So every Sunday morning you download the Times, scan the Top News and Most E-Mailed sections, and then turn to your two favorite lighthearted parts of the paper: Real Estate and Weddings/Celebrations. Okay, so let’s talk about the Vows column. What couple, you wonder, can possibly sustain such an incredible assortment of creative, professional and romantic achievements — sometimes on two or three continents, no less?
How do they do it?
Well, if you’re talking about the long term, they don’t. Polo in Argentina, skydiving in Namibia, launching your third fashion start-up in two years: the stuff of romantic fiction, for sure, but more than a stretch for the long run. Over the years even the simple things that ordinary mortals enjoy — career, children, nights out — need to be balanced with finding time to nurture your marriage itself.
When we approach a marriage as the capstone of two sets of extraordinary personal accomplishments, we usually need to shift our thinking a bit if we want our relationship to last. A marriage needs care, feeding and time. It doesn’t just coast.
If you’re a medical resident, investment banker, attorney, consultant or start-up CEO, that probably sounds discouraging. The good news is that by learning and practicing some simple daily rituals and skills that will nurture your marriage — and discovering how to avoid damaging it — you can build a relationship that is deeply fulfilling for a lifetime. Every day I work with busy high achievers who are learning how.
Even if your relationship is showing signs of the wear and tear that comes from neglect, you can turn it around. The first step is to move past the tug-of-war you and your partner are having about time management and learn how to work as a team. When you do, you’ll both discover that you’ve grown a relationship that is a soft place to land, a safe place to be yourselves, and a support for your interests, goals and dreams.
It all starts with making that shift to recognizing that building a marriage you love takes time and energy. Just put up a new post on this topic on my Slow Marriage blog. Hope you’ll take a look.