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.