#HipNJ has teamed up with Emily Stulman Klein, founder of Live a Joyful Life, to help women be successful in their marriages.
The following comes directly from Klein, and we hope it can inspire you today!
Getting married is EASY! There are magazines, websites, books, shops, trained professionals, a millions resources to support you on your journey. From special bridal bootcamp yoga so your biceps will rock in your sleeveless gown to your very own wedding planner who will run your day with marine like precision, sporting everything from breath mints to black socks and everything in between. Millions of women before you have walked in your white satin shoes. And while some things have changed over time, themes, destinations, wedding for a cause, eco friendly, all in all, GETTING married is easy.
Your role is clear and defined, blushing bride, resplendent in white. You’ve selected with care the venue, the rings, the honeymoon. You’ve choreographed everything from the entry music to the morning after brunch, without skipping a beat. But when you return from exploring Marrakesh or hiking in Machu Picchu or lolling around your private bungalow in Bora Bora the real adventure begins. Your adorable fiancé is now your very real, ’til death do us part, sidekick for life.
The big question is no longer, “Will you marry me?”. That’s old news. The current and significantly more important query is “Now what, and how are we going to do this without getting completely lost in the process?”
At first, it’s fun, great even. The life of a newlywed is divine. Husband, check. career, check-check, dual incomes, check-check-check. You retain your identity, along with the newly minted “wife” title. You still have girls night, client meetings, all the parts of life that nourish and belong to you and you alone, in addition to the married couple world you’ve entered. It’s the two of you against the world. It’s terribly romantic. You can’t even imagine what they were talking about when they said marriage was hard. Then one day, it hits you like a ton of bricks.
Usually it’s when you start a family, especially if you are “lucky enough” to give up that career of yours and stay home. There is something about parenting that magnifies all the things you thought you talked about when you were planning your life together, if you had the cursory talk about what that would look like. Then one day you open your mouth and your mother comes out. You close it horrified, looking around to see if anyone heard. Where did THAT come from, you wonder.
Each of you has your own blueprints and ideas about what married life will look like, and who will do what and then one day you’re home watching Elmo for the eleven millionth time in a row and he’s late because he’s stuck in traffic and you think “Shoot! What I wouldn’t give to be stuck in traffic, alone” and you find yourself jealous, angry, overwhelmed, unsatisfied. The thing you want more than anything in the world is 5 minutes to go to the bathroom by yourself and you think, “This is NOT what I signed up for”. Actually, it’s exactly what you signed up for, but it doesn’t have to be that way, I promise.
Enter, the pre-marital vision statement. It doesn’t sound very sexy but hear me out. It is, a wonderful, loving strategy to a happy and supportive life together. Some couples pre-marital tactic is the prenup, which by definition presupposes that the marriage won’t last. Insert sad / angry / bewildered emoji. The vision statement, by contrast pre-supposes that you will be tested at times but rather than taking your marbles and going home, you will have a written reminder that you created together that focuses on the whys and vision of your marriage.
Creating such a document takes courage. Before the “I dos” is the time to bare your souls, tell the truth and really listen to what your partner says. Before “Will you marry me?” or immediately following, is the time to brainstorm, to dream, to envision your life together. It is not that single question at all, but a series. “Do you see me? Do you know me? Who are you? What do you believe? What do you value? Do you have my back? Have you shown me your soft, white, warty underbelly? Have I shown you mine?” And when the terror of being seen has gone away because you have left it all on the table, then together you create your vision statement, based on freedom, not fear. And when you hit those rocky patches, and you will, and you’ll be ready.
Emily Stulman Klein, founder of Live a Joyful Life (www.liveajoyfullife.com) is a trust and authenticity expert. She believes in a world where every woman is happy, brave, fulfilled and free and that life is magical when we live it authentically. She works with perfect women masquerading as imperfect wives and moms to to reclaim their authentic selves and co-create lives of impact and meaning. To book time with Emily or to get help with your pre-marital vision statement, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.