Designing the marriage or life you want involves risks.
But the motivation for marriage design is different than the motivation for life changes.
If you’re over-weight and miserable, you may not like it but you are still stuck with that body. If you’re miserable in marriage you can discard the other “body” easier than your own. Which makes it seem like change and improvement is only a loss of (insert your spouse’s weight here) away.
Fact is, changing partners is likely not going to improve your situation for the long haul.
It’s interesting to me how often we humans will settle on things in marriage (and life) when if we we’re honest with ourselves we would realize we’re actually settling and not living fully alive.
Why is it so easy to settle?
This answer can all be summed up with the phrase “fear of the unknown.”
Designing life or a marriage involves unknown. But it may not be what you think.
It may not be quitting your job to travel the world. Or figuring out a way to work a few hours a week in order to live anywhere.
Life and marriage design also happens when one parent decides to stay home with their children, when a middle-income family moves out of the city to a small rural town in the mid-west so they can retire earlier, when a family downsizes their home in order to live below their means, or when a person finds their call working a “regular” job in order to provide for their family and fund the activities they really enjoy.
It happens every time an entrepreneur starts a business.
It’s starting a consulting company so you can work 20 hours per week and make 35k per year instead of 50 hours a week for 80k (and using the free time to sleep in and exercise).
Put simply, marriage design doesn’t necessarily mean you dream up and create some exotic lifestyle that would be the envy of all those around you.
It’s designing and then living the life you choose!
Life is choice.
It’s a foundational belief.
You don’t like something going on in life, work to change it.
But I just want to be happy.
Another pitfall that comes up is when people say “they just want to be happy.”
You hear it all the time.
Ask a random co-worker or family member what they want out of life and you’re likely to hear this response.
seeking happiness is too vague and too relative.
Seeking a life filled with happiness is largely impossible. It’s chasing the wind.
First, nowhere in life are we promised happiness. The Declaration of Independence (for American readers) only allows for the pursuit of it. And another source many people around world follow, the Bible, never talks about happiness in this manner. In fact, the Bible says God is more concerned about your character than your happiness (Ecclesiastes 7).
And second, our likes and dislikes change too frequently. What you thought would make you happy, once obtained, doesn’t.
Our tastes seem to change so often because they are constructed, in part, by those around us.
We compare ourselves to others all the time. I do it too. What are they driving, wearing, watching, owning?
This is probably the number one plague on marriage and life design.
What will other people think if I do this or that? What would my spouse say if I told them I wanted to try this or that?
Instead of seeking happiness, what if you designed life and marriage to be exciting?
What excites you is a better question. Spend some time working on this question and you can uncover more of your core. And…
Living from your core is the way to radical growth and lasting passion.
Be it in marriage or in life.
To help get you started, here are two tools to use:
1. Get a more accurate view of where you are in life.
Many people have no idea where they are in life. They go through the day lost in routine and roles. You may be one of them. Did you know that humans are the only mammal that when lost, speeds up! Perhaps this accounts for the fast paced society we all live in. All other mammals in the mammalian kingdom will stop, sit down and get their bearings before they proceed.
In order to do this, a great tool is the Wheel Of Life.
This gives you a gauge as to how satisfying the areas in your life are currently and can help you uncover where to begin working first.
After you’ve discovered how smooth your wheel of life is, take the steps to begin working on the areas that need improving.
2. Sort out your core values.
The second tool is The Value Sort.
This takes about 20 minutes of your time. But at the end of the process you’ll have the top 4 or 5 values for your life. All that’s left is living life more in line with your core values.
Let me know what you discover in the comments.
If you’ve been stuck in your marriage and life, I invite you join us for Unstuck – which begins February 17th. Join before February 9th to save $50 off the price.