A few weeks ago I was thinking that it would be pretty cool for me to write on my thoughts about marriage for our 5th wedding anniversary. Now that the day is here, I feel slightly nervous and don’t really know what to say! 🙂 Anyway here goes.
The Purpose of the Institute of Marriage
After 5 years of being in it, what do I think is the purpose of the ‘institute of marriage’?
Firstly I think whoever came up with the term ‘institute of marriage’ was a genius because being married sure is very much like being in an education institute! There is continuous learning and discovery, sowing and reaping, hard work and reward and lots of growth! In fact if I have to put what I think about what the purpose of marriage is, in one sentence, it would be ‘to provide optimum growth for the individuals that come together in the union and the unit they create as a result of that union.’
Yes marriage to me is all about growth and so like any other growth process it has both pain and pleasure.
Marriage is the Most Critical Selling Transaction
All relationships are selling transactions. We are giving something to get something. At work we give our skill for money. In a friendship we will give stuff like our time, affection, wisdom (and sometimes money:)) to get stuff like time, affection, wisdom, ‘a place to belong’ or whatever it is we believe friendship is about, in return. This goes for every other kind of relationship; client and service provider, parent and child, teacher and student etc. That’s why I guess there is the term ‘investing in a relationship’. You have to invest in a relationship if it has to continue to work efficiently. And what is investing? It is putting resources (time, money, effort etc) into a vehicle expecting a return on it! Giving something to get something!
So when you think about marriage in that light, I think it has got to be the most critical selling transaction! Firstly, at the point of making the decision to get married to someone, each party is probably (or rather hopefully) presenting their best sales proposal. Just think about it; in that moment you are saying to the person that I believe I am the best person to walk with you through the journey of life, I believe I have a good enough gene pool to procreate some fairly decent offspring with/for you:), I will love and honour you like no one else can and I am asking you to trust me to be all this and more for you. That’s some pretty loaded stuff!
And It Doesn’t End There!
Once in the institute it’s a continuous selling process to stay together. You have to make sure ‘your client’ is always satisfied if you want the relationship to run efficiently. You invest more and more into the relationship to reap more and more rewards. Because when you stop investing resources into it, like any other investment vehicle, it either stops growing or disintegrates!
Imagine that you are a flower vendor. Imagine also that your most faithful and valued client likes red roses. She orders red roses every week and you deliver them on time and just the way she likes them. She will probably be very satisfied with the relationship and keep buying from you. Imagine that for some reason (complacency, familiarity etc) you deliver white roses in a certain week. She may tolerate and be willing to overlook it in that one instance (especially if you explain yourself and profusely apologise and make amendsJ). However she probably won’t be so accommodating if this happens a few more times! This is because the terms of the sales contract have been breached! Whether there is a written contract or not, the fact that she likes red roses and orders red roses and you are now instead delivering white roses poses a problem!
How Can We Keep It Alive and Kicking?
I think by trying everyday to satisfy and go beyond the terms of the contract.
To me it means still offering the best sales proposal every day. For example; did I ‘look good’ during the time of the initial proposal (thereby probably implying that this is who I am)? Then let me try to keep looking good and go beyond. Was I supportive of my ‘prospective clients’ ambitions and aspirations as I was presenting the initial sales proposal? Then let me continue to do that and go beyond. Did I promise to provide and protect? Then let me honour that and go beyond… and so on.
It also means continuously learning about myself and loving and valuing every part of me that I discover before I can expect my client to know, love and value me. It is means caring enough to learn about my client’s value system and what is important to them and trying to communicate my value system in their terms, thereby satisfying and honouring both systems. It means allowing them to be themselves and trying to see how their ‘perceived imperfections’ serve me. It means cheering them on, offering a helping hand, lifting a cautioning eyebrow or completely intervening unreservedly, when the situation calls for it, based on love. It means continuously reviewing and improving the terms of the contract to strengthen the relationship and it means loving them for who they are rather than trying to change them into me.
That certainly requires effort and is not always easy. However the rewards sure can be worth it!
Would I Do It Again?
In hindsight, would I get married again having the knowledge of what marriage is 5 years down the road? I most certainly would!
Would I marry Sandras again? I most certainly would!
Why? Because he has continued to satisfy the terms of our sales contract and gone beyond. Because he was my best friend then and is still my best friend now. Because whenever for whatever reason, he breaches the terms of the sales contract, he is willing to put his best customer service and disaster management skills forward without reservation. Because he continues to provide the correct balance of support and challenge that I need to keep growing and because the dude is hot and works at ensuring that every day I am attracted to him at all levels! 🙂
After 5 years I sure do still love me some Sandras and I look forward to many more years together!
Related articles Why I married Sandras