Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos summed up his winning formula this week for changing the U.S. healthcare system in one sentence: “Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind and a long-term orientation.” When I read his comment I was like “Wow” because this can also be the formula for a lasting marriage. I had the long-term orientation when I married 23 years ago but various life happenings still stressed the relationship that we almost lost it. We “started” over with more focus long before Mr. Bezos’ statement but the method to our marital success resembles his success formula.
“Success is going to require talented experts.” Who was thinking about this when they got married? We were in love and that’s all we needed even though the pastor who married us was trying to give some vital guidance. However, when we don’t listen to those who’ve been there and done that, seen this and seen that, then time can be an excellent teacher. We needed his advice and those of others who had wisdom and not opinions about building a good marriage.
Marriage requires “A Beginner’s Mind” because you’ll soon learn it’s not just about you anymore . . . it’s now about you, your spouse and maybe even kids. We need to not only learn and respect each other’s opinions and habits but also learn to disagree in ways that don’t cause harm to the relationships. This point also goes back to Mr. Bezos’ first point in that we will need “talented experts” to help deal with certain relationship issues. With “a beginner’s mind” you’ll find there are experts as well as couples who have learned how to handle the same issues that you may be experiencing for the very first time. Be open to learning, implementing and monitoring ideas that bring the most joy into your home.
Finally, having “a long-term orientation” helps in many ways. If you’ve committed to spending the rest of your life with someone, work to make your relationship the best it can be by making it fun and enjoyable. This will be different for each couple and at times different for each individual within the relationship but it doesn’t have to cost much at all. Do not burden your relationship by going over budget for eating out when quality time together can be accomplished by a hand-holding walk in the park. You will still have crazy days, but the understanding that this is a life-long commitment should make you want to push through the disagreements, put aside your pride and get back to a place where you can enjoy each other and the success of a lasting relationship.