Over the last year, I've been working away from home more than I have for the rest of our married life.
It's not something that has happened by accident. It's the result of a conscious decision that Vicky and I jointly made. It's a decision we made for a specific reason and for a predetermined season, and as a part of the decision process, we weighed up the pros and cons as best we could.
So we agreed to move in this direction by honestly discussing and mulling over the details. We shared our thoughts about the different aspects and even how we felt about it. It's worth noting that while our feelings didn't rule the process, we did take the time to consider our emotional sense.
For us, talking to God about our plans is also a part of the process. So everybody who is responsible for our decision/s and directly affected by them had opportunity to have input into the decision. That's how true agreement is reached.
In the early years of our marriage I would talk to Vicky about things and deliberately focus on the points that I thought would lead her to the same outcome I wanted. That's deception. Gaining agreement by being dishonest isn't actually agreement at all. Inevitably the consequences of your decisions will reveal the truth over time. If you've been manipulative or deceptive, you will eventually have to face the music. It's not worth it.
Being in agreement has been one of the earliest and most important lessons we've learned along the way in our marriage journey. It's not always an easy process or a quick one, but coming to a place of agreement is essential.
Sometimes we are not completely on the same page. One of us may doubt some aspect of the decision or its projected outcome and consequences. In those cases we will ask ourselves questions like, what is the worst thing that could happen? Is it in line with our values? What is behind my reservations? Would the partner who initiated the opportunity benefit from me demonstrating trust in them in the face of some doubt?
Not every decision we make is a good one. We've had some massive fails, but because we do the work to reach agreement, we minimise the potential for resentment retaliation and, "I told you so's".
So how are we going with our current work decision?
Pretty much as planned and agreed. I can confidently say that, because our conversation didn't end at the initial decision. We are constantly evaluating and managing ourselves through it. In fact we have stepped up our alertness and deliberateness. I'll talk more about that in an upcoming post. Are we enjoying the separation? No, but we knew that going in.
So does absence really make the heart grow stronger? It really depends on you. For us the answer is a resounding "yes", but It ain't necessarily so. I have witnessed other couples drift into parallel lives.
One success key is starting in and staying in agreement.
Vicky & Steve Bolt
Started out as possibly the most clueless individuals to ever say "I do", but they are now enjoying their lifetime marriage journey through all the highs and lows. As a result, they have increasingly become an inspiration to marriages and those who desire to be in a healthy marriage.