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.
Women don’t have to keep sublimating or withering. Women, and the men who love them, can choose something different. They can choose a lifestyle that gives both of them equal voices and choices. Also, they can choose a lifestyle where they revisit their agreements and periodically adjust. Just like any contract. It’s the same with your cable company or cellphone carrier.
Of course, a woman has to own her power and make it important. And a man has to recognize it. Your partner typically doesn’t know why you are unhappy or dissatisfied…but chances are, s/her knows something isn’t working well. Still, s/he isn’t a mind-reader. You two have to meet, communicate, and renegotiate.
You do it with your cable carrier, don’t you? Your carried isn’t going to offer you a better bundle of services just because you don’t like what you have now. You have to call them, complain, and ask for something better. When you do, they usually accommodate you. And, frankly, your cable carrier doesn’t have as much to lose as the typical married couple. So, doesn’t it make sense for the two of you to have regular conversations?
The Five-Year Marriage
The Five-Year Marriage opens up a space for conversation and honest communication. Here are a few things you’ll find with The Five-Year Marriage:
- Both partners have an equal voice
- Women can keep from losing themselves in the minutia of marriage and children because she doesn’t give up her SELF
- The five-year format gives women and men a way to shine a light on problems early so that they can be looked at, discussed, and problem solved before she or he starts feeling anger and resentment
- Because a couple is still living in love, they are open and willing to find ways to solve the problems.
The Five-Year Marriage is a different but better way for couples to live a marriage. It breaks the “til death do us part” stranglehold.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? How do you think a Five-Year Marriage would affect your relationship – or the relationship of someone you know?
Want to learn more? 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.
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