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A Marriaging Curriculum

50 lessons





Lesson #1


/ in a nutshell /


It’s astonishing how we bring our best to our careers and our kids and even our hobbies, but frequently lack imagination and the drive to invest in our marriages.



/ unpacked /


Our lack of imagination and investment is the primary reason the state of marriage is so tenuous. It’s not the institutions’ fault. It has careless users.



“The knack of our species lies in our capacity to transmit our accumulated knowledge down the generations. The slowest among us can, in a few hours, pick up ideas that it took a few rare geniuses a lifetime to acquire.

Yet what is distinctive is just how selective we are about the topics we deem it possible to educate ourselves in. Our energies are overwhelmingly directed toward material, scientific, and technical subjects and away from psychological and emotional ones. Much anxiety surrounds the question of how good the next generation will be at math; very little around their abilities at marriage or kindness. We devote inordinate hours to learning about tectonic plates and cloud formations, and relatively few fathoming shame and rage.


The assumption is that emotional insight might be either unnecessary or in essence unteachable, lying beyond reason or method, an unreproducible phenomenon best abandoned to individual instinct and intuition. We are left to find our own path around our unfeasibly complicated minds — a move as striking (and as wise) as suggesting that each generation should rediscover the laws of physics by themselves.” 

We love this quote and the work of Alain de Botton as he is someone who cuts through to the absurdity of how we live, spending ridiculous amounts of money and time on all kinds of trivial things but investing so little in the one thing that most shapes our lives- our marriages and our emotional and mental health that undergirds this central relationship.

We own a wedding venue and have the privilege of witnessing the celebrations that inaugurate marriages, but it’s the stuff that enables marriages to thrive that dominates our thoughts. Over 20 years into our own marriage and experiencing various mid-life questions ourselves, we have done a lot of soul searching and combing through the literature on relationships. What we have learned more than anything else is that we need to keep learning. There is so much room for growth. And while learning does take effort, the ROI on this work is priceless.


The motivating force behind this content was personal. We want to have the best marriage possible. After so much reading and discussion, we started not only consolidating the information but organizing the various themes and dynamic processes in a particular order, as in our opinion there are prerequisites to the formation of a healthy relationship.



The following graphic illustrates the 5 core units this curriculum is divided into. The first involves some attempts at self-knowledge through diagnostic tools and surveys. The second furthers this work by spending significant time unpacking the hidden rooms in our hearts. Developing an interior life, or an interior awareness, is not for the faint of heart, but relationships flourish when we bring greater self-awareness into them. With increased self-understanding we can better negotiate our marriage relationship, moving us into the third unit—The solutions generator. Here we look at resources to help us not only share our deepest desires, but listen to our partner share theirs and discover ways to love each other through respect and compromise. Good relationships don’t run away from the conflict that is inevitable whenever two different beings enter a room, they learn healthy and loving ways to negotiate the conflict. The fourth unit is devoted to building habits that ensure you communicate well with your partner. This is very much an Atomic Habits applied to marriage approach, where we echo James Clear by insisting that just having good goals and intentions will never be enough. We fall to the level of our systems. As a couple, you need to build new and better systems that reflect where you want to go. Last, it takes a village to nurture the best of marriages, and so we talk about what it means for you and your partner to be truly connected to a supportive community.



















Marriages evolve because life is never static. You grow and change. So does your partner. These units are presented in a circular graphic to reflect the fact the marriaging well is a never ending process. The systems you put in place last year may need to be updated. Your partner’s hopes and dreams will change course, perhaps only a little, or perhaps a lot. Healthy marriages are built not just on kind communication, but consistent communication. Together, you course correct along life’s way.



/ the exercise /


Go back over your bank statements and figure out how much money you spent this last month (or year, if you are an ambitious numbers type) on dating your spouse or educating yourself to be a better partner (relational books, seminars, therapy, etc).

Take some time to compare the number you get with the amount of money you spend on other pursuits: sports activities, gaming, streaming services, ….


Next, calculate the time you spend intentionally enjoying your partner (date nights, outings you both are excited for, unnecessary activities you engage in together because they bring you joy, blocks of time you set aside for quality conversation, etc). How does this stack up against the amount of time you spend directly engaging your children, or pursuing extracurricular hobbies, or over-time at work?










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