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In the movie The Marriage Contract, a couple receiving premarital counseling is told that they should prepare for marriage as if they were starting a new business. The goals, roles, rules, and expectations should to be clearly understood before the two parties sign on the dotted line. This is not to discount the importance of love, affection, or romance; those things matter, but in reality, two people coming together in a marriage are actually starting a joint business venture.
A marriage has to be managed, nurtured, and protected, just like a business. The two people in the marriage become the managers responsible for jointly attending to those things that keep the marriage strong and healthy. Where people mess up is that they aren’t committed to managing the marriage. They can deal with the “fun” stuff, but don’t want to deal with the “hard” stuff. Guidelines about how the marriage will operate aren't discussed. Expectations aren't expressed. When there is no commitment to manage; when there are no clearly defined rules and roles; when expectations aren’t clear, the marriage has no structure and its effectiveness diminishes.
Marriage can be one of the most fulfilling things you ever do in life. To share your days with someone who truly wants to share their days with you can bring you the most joy that you will ever experience. But if there is no commitment; if both partners aren’t “hands-on” in managing the marriage, it will soon cease to exist; just like a business.
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