As Joseph and I are wrapping up this marriage, we’re in negotiations for another one. Yes, we’ve decided to marry again. However, after thirty years, the conversations around our next marriage are different.
Actually, every marriage negotiation conversation is different. And difficult.
The different part is the easier of the two. We’re different because the world changed in the last five years. As a result, we’ve changed. Sometimes the changes are goal-related. Our experiences change how we see our jobs, our relationships and our mind/body/soul connection. That’s easy to accept.
“Difficult” is another story. Just by virtue of our age, we know our next five years will be different than our last. The timeline of our life is different at sixty than it was at thirty – and that impacts the timeline of our marriage. Nobody likes to talk about what aging does to a body, a career or a lifestyle.
In addition, focus and reorganization are challenges.
Focus has two parts: (1) making focused time to have the negotiation discussions is one – and making time for The Five-Year Marriage is always a challenge (but one with a BIG payoff) and (2) focusing on goals and goal-related tasks.
You see, through most of our marriages, we were in a “building” phase – building our individual businesses, moving either our business or home, and buying things – equipment, furniture, a new kitchen, etc. Our next five years will be more centered on our joint business goals instead of just joint personal goals. We’ve never done that before. We’ve supported each other’s goals, and partnered, but we’ve maintained our own things. To some degree we still will, but we are also working together to help other couples create their own The Five-Year Marriages through workshops and retreats. Doing that is a fun something we love, but it’s also a shift in Joseph’s practice and my business.
Something else that’s coming up in our negotiations is our home organization. For example, I often say that the most challenging part of keeping our house clean is straightening up. We aren’t slobs, but because so much is always going on in our lives, we move fast. So we don’t always put things back where they belong. As a result, before anything can get cleaned, we have to take time (waste time?) putting things away.
We need to change that…and figuring out how to do that is harder than either one of us anticipated. The reason? While we both agree on the direction, we have two different opinions about how to get there. That’s where the fireworks happen.
Also, though we agree on what we need, old habits die hard, so we know there will be challenges – and arguments – until we create the new habits that support our goals. And change is hard – even though we know we need to so we can get more of what we want.
We have a month to go before our wedding…so we’re down to the wire…
Like these ideas? You can find more tips and techniques in Annmarie Kelly’s book, The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm.
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