Confession: there’s something about weddings that bugs me.
There, I said it. I know, I know, marrying people is part of how I make my living. So it’s kind of scary to put this confession out there. But I am realizing it’s extremely important to put it out there. And here’s why:
Weddings are amazing occasions – wonder-full occasions. We pour our hearts and souls into them. We spend hours planning and preparing for them. We invest a chunk of change into them. And that is all well and good. But what bugs me is when we are encouraged by mainstream society and the “wedding industrial complex” to throw all our energies into planning our weddings, without throwing at least equal energies into planning our marriages.
Weddings are not the end result in and of themselves (though doesn’t it feel like it, at the end of the day, when the last guest has gone home and you get to put your feet up and take your hair down?) Your wedding, at its best, is a symbol of your union. It symbolizes the joining of two lives, the purposeful converging of two paths, the agreement to chart your course together. And once the wedding is over, it’s the marriage part where things can get really interesting.
Imagine a marriage full of purpose, a regenerative marriage, a marriage in service to the world. How can you use this partnership that you’ve created and nurtured to restore the world to “a better, higher, or more worthy state”?
Here are my 5 steps to creating a purpose-full, regenerative marriage (based on the permaculture design process):
Step 1: Create a shared vision: Spend some time with your partner clarifying your shared values (bonus by-product for those planning weddings – this can be of huge use for making your wedding personal and true to yourselves). From there draft your vision statement: your vision for partnership/family and your vision for world. Don’t get bogged down in wondering if your vision is realistic. It’s important to know what it is you really want for yourselves and for the world. Leave the figuring out how to make this vision a reality for the later steps.
Step 2: Develop a deep and full understanding of your current situation: Once you know where you want to go (towards your vision, of course!), it’s important to really know where you’re starting from. What resources do you have access to (financial, social, experiential…), what privileges and oppressions pertain to you, what opportunities are around you, what challenges?
Step 3: Creatively design your life to align with your values and embody your vision: When it comes down to it, most of us have lived on autopilot up until now. We’ve done what we were told to, we’ve stayed in the boxes society tries to fit us in. Now is the time to think outside of the box, look to mentors and trailblazers, and research possibilities. Apply your thinking and knowledge to design the life you and your partner dream of, the life that aligns with your values and expresses itself in service to your vision. Look at all the elements of a life, including: livelihood, relationships, community, mind and spirit, shelter, transport and tools, water and food, and health.
Step 4: Start making changes!: Take a first step towards implementing this life you’ve designed. It will probably be scary. It may be embarrassing. Good thing you’re doing this TOGETHER with your partner! Gather support from your kindred spirits, hold hands and jump in by implementing some of the elements of your whole life design!
Step 5: Evaluate: Give the changes you make a little time to settle. And then take stock. How are things working out? What do you need to tweak, change, stop or start doing? Has your vision shifted? If so, rewrite it. Have your circumstances changed? Re-assess your situation. Is your life design not getting you where you want to go? Figure out why and do what you need to do to get on the right track.
So, what do you think? If any of this has piqued your curiosity, you might be interested in the new Whole Life Design e-course and coaching offerings my husband I have put together.
And, as always, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.