Recently I was talking to a twenty-something, newly-engaged woman who loves the idea of The Five-Year Marriage. “It keeps things fresh,” she affirmed. And she was correct. A Five-Year Marriage does keep things fresh…and that’s the good part. However, the new beginning follows an old ending.
The end of a marriage is always a challenge. As Joseph and I are ending this one, we’ve taken some time to reflect on what went right and what didn’t. That includes figuring out how to resolve the latter and get more of the former. We expect a lot of changes in the next few years. So a lot of the stuff we have to resolve is around shifting roles, both in our home and in our careers. It also means a lot of letting go of things like:
- Stale beliefs: that includes those “not good enough” and “not enough” beliefs as well a misconception: “we have plenty of time”
- Responsibilities that we no longer have to keep. Some of those are family obligations, others are considerations for people and things that no longer have purpose or meaning and can leave our lives
- Old lifestyle habits that no longer serve us
- For Joseph and me, that’s about organization. If there’s a flat surface, we put something on it – end tables, island, steps…and then the place looks a mess, so that needs to change
- Clutter: Letting go of actual things we no longer need or feelings that create negativity or limitation between us
And it means embracing new things:
- Lifestyle habits that support our upcoming marriage
- One is such a simple thing: putting everything away at night. It seems simple, but we haven’t been doing it. Now we are agreeing to change an old pattern
- A different budget
- We need to pay attention to what our retirement funds look like…because, at some point, that’s going to happen – whether we are ready or not
- Making more time for R&R – something self-employed people never seem to get enough of
So, the young woman was correct. The Five-Year Marriage does keep things fresh. However, as I say in the book, the Five-Year Marriage ain’t for sissies. “Fresh” doesn’t happen accidentally or by magic. It happens with purpose and focus and and communication, all of which can be (at times) uncomfortable. However, the result is that you and your partner gain more trust with each other. And, with trust, comes greater intimacy. And, if it not for intimacy, why would anyone – especially in today’s changing world – ever get married? The result is worth the effort.
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