My wife and I are nearing the 50th anniversary of our marriage.
We’ve chosen, as often as reasonable, to drive to a special place near where we live to watch the sunset behind the Rockies. We have a full view, from Pikes Peak above Colorado Springs to the south, all the way north to Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. Every moment spent in that spot, together, is cherished, whether in loving silence or generously talking out whatever is on our hearts.
It is here, consciously, unconsciously, our conversation is often emerging from one, or more, of the 8 Dimensions of Leadership Design Group’s Whole-person Mentoring Model. This gives us a mutually agreed upon foundation to bring both concerns and joys to the necessary conversations. This model, about living life to the full, is an entry into our tomorrows…for however many more years that may be our daily gift of life together.
One of several deep joys in my own life is walking with a couple toward their marriage moments, and a life together. This specialized focus, this pre-marital work, using LDG’s mentoring model sets us up for sincerely exceptional conversations that explore the uniqueness of each other’s lives as they make commitments from the depths of who they are. Each couple is guided to form their own focused and sacred pathway into their future, individually, and together.
An exercise I take these couples through is putting 8 scraps of paper, oner per life dimension, in a small bowl and let the pending bride and groom draw out those papers one at a time. At random, what that provides is a list of the Circle of Life Dimensions that we will focus on for each partner. Rarely do all 8 come out in the same order.
Next, without letting each other know, just yet, the order, I ask them if the random choosing is good for us to go through, or would they like to retool the order, with whatever is going on in their own heart as they focus on their marriage. Whether it’s a girl or guy happening, I don’t know, but women will often rearrange what they draw out. Men will often indicate that they will live with the order of the draw.
However, almost all couples, as we get into exploring each dimension, will carefully begin to listen and interact with their thoughts, not just for themselves, but for their future lives together. The dynamic has a quiet mystery to it that takes them deeper than they had expected to go.
I will begin these times together with these, or similar, questions that help me listen for their core beliefs about marriage:
What is it you really believe to be true about marriage?
What is your understanding about the purpose of marriage?
10 years from now,
if we can look back over the first decade of your marriage,
paint a verbal picture for me of what you hope we will see…
Listening carefully, (…remember, the best of mentors do at least 3-5 times more listening than talking…) I begin to help them create a pathway into their own future. This is where the 8 Dimensions, in no particular order, begin to be explored. Creative, focused, listening is crucial.
In random order we have…
Family and Marriage
It is here on our website that you can find suggested brief definitions. But before you go there, ponder on your own for a few minutes what are the words, phrases, thoughts that you, personally, would give to each dimension before hearing what someone else might say.
As I’ve the privilege of training and mentoring those who mentor, I suggest that it is crucial that we mentors need to also be pondering what we suggest what others do. Even chasing 50 years of marriage, my wife and I need to often keep these dimensions in mind as we grow, day by day, into our own lives.
Watching the sun set tonight over the Rockies, reflecting over the day, processing forward into tomorrow and for our future life together, for some reason the wedding scene from the musical Fiddler On The Roof began to play in my mind. Coming back to my home office here is what I found, where you even see the sun setting as that village of relatives and friends gathers to bless this couple:
Marriage, in every culture, across the world, across varying religions, has it’s simple to grand traditions. Some elope. Some wait for awhile before making this lifetime commitment. Some choose to remain single, and that is sincerely OK.
However all of us, you, me, all those we know from across the globe…all of us need to be continually aware of how fully we are living our lives in all of these proposed 8 Dimensions of a Whole-life. You are worth that…heading for marriage…married…or not married.
So much more can be suggested here as I type this tonight. That is part of why LDG is here to help you think this through, as a mentor, as a mentoree. I will welcome your questions and comments.