When we talked, I felt brilliant, fascinating;
she brought out the version of myself I like most.
Recently I learned that close friends of mine (not the couple in photo) are divorcing after twenty years of marriage. I was / am stunned. I had no idea. Not a clue.
This blog is about weddings and not divorces. About beginnings and not endings.
Yet, it’s been hard for me to write as I keep thinking on my friends – and on their wedding day.
I officiated their inter-faith ceremony down in Orange County – Laguna Beach way. I recall sharing with them and the other guests a memory from my time living in the South Pacific. I lived on an island in the Truk Lagoon. The people spoke Trukese and my favorite Trukese word is “Achengacheng.”
“Achengacheng” literally means anything that can be easily broken and it is also the Trukese word for “love.”
The wish I offered them during their wedding ceremony was that they would always be each other’s “achengacheng” and that they would always hold each other as precious.
Corny? Maybe! I like to think, though, that they tried – in more ways than I can imagine.
But how do you keep the love from “breaking”?
How do you honor the “achengacheng”?
There are so many ways, yet, I believe it all comes down to COMMUNICATION. As I stress in my pre-marital communication coaching –
The quality of your life is in direct proportion to –
The quality of the communication in your life
One night I grabbed dinner at my favorite local bistro. The staff knows me and brings me “the usual” without my having to ask. I was lost in a book when I happened to glance up and look across the room. Two tables lined the opposite wall.
At one sat a young couple in their 20’s, laughing, animated. And at the other table sat an elderly couple in their 70’s, talking, smiling. I thought – now here’s a dual snapshot of marriage. Except for the wrinkles, little differentiated the older couple from the younger. Both were smiling, talking and laughing.
The German philosopher Nietzsche claimed that, in its essence, marriage is one long, grand conversation.
A lifetime of hearty conversation is the surest sign of real love.
If marriage is a conversation –
Do you and your partner enjoy talking with each other?
Are you comfortable just being together?
Are there any topics that are understood to be off limits?
When I meet with couples to create their wedding ceremony, I give them the
following list of 10 Questions – to get them thinking and talking.
Perhaps a few of these will spark a new conversation between you and your partner.
10 Questions You Might Not Have Asked Your Partner
- When people speak of your wedding, what 3 words do you want them to say? What 3 words do you not want them to say?
- Is your wedding day a beginning or a touch point in your life together?
- What was the most moving, most joyful wedding you’ve attended? What do you want to be the most joyful moment of your wedding day?
- Is your partner your life OR does your partner give you life?
- Who are your role models for marriage? Why are they models? How realistic a model are they?
- What makes your partner worthy of your love? What makes you worthy of your partner’s love?
- What are your expectations of each other? Do your expectations make each of you the best you are capable of being?
- What is your biggest fear for your life together?
- What is your definition of success? As an individual? As a couple?
- On you 25th wedding anniversary, what would you like to look back upon?
At the risk of sounding corny –
Are you and your partner each other’s ACHENGACHENG?!
You can find more Conversation Starters in my book
How to Write Your Vows – Giving Voice to What Is Deep Within