Themes for Marriage

Sometimes the very presence of God is barred by our presuppositions and our intense and constant desire for triumph.

-Ravi Zacharias

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There was something about Mavidea and its leaders that drew me to the company.  When I first started at Mavidea I came to realize what their secret sauce was.  Culture.  One of the many things I have come to learn from Mavidea about culture is how to use themes to bring people together.  Jamie and I liked this idea so much that we decided to use themes in our marriage.

The first theme we chose?  Do life together.  Early in our marriage we struggled with expectations so this theme was a way to help us with that. It did lots of other awesome things but it certainly served as a built in expectation buster.  Expectations.  Propping up a date or pointing to an event and saying ‘it is going to be the best’.  When things are not the best – it is disappointing to say the least.  Unknowingly, setting expectations, we found ourselves working towards life instead of working to enjoy it.

Jamie and I used to wake up on a Saturday morning and each go our own way. Each with our own lists of to dos.  The idea?  Get all this stuff done and out of the way so we could get back together sooner and really enjoy our time together.  Let me tell you how that went.

We each wake up and discuss our plan of attack on the day.  You do your list while I do mine and we will be done at approximately four and then, then,… we will have fun and enjoy.  Break.  Go team.  Expectation.  Set.  I busily go about my work and Jamie, separately, goes about hers.  Four o’clock comes and sure enough we are done with our lists.  Success.  ?

Now comes the time to enjoy life.  At this point there are some pent up expectations.  Namely from four o’clock on will be enjoyable.  After all we just sacrificed our day up until now so it would be. There is some pressure there. That we created. Interesting.

Now, let us say that we do happen to select something that sounds fun for both of us. Disaster averted. One time I recall we decided to rent a movie. We head to the movie store and proceed to get in a fight about what movie to watch. Nice.

Enter our theme to do life together. We now combine our lists. Among other things it forces us to learn to enjoy going to the grocery store, together.  And enjoy pulling all nighters at a hackathon working on software, together.  Sure we may not get done as early or even get everything on each of our lists done.  But when we are done, the pent up expectations are not there.  After all, if our post list time is not ‘the best’, we have already spent the whole day together.

It is not always easy. Sometimes it does not seem productive. But we have grown closer together because of it. Sometimes we still divide and conquer but that is now the exception.

What would your theme be?

 

-A takeaway from Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject would be the coolest.