October 10, 2019
Our businesses would flounder if we let them languish like we do our marriages. We are well practiced in our society at investing seemingly limitless amounts of time, energy, and financial resources into our businesses - but when are we going to learn to put that same boundless effort into our marriages?
Modern longterm relationships give us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves many times over, to rewrite our narrative, to vary our outcomes. We can become different people. We can become better partners, better parents, better people. It is the first time in history that we have the opportunity to rewrite our stories.
Our significantly increased life expectancy has given us the unprecedented prospect of having “do-overs” – different jobs, different careers, different ways we show up in the world, and even different families. We can have whole new loves at any age, in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and live a full, long life with our new spouses.
To quote world-renowned Belgian psychotherapist, author, speaker, and relationship expert Esther Perel: “Most of us are going to have two or three committed relationships in our lifetime, due to divorce, due to death, due to various things. Some of us are going to do it with the same person.” Perel is talking about the fact that over a 20, 30, 40 year relationship, we have to redefine ourselves. We need to restructure. We need to renegotiate our marital contract, and we need to do it several times during the course of our marriage.
Just like in business, we rebrand and we revitalize. What worked for the first five years is not going to work for the next five. What worked in our 20’s isn’t the same as what works in our 40’s or 50’s. Life changes us. How we were when we were young and carefree is not who we are after kids, career changes, deaths in the family, economic ups and down, illnesses.
As with a successful business, we need to be flexible and fluid, have the ability to reinvent ourselves, embrace tradition and innovation, remain creative and curious. We need to make our marriage our most important enterprise.