The topic of marriage is one that’s very near and dear to my heart.
In the book I am writing I devote an entire chapter to sharing about a story from my marriage that is both painful and powerful. The story I share is a cautionary tale about what can happen when two people don’t prioritize their marriage. What can happen when one or both of the partners make work their top priority instead of their partner. It’s a hard story to share. It’s one that I haven’t opened up about to many but I’m sharing it because it’s powerful and if my story can help someone else out there, then it was also purposeful. I believe it can help. I don’t believe we go through life experiencing it’s ups and downs without purpose. What we experience can help others when shared. Our experiences and the lessons we gain are helpful for others encountering similar situations.
I’ve learned a lot about marriage in my ten years of being married to John. I am changed because of marriage. Marriage is a gift, it has the ability to make the two people involved better people. It can bring out the best in people, showing us where we can grow in patience, communication, understanding, empathy and love. The secret of its power is that it’s a mirror.
Marriage is a mirror. It reflects back to us how we really are. I listened to a sermon the other day while on a walk with my dog Kahlo. The sermon was about marriage and how to find the right person. In the sermon, the pastor Mark Gungor said, “You date the act, you marry the react.” Meaning, we can all act kind, patient, loving and all sorts of good things but it’s when we react that you see your true colors. Reactions tend to bring out the worst in all of us. We can lose our temper, yell, get emotional, gossip and cuss.
Our reactions aren’t premeditated like our actions. We don’t plan how we’re going to react, that’s why it’s called a reaction. When two people are dating it’s easy to fall in love with someone’s actions. Their actions are what we like, but when two people decided to get married the actions eventually change or stop. Instead, we deal mostly with their reactions.
I’m fascinated with the topic of marriage because unlike what the movies would like us to believe, they’re not easy. Strong marriages take work, they take commitment, and time and energy. Just like anything else in life. Above everything however, marriages take two whole people.
I used to think marriages made us whole. I believed Jerry Maguire when he said, “You complete me.” I wanted to believe that was true so badly, that I’d find my perfect match in someone else and I would be complete. But it’s simply not true. If you’re not complete before you come into marriage, your marriage won’t make you complete. You’ll be the same incomplete person, just married. I know this to be true, I’ve lived through a decade of marriage and it’s already proven itself true in my life. It takes two 100% complete people to make a complete couple and a complete marriage.
This is also true with business and entrepreneurship. The business does not make the entrepreneur. When I was 25 years old and starting my first business I was obsessed with making it successful because I thought then I would be a true entrepreneur. The truth is the opposite. The entrepreneur makes the business, not the business makes the entrepreneur. But I think too often people dive into a new business venture and think success will bring them the title and the recognition when in fact it’s the completeness of the person that brings the success.
In working through chapter seven of my book I started to have doubts about the success of the book. I started to question if it was any good. Would people really read it? One day while having a stream of these negative thoughts I took out a post it note and wrote down the lies I was believing.
1.) No one will read the book
2.) The book isn’t any good
3.) I am not enough
That third one came out of left-field but it was crystal clear. That was the core, the cause of my doubts and negative emotions. I wasn’t bringing my fullest self to the project because for a moment I believed the project, or the book would prove that I am enough. So on a new post it note I wrote the truth to these lies.
1.) People are excited about and asking for the book
2.) The book has already exceeded my expectations
3.) I am enough
In business and in life and marriage, the hardest work we will do is on ourselves. Job #1 is taking care of ourselves so that we can bring whole, complete people to everything we do. You are enough already. Just as you are, right here and now.