Glenn Close was wiping away the tears. “I’m thinking of my mom,” she said, shaking with emotion, “Who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life and, in her eighties, she said to me, ‘I feel I haven’t accomplish anything.’” Then, as she ended her acceptance speech for her Golden Globe best actress win, the power in her voice filled the stage as she told her worldwide audience, “We’re nurturers, that’s what’s expected of us…but we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say ‘I can do that,” and ‘I should be allowed to do that.”
Yes and Yayyyy!
Women are nurturers, and that is what is expected of them. But why haven’t we evolved more in our 21st century than in the 3rd, 14th or 20th centuries? Can only women nurture? And can only men fulfill their goals and follow their dreams? Of course not!
Yet we keep putting new wine into old wine-skins. That is, women keep putting their “new wine” independent selves and empowered ideas into the “old wine-skin” of traditional marriage. As a result, they still find themselves doing what Glenn Close’s mother did – sublimating. They put off their goals until the kids are in school and it’s “their time.” Unfortunately, “their time” sometimes comes at the same time as a divorce. Or they redirect their energies into home-based businesses that are more like hobbies. Their once-sharp skillset is rusty and they settle – for an OK or satisfying life instead of a fulfilling one.
And just like how the new wine in the old wine-skin degrades and sours, a woman is diminished and her spirit withers. In the end, women’s lives are eerily similar in personal fulfillment and satisfaction to the lives of women like Glenn Close’ mother.
There is a Better Way
It’s time to shift the marriage paradigm to something that makes sense for today’s woman: The Five-Year Marriage. In a Five-Year Marriage, a woman doesn’t have to live with the outdated agreements she made in the early days of her marriage. She has the clear choice to revisit and re-evaluate those agreements with her spouse at the end of five years, and renegotiate them to meet changes that occur – in life, in each other, and in the relationship.
Here’s how it works: When Pat started having children, she was a stay-at-home mom. But she got itchy, took classes, and became a stock broker. It wasn’t long before she was able to earn more than her social worker spouse, Dan. So they renegotiated their agreement.
For just over ten years, the burly rough-and-tumble Dan became a stay-at-home dad. He took care of his daughters until they started school. When they did, he made sure they were up, dressed, fed, and on time for classes. He was there for them when they got home each afternoon. When they got sick in the middle of the night, it was Dan to whom they went for nurturing.
When both girls were in middle school, Dan took a job with the school system. By the time they were in high school, Pat and Dan again renegotiated their agreements. Their new agreements reflected both their lifestyle and personal changes.
The process honored both Pat and Dan, as individuals, as a couple, and as parents. And it served their daughters in a unique way. The girls got to know their father in a way that many girls don’t get to experience until their fathers are older – a regret of both daughters and their fathers.
The Five-Year Marriage is a new and better way for couples to live a marriage. It breaks the “til death do us part” stranglehold. It opens up a space for conversation and honest communication. It gives both partners an equal voice. It shines a light on problems early so that they can be solved before she or he starts feeling anger and resentment. And, because a couple is still living in love, they are open and willing to find ways to solve the problems.
Want to learn more about The Five-Year Marriage?
You can get started by reading The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm, available on Amazon. And be sure to sign up for Annmarie Kelly’s Five-Year Marriage newsletter to get the latest information on articles, meetups, and workshops.
#FiveYearMarriage, #MarriageTips. #LoveAndMarriage, #PartnershipMarriage, #ModernMarriage #WomensEmpowerment, #MarriageContract, #RelationshipAdvice, #AnnmarieKelly, #ContractMarriage,