Marriage

by Ron Potter

My wife and I have been married for fifty-three years.  It’s wonderful and rewarding but it’s not always easy.  It takes hard work.  I get upset by our media that tries to convince young people that if they just marry the right person, they’ll be happy.  When those difficult bumps in the road happen with that attitude, your first thought is, “I guess they’re not the right person for me because I’m not happy at the moment.”  Who (or what) you’re married to speaks volumes.

Who or What Are You Married To?

Over 40 years ago I hired a young man who had just graduated from university and had become very skilled at coding and writing software.  He was a wizard.  He could code on a computer screen faster than I could read it as it scrolled up.  An amazing young man.

I try to give him a call about once a year just to catch up and hear a little bit about his life.  He knows my family and my two daughters in particular because he used to invite them over to his home to play on his grand piano.

When I talked with him a couple of weeks ago he mentioned something about his girlfriend.  I stopped the conversation right there and asked more about this person because he has always been single.

As I probed about having someone else in his life, he said, “You know me, I’ve always been married to my work.”  That’s true, he always has been.  He started a company from the ground up, and has built it into a growing enterprise employing many people.  He has indeed been “married to his work.”

Who or What Am I Married To?

But after our phone call, that statement got me thinking.  Can we identify who or what we’re married to?  Yes, my marriage to a woman has produced children and grandchildren.  But were there other things I was “married” to—and what does that say about me?

As I began to reflect on that thought, one thing that came to mind was cars.  When we were married in 1969, I had a brand new (cheap) Pontiac Tempest.  There was nothing fancy about the car (rubber floor mats, straight six engine) but while I was getting married in the traditional sense, I was also getting “married” to the idea of always having a new car.  I have had a new car every three years (thanks to leasing) up to and through my current 2020 Buick Envision.  I love (am married to?) new cars.

For the last 30 years of my career, I consulted with corporate leaders around the world.  We built trust, got comfortable with each other, and talked about any and every topic.  I loved that work.  I was married to consulting with executives and would go anywhere in the world to help them.  I sacrificed other parts of my life because I was “married” to that work.

Boundaries

As a side note, there was one time when an executive I was working with in London asked me to come over and work with him and his team right now.  It was one of the few times I said No.  He tried everything to get me there but I said my daughter was getting married on Sunday and I was not going to be away.  I said I was sorry and we hung up the phone.  However, a little while later, he called back and asked if he got me a ticket for the Concorde on Monday morning, would I be willing to fly over and meet with him and his team Monday afternoon?  I said sure and I have great memories of flying on the Concorde supersonic jet.

Reflection

So I’ve been married in the traditional sense but I have also been married to my work and new cars.  I’m sure that if I spent more reflection time, other things would fit into that category.

I urge you to look at and reflect on your life.  Who or what are you married to?  Do you have things in the right priority?  Are you ignoring important things in your life because you’re married to something else?  No matter your age, should you and would you change priorities so that your life is in better balance than it is today?

This concept was new to me.  I would love to hear from you.  Share your experiences.  Tell us about getting priorities straight and how that has affected your life.  Let us know if you just came to the realization that you’re married to something else that is being a detriment to your love.

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