After doing all that wedding paperwork, you may as well get on the same page. Writing a marriage vision statement will help keep your shared ideals front and center as the living room is slowly overrun by golf equipment – last count 53 clubs plus bags and accessories – and/or when your wife gets laid off and commits to writing – a vocation as lucrative as golf is cheap.
Writing for Forbes, serial entrepreneur Patrick Hull offers a succinct definition of a vision statement: “What’s your vision for your company? In an ideal world, what does your company want to do and how is it perceived by others? What’s the best you can be?”
How can we apply this formula to our most important legal partnership? When sitting down to negotiate the language, whether before the wedding or deep into a rebranding mission years later, it’s vital to keep author (and true Blank Canvas thinker!) Simon Sinek’s “the golden circle” in mind. His brilliant Tedx Talk explains how the most inspirational visions for success (business/leadership/etc.) are rooted solidly in the ‘why’ – with ‘how’ and ‘what’ being respective peripherals. “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
Interestingly, Christian marriage statements come closest to this root ‘why’ (and are worth checking out), while most companies still tie vision, at least officially, to the outer rings of the circle. Let’s try writing some practice marriage vision statements using the template of preexisting statements.
Heinz (c. 2005): “To be the world’s premier food company, offering nutritious, superior tasting foods to people everywhere.”
Becomes… To be the world’s premier marriage (nothing like setting the bar high), offering nutritious food, love, and superior sex to people within a very exclusive demographic.
Avon: “To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service, and self-fulfilment needs of women – globally.”
Avon’s vision statement doesn’t really need any tweaking, just change the last word to “in-house” and we’ve got a deal! Although my husband might disagree.
Honda (c. 1970): “We will destroy Yamaha.”
Becomes… We will destroy any interloper who tries to flirt with our 100% marital market share, even if they have bigger headlights or longer drive shafts (can’t imagine!).
I asked my Viking man to brainstorm some ideas, a risky business since, as I’ve mentioned before, this is not a Cosmo quiz or ‘cuddle jar’ type of guy. Splayed on the couch in the flickering glow of some widescreen ball/puck/net situation, he looked up mischievously at his dear wife of almost 12 years and said, “Bitches should be seen and not heard – that witty enough for you?”
Seeing the devilish grin on my face, he panicked, “Wait! You can’t put that in there!”
Because, dear readers, as I gently reminded him, “I’m a writer and anything you say can – and will – be used against you.”
But being the man I married, he still managed to get the last word. “People just don’t appreciate that sort of thing in this day and age – too sensitive.” Sigh… men, especially ruthlessly sarcastic men, however cute.
So back to the drawing board and Simon Sinek’s ‘why’.
Cymbria & George’s marriage vision statement: To explore and expand our (including but certainly not limited to sexual) potential through mutual support, respect, and freedom, as an expression of our faith in the abundance of love.
But really, maybe it’s so much simpler than that. Maybe we all just need to go back to the vision statement that inspired Disney for years, and keep it short and sweet.
Disney: “To make people happy.”
Revised mission statement: “To make each other happy – Amen!”
I would love to read about your own marriage vision statements. Care to share in the comments below?
Catch up on this Blank Canvas Living blog serial…
Change the game this Valentine’s Day
And stay tuned for the next post…
Writing a mission statement