“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher
Julie and Chris used to be a great couple – laughing together easily, sharing affections and knowing one another so well they could finish each other’s sentences. But that time has long passed. That was before they had kids, before he lost his job, before she lost her mother to cancer. Now 23 years later, they’re living like roommates – co-existing and functioning under the same roof but not connecting or sharing their lives with one another.
Julie had been trying to retrieve what was lost in her marriage for years, but nothing worked. Or the relationship felt better for a few weeks, but always reverted back to the same patterns that left her feeling lost, lonely and hopeless. She assumed the only answer was to divorce.
But what if there was another possibility Julie hadn’t considered?
What if fixing the struggles inside the marriage had nothing to do with going back to the couple they used to be, but rather evolving the relationship to something that would feel good for both of them?
I call this evolving to Marriage 2.0.
Much like Apple will upgrade their phones every few months with new features and new functionality, a marriage also needs to get equipped with new features and functions as we move through our ever-changing lives.
Most of us got married for the first time in our 20s or 30s. What we wanted for our marriage at that time was stability, shared values, similar life goals and security.
I’ve heard thousands of women lament that they chose the “good guy” or the “safe guy” to marry and now they’re in their 40s or 50s with nothing in common, no desire or passion between them and deep disconnection.
That’s because what we wanted 20+ years ago is so very different than what we want today in our 40s, 50s and 60s. So if we want it to last and feel good, it needs to evolve.
The other problem – and need for the relationship to evolve to a new, updated version – is because the factory settings aren’t enough to sustain us for a lifetime.
We come into marriage with the equivalent of “factory settings,” which are the things we learned at home growing-up about what love and marriage is supposed to look like.
We learned how to handle upsets with our spouse, we learned how to argue, we learned about what level of affection was acceptable and what wasn’t. We learned about roles and who was responsible for what in the family, we learned when to speak up and when to keep quiet, we learned to either lean-in or withdrawal when life threw hardships our way. We learned all this – by the way – by watching how our parents interact (not by their words, but by their actions).
And not all of what we learned was helpful – or healthy. After all, our parents didn’t have any tools or training on how to sustain a loving and connected marriage over the course of decades either.
And it’s fair to say that successful marriages today require very different features and functionality than the marriages of our parent’s generation. When we’re only operating on factory settings installed 50 years ago, of course, it’s not working well now. That’s why we’re seeing divorce rates of 50 – 73%.
Our parent’s marriage compared to our marriage today is the metaphorical equivalent of the corded telephone attached to the wall with buttons or dials compared to today’s cell phones that function as a phone, a messaging system, a computer, and a camera that we carry with us everywhere we go today.
So if we want the relationship to last and to feel good, we’ve got the give our marriages an upgrade – at least to the 2.0 version.
- Learning how to communicate better; being someone who is able to understand and express their feelings in a mature manner.
- Getting equipped to argue productively so that upsets can lead to a deeper understanding of one another.
- Becoming aware of all the ways in which we betray and hurt one another and attempting to do better.
- How to forgive over and over and over again, while still holding one another accountable to not repeating the same hurts.
- Understanding ourselves, our motivations, our emotions, our desires, our wounds and insecurities – because we bring it all to our most intimate relationship.
When Julie began equipping herself with these upgraded features and bringing them to the marriage, the relationship began to evolve. It began to feel better and she felt a renewed sense of hope and optimism for her husband and the marriage. She didn’t have to end it; she just had to evolve it to a new place that fit who she was today.
And this is the approach I use with nearly all my clients: We make the attempt to evolve the relationship to Marriage 2.0. If it works – and it has for thousands of women around the world – then the marriage has new life and two people can continue to love and grow together for years to come. If it doesn’t work and the marriage cannot evolve beyond where it is today, then we do have an answer that my clients can make peace with, knowing they genuinely tried.
Ready to begin your journey? Let’s see if there’s a fit for us to work together.
Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?
Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.