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Matrimony Leave

January 11, 2011

It’s pretty common that people take time off of work for a honeymoon, after they have a kid, if a family member is dying or if they’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. But what if we took time off just to work on our relationships?

Ifeyinwa Offor Walker, a former VP of an educational nonprofit did just that. Instead of waiting until she popped out a baby, she took time off from her job to work on her young marriage.

“I took time off because as a recently-married, three-degree-holding, child-free, 29-year-old woman in New York, my priority is growing a solid foundation for my marriage/relationship with my husband,” she told The Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately, she received some negative responses. People haven’t been supportive of her decision and usually ask questions about if her parents are aging, if she has a terminal illness or if she just wants to be a housewife. All of this begs the question: Are our relationships really that undervalued?

Maybe. Nearly 40 percent of Americans think that marriage is obsolete and you’re more likely to get divorced than you are to have a college degree.

What all this points to is that we’re more likely to put effort into our jobs than we are to put energy into our relationships. We have tricked ourselves into thinking that romance should be easy, thoughtless and second-nature. We should marry our soulmates, who fall easily into our laps. We should enjoy all the same things, we should feel fireworks instantly and constantly, we should always be happy, we shouldn’t fight and we should be absolutely and unwaveringly certain that this person is THE person.

If that’s what we believe, we need a reality check.

And that’s what this blog is all about. Relationships don’t just fall easily into place. They have to be cultivated, nurtured and maintained. If we stopped putting effort into our jobs, we’d probably get fired. And if we stop putting effort (and time and energy and care and thoughtfulness and kindness and selflessness) into our romantic relationships, there’s no reason we won’t get fired – by our partners.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    January 16, 2011 2:50 pm

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. A wise woman I know (married and mother to 4) once said, “Most people just live by survival, and not purposefully with goals and intentionality.” We think that if its the right person then it will be easy and won’t require the hard work and maintenance. But it needs time and effort and dedication and maybe even some goal setting. It may not sound as romantic as falling head over heels for your soulmate, but it is necessary and completely worth it. And its reality! Thanks for your thoughts on this!

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