Your wedding vows are both the heart of your wedding ceremony and the foundation of your marriage. The best wedding vows are sweeping and fairly general formal statements. Each couple must choose their words and agree upon their meaning. Before you craft those vows, do some serious marriage planning. Determine how you and your partner will best balance your personal needs and your relationship realities in each of the ways in which you are intimate.
What does that mean for your mental intimate and how do you want to shape your wedding vows and your marriage?
If you and your partner tend to think differently about things, as in, if you have different styles of thinking about things, you have to work hard to develop good problem solving skills. Of equal importance is the need to develop a way to keep sharing your work and the things that are engaging your minds. It's easy, if your approaches to life and what interests you about life is really different, to begin to let things slide.
But the most vibrant marriages are just those marriages where the partners are actively interested in what their partners are thinking about. Learning to tell our stories so that they engage our partners is helpful. So is trying to view things from our partner's perspectives.
- What do you spend most of your day thinking about? (Really when was the last time you asked yourself that question?) What intrigues you? What makes people really interesting to us is when they think about different things than we do. And when we are interested in other people, often, not always, it's true, but often they get interested in what we're thinking.
- What interests you most about things? Is it the relationships between people or the mechanics of how something works? Or something else? Knowing what catches your attention will help you see both where your focus is and how you might expand that focus to include your partner. There are things about almost any subject that can catch our attention if they're presented to us in a way we can access them. Evincing sincere interests about our beloved's interests is a good thing, even if or because we bring another perspective to his or her thinking.
- Do you tend to reason through problems or feel through them? For the longest time it seemed as if reason were a much better problem solver, but we're now discovering that many arrive at the same place while using wild different processes.
- When you have a problem to solve, what are the angles you explore first?
- When someone comes to you with a problem do you tend to listen or do you move toward solving the problem?
- When you have a problem to solve, when you ask a friend to help, are you looking for support or a solution? This has a lot to do with how we process information. I have certain friends, and occasionally my beloved, with what I can not share problems immediately, because I have to work them out – out loud. They want to start solving problems while I'm still sorting through things. We can learn some different methods of interacting, and we can learn where our partners are most helpful and where and what we want to share with friends.
- Are you really interested in other people? The most interesting people spend time gathering other stories which they can then share. It's so fun to watch couples work parties on opposite sides of the room and come back together to talk animatedly about what they learned while they were apart. My sister and I popped into a restaurant to have dinner and encountered our parents, who at that point had been having Saturday night dates for close to 65 years. It was a revelation to watch their animated exchange. If there was silence and someone broke it, the other put down his or her fork and devoted full attention to the conversation. That's being interested in your partner.
My guess is, if you gather this information for your marriage Planning Binder today, and then keep adding to it, that this the area that will change the most. This is probably where we have the most ability to change ourselves along with our partners. So write this down. And then craft a wedding vow that pledges that you will continuously seek to learn with and from your partner. Be excited about who your partner is and what she or he thinks about. Tell the world. Everyone will envy your relationship. You will not lose interest in your partner. And your community will not lose interest in you!