There’s a few achievements that I’m quite proud of, but none as much as my marriage.
How do you make a marriage work?
Today’s post is dedicated to my loving wife, my tireless life partner, Connie. Happy Valentines Day, babe.
I don’t know if people realise she’s been with me in the business since day dot. And not only did she raise an amazing business with me, she also raise three amazing kids and an amazing man in me. She helped me cross over that threshold from self-indulgent teenager to a man in his full maturity.
Who knows where I would have ended up with out her.
And not only did she perform these three minor miracles, she did them all, all at the same time.
She’s an inspiration.
And I wanted to make a little bit of a fuss this year because Connie’s birthday is on the 16th. It’s like those poor kids born around Christmas time, who never get a real celebration for their birthday.
Our birthday and Valentine’s Day dinners long ago merged into the same thing.
So maybe this little post helps make up for that.
Anyway, so just how do you make a marriage work?
This is something I get asked every now and again. And look, I dunno. I’m a bit out of my comfort zone here. I’m on solid ground when I’m talking about wealth and self-education, but love..?
But hey, that’s never stopped me before. Let me have crack.
Ok, the first thing I’m feeling to say is that I think most people get love and marriage wrong because they just haven’t defined the problem properly.
Take love. Oh boy. Have we just led ourselves right up the garden path when it comes to love.
Yes, there is a love that is a teenage love, that is a Hollywood Rom Com love, that is a pop-song (I can’t live without you and I’m going to poke out my eyes if you leave) type love.
That exists. The trouble is that we’ve become so focused on this love – (and I get it. When you’re in this stage of love, it’s like being on drugs.) But we’ve focused on this stage of love at the expense of all other types of love.
And that teenage love is meant for teenagers. It’s meant to form bonds. It’s meant to push you out of your comfort zone and get you taking risks. It’s meant to give you a break from being relentlessly inwardly focused.
It was never meant to carry you and your partner for 80 years down a long and bumpy road called marriage.
So you’ve got to give space for a different sort of love – a love, for me at least, that is built around seeing and being seen.
That is, it is about learning to see someone deeply and truly – seeing through all the superficialities, and insecurities and whatever else it is might bother you, and seeing the essential being beneath. It’s about seeing that person, and celebrating that person for who they truly are.
And when you have someone who can do that for you in return – when you have someone who has been through enough rough and tumble with you that you feel safe enough to let your most essential self be seen – then you are seeing and being seen, and then you are in a love that is deep, enduring, and endlessly nourishing.
This is what we should be aiming for… I reckon.
I also think people have the wrong idea about what a marriage is.
To most people, a marriage is the perfection of that teenage love. It is that heady infatuation taken to its completion point.
But if that’s true, what can possibly come next? Nothing but the gradual failure and degradation of that ‘perfection’.
Much better to see a marriage as a commitment to journey together. I think this was easier to hold when the need for a travelling companion tapped more into our instinct for survival.
If you didn’t have a partner sharing the work of gathering resources or raising children etc., then there’s be a good chance you’d die.
That kind of reality could give a marriage a lot of legs.
And so our challenge now, in this day and age, is to find a shared journey and keep it front and centre in our minds.
The first part of that journey is love, seeing and being seen, and a commitment to grow into and explore those depths together.
After that… well, it can be anything. I love having Connie in the office with me, and it’s not just so we can play naughty secretary, but it’s because we’re on a journey together. We’re building the company, we’re growing our wealth, and we’re exploring all the richness that has to offer our lives.
This is something you and your partner have to figure out for yourselves, but I will say this, in my experience, there’s nothing as juicy as shared sense of journey.
So there we go. That’s my advice to young lovers. Get clear about what love actually is – and explore this idea of a ‘seeing and being seen’. And then define a shared journey for yourselves.
I think if you can do these two things, you won’t go too far wrong.
Happy Valentines Day, lovers.