is designed to empower us to succeed at whatever we put our hands to. The only disclaimer worth mentioning here is that every marriage and every spouse is unique all with their own uncontrollable variables. And in the end, there may not be a one-size-ts-all verdict to be made here. However, my hunch is that there IS a universal principle at play. IF marriage was designed to sit on the throne of our priorities, then it would make sense that when given its rightful place, it could no longer be just another fruitless task, but the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................16

So, how might this look in our marriages?


We look for less opportunities to benet from our spouse and more ways to sow in to their well being. Well rethink the way we spend our time as connection with and service to our spouse takes on a whole new value. Well spend less time on the defensive and more time on the offensive as we now have a clear strategy to a healthy marriage.

Some things to ask ourselves...


How does my spouse receive love best and understanding this, how might I best communicate to them that they are my priority? What are three practical ways I can communicate this everyday?

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................17

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................18

MARRIAGE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.


John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, Whats the most important thing I can do as a father? Medinas answer alludes to a surprising truth.

BACK TO MY EXPERIMENT.
I was just a few days into the previously mentioned marriage experiment.!This particular morning happened to be one in which making my wife a priority took a back seat to making sure she got a very real and raw piece of my mind. You know this kind of day. You both wake up looking for someone to blame. As we both emphatically reasoned with each other as to how the issue was the others fault, Cruz -my 16-month-old son- ran in the room. He took 3 steps in the door, stopped for a couple moments to observe our chaos. Then, he proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs and fall to the oor in an all-out meltdown. Not only was this uncharacteristic of him, but the intentionality of his episode was just bizarre. After this little episode, I began wondering about the relationship between our adult tantrums and his childish ones. So I tracked it. Id give the day a ten if he had zero tantrums, general pleasantness and swift obedience. Id give it a one, indicating moods, strong will and multiple tantrums. What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my childs behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested into my marriage.

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................19

Per the results above, 84% of the time, my childs behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I gave to my marriage. The less I made my wife and marriage a priority, the more my child acted out only further proving that if one was to give their spouse priority number one, then several areas of life strongly benet.

RE-ENTER JOHN MEDINA, THE BIOLOGIST.


After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, Whats the most important thing I can do as a father? Go home and love your wife. Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, authors on parenting, say it this way: A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process. They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, In the end, great marriages produce great parents. The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................20

pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has signicant implications for our family, our community and eventually, our culture. So men, women, the next time you nd yourself dreaming about living signicantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and love your husband.

THE INVITATION.
Id love to invite you to join a larger and ongoing conversation about rethinking marriage. This invitation to is an open one. Its open to the newlyweds simply wanting to have a different experience in wedlock than their parents. Its open to the woman 10 years into marriage with a husband who hasnt shown signs of an emotional life in years or even to her husband, who simply doesnt know how to care anymore. Its open to the single, the married or the divorced. Simply put, this invitation is open to anyone needing a fresh vision for what marriage could be.

HERES WHAT TO EXPECT.


Rebranding marriage isnt simply a choice. Its a process. Accepting this invitation by following the steps below is simply an onramp to a journey with a community of people who are committed to the same goal of a healthy marriage that you are. Overtime, you will receive fresh content from multiple sources, an online forum to discuss marriage with other likeminded people, and an email address to contact with stories and questions.

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................21

HERES HOW TO ACCEPT.

1 2 3

Signup here! (if you havent already) And email us with any stories or questions!

Refer this book to a friend you think might want the invitation as well. Share on Facebook | Tweet | Email to a Friend Join the conversation @ tylerwardis.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


http://www.tylerwardis.com/about/

Rethink Marriage.......................................................................................................................................................22

SPECIAL THANKS.
Analee Ward, for never letting me settle and being the most inspiring test subject I could ask for. Jared Black, for starting that conversation about marriage a few years ago and still to this day, helping me see marriage for what it truly is. Mallory Cruz, for meticulously picking at my words and not letting me go to print with horrifying grammar and undeveloped content.

REFERENCES.
Marriage Statistics: http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/marriage/ http://www.livescience.com/16185-marriage-divorce-statisticsinfographic.html http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-newmarriage-and-divorce-statistics-released http://www.politifact.com/new-jersey/statements/2012/feb/20/ stephen-sweeney/steve-sweeney-claims-more-two-thirds-marriagesend/ http://foryourmarriage.org/factsgures/ http://www.mckinleyirvin.com/blog/divorce/32-shocking-divorcestatistics/ Books: The Garden of Peace. Brain Rules for Babies. BabyWise.