ALL IN – Episode 31

Erik and Emily Orton co-authored the popular book SEVEN AT SEA. I put the book on my list of books to read in 2020.

But today Erik and Emily talk about the seas of marriage – traveling together, raising children together, experiencing marriage together.

And they started the conversation discussing trust – trust in each others intentions, specifically. Especially if there is any contention, or any unrest – whether it is between the two of us or within just one of us. Trusting each others intentions is a game changer.

“I always know that (Erik) is going to listen. I feel safe coming to him with all my imperfections and my ugly things, he always comes back to my intention. ‘I know that you want to do what is right. I know that you love our children.’ And every time I fail he draws my attention back to my original intention. And knowing that he believes that goodness about me, makes it possible for me to say, ‘Can you please help me with this ugly or embarrassing thing about myself.'”

Practice trusting each other’s intentions. And in our marriage – in Bryant and my marriage? What does that look like? When Bry re-loads the dishwasher after I just loaded it: I know he wouldn’t intentionally hurt me or make me feel inferior. He loves me. He wants to make my job easier. Or when Bryant stays late at work: I know he’d prefer to be home with me and the children rather than at work. I am grateful for his commitment to us, and his commitment to his career.

Something like that, right? What does me trusting Bryant’s intentions look like? It looks like me choosing my thoughts, giving him the space to come to me with his “ugly” or his “embarrassing” or his “imperfections”, but also with his hopes and his dreams and his aspirations and his desires, because he will know that I see and believe the goodness in him.

Let’s move on, while still staying with “trust”. What about trusting the inspiration that your spouse has … say, to live on a sailboat for 10 months with your five children? Ha ha! Or to move to London. Or to buy horses.

“When the idea (the inspiration) happens, that is not the time to start squashing it (with questions).”

Then Emily quotes Mary Poppins: We are on the brink of an adventure, children, don’t spoil it with questions.

“That’s the time to validate… If it is a bad idea, it will implode on itself… I have made my default response to be support – I believe in you.”

We tend to ask ourselves, and sometimes our spouses, to consider carefully, WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

What if we start with, WHAT COULD GO RIGHT?

“If it’s just avoiding risks, that’s fairly limiting. Where as, if you can open up your mind and your heart to the possibilities of success, and all the things that could go right – the number of things that could go right is usually unlimited – it normally tips the scales.”

I want to finish this post by sharing a principle that I think is very important. Take adventures – yes! But start these adventures already strong. Do not use an adventure to solve your marital problems.

This applies to having children, right? Don’t get pregnant because you think it will heal your marriage.

This applies to getting married in the first place. Start the adventure of marriage already strong – strong individuals, strong self-esteem, strong purpose.

Remember Will Smith?

“We came to realize that … we were choosing to walk our separate journeys, together. Her happiness was her responsibility. My happiness was my responsibility. And we decided that we were going to find our individual internal private and separate joy, and then we were going to present ourselves to the relationship and to each other, already happy. Not coming to each other begging, with our empty cups out, demanding that she fill my cup, and demanding that she meet my needs.”

Will Smith

He calls it asking someone to come and “satiate your ego-deficiencies”. Coming into a marriage with an empty cup – starting any adventure with an expectation that this person or this adventure will finally make you happy – is not the way to start an adventure.

Can you imagine starting an adventure ALREADY happy? ALREADY madly in love with yourself, with your spouse, with your life?

Bry will ask me, when we are looking at another adventure, Are we running away from something or are we running toward something?

In being on that adventure, whatever it may be,”we learned more about ourselves, and about each other”. How beautiful to start from a place where we are open to those learnings.