Changing the Conversation
I just had a thought. It’s a grand thought. But a doable one. When I began HWC in 2010, it was meant to be an antithesis for a world fascinated by divorce, one that seems to be okay with dysfunctional portraits of marriage being portrayed as the norm in nearly every form of media, and has made walking away from a lifetime commitment after just a few months acceptable.
It wasn’t the report by Pew Research or subsequent articles like this one in the Washington Post reminding us of the cost to society when marriages decline. My purpose was far more simplistic. It was the disgust I felt in the pit of my stomach every time I watched a television ad for Desperate Housewives or each time Bravo television rolled out another “Real Housewives” series which depicted the poorest of marriages as normal and turned wives into caricatures.
It came from a desire to know the marriage I’ve enjoyed all these years is not extinct. That it’s not an anomaly. I wanted to know I wasn’t the only one who didn’t feel like marriage was supposed to be difficult; a daily grind. I hoped there were other women who loved marriage as much as I did and adored their husbands as much as I still do.
But yesterday morning, on the first day of the new year, I had a thought. I shared it with Keith. What if, in every corner of the world, there were women like me? Women who were proud of their marriage and didn’t boast or brag about it to others but simply didn’t hide it. In conversations when other women were male bashing, rather than shrinking back and remaining silent, spoke up about the beauty of men and the blessings of our differences.
What if one million women, around the world, decided they were going to change the conversation within their inner circles? They wouldn’t disregard the challenges many of their girlfriends are having but would simply take the time to show the other side. The good stuff.
I believe in the power of words. I believe if you wake up in the morning and say you are going to have an extraordinary day, it happens. I believe when you not only set a goal but are determined to achieve it and will not allow your mind or words to say otherwise, you will succeed. I believe a man is exactly as he thinketh.
I’ve watched it happen right before my eyes. Girlfriends who have loathed their marriage and had nothing positive to say about their husbands, decide to do nothing different but focus on the good. When speaking to their girlfriends and family, they’d only share the good stuff. I bet you can guess what happened over time.
They began to experience more of the “good stuff” until that’s almost all there was remaining. Of course, they still have some ups and downs, but that is a natural part of life. Every aspect of life. But they’ve changed the most important relationship in the world, they’ve increased the bond with their partner for life, their husband.
Just one simple change: their mindset. And with one simple adjustment: their words. They’ve completely changed their marriage. Every bit of it. Can you imagine what would happen if our Club grew to 1,000,000 members who all changed the mindset of just one friend? Who through sharing their own experience in marriage, were able to convince one friend to focus on the good? To get them to do something I once heard said, “Write a list of ways that you have benefited from being married to your spouse. Then write a list of your spouses positive patterns and qualities. Keep adding to the lists and reread them frequently.”
In doing this, we will be changing the conversations of at least one million more women who will change the conversations of another million women and the conversations changed will be endless. And then the stats we’ve heard for the past 25 years, some of which are quoted below, can also change. Not just in the US, where these quotes originated, but around the globe:
- “The effects of the decline of marriage on society are striking. The failure of parents to marry and stay married leads to more crime, poverty, mental health problems, welfare dependency, failed schools, blighted neighborhoods, bloated prisons, and higher rates of single parenting and divorce in the next generation. Nearly every major social problem has deep roots in the failure of adults to form and sustain healthy marriages.” -Bill Doherty, 2006
- “You need only do three things in this country to avoid poverty – finish high school,
marry before having a child, and marry after the age of 20. Only 8 percent of the families
who do this are poor; 79 percent of those who fail to do this are poor.” -William Galston, White House Administration
- “The collapse of marriage is the principal cause of child poverty in the United States. . . Overall, some 80% of long-term child poverty in the United States is found among children from broken or never-formed families.” -Robert Rector, 2003
- “The United States Administration for Children and Families (ACF) spends $46 billion per year operating 65 different social programs. If one goes down the list of these programs… the need for each is either created or exacerbated by the breakup of families and marriages.” -Wade Horn, 2004
As Diane Sollee, founder of Smart Marriages once said, “They say it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village.”
Together, let’s change the conversation. I’m in! We may not get to 1,000,000 wives in 2012, but with the current ongoing trend of 150-300 new women joining this Club daily, we’ll get there. And with you continuing to spread the word, we’ll get there even faster.
So here’s my question for you: Are you in? Will you help us change the conversation about marriage around the world?
Until tomorrow, my friends…make it a great day!
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