I Do…Until I Don’t

I Do…Until I Don’t is the new movie written and directed by Lake Bell. She also stars in the movie. In it, a documentary film-maker has become jaded by thoughts of traditional marriage. She thinks it’s outdated [and she’s correct!]. Instead, she thinks marriage should last seven years with an option to renew.

The film-maker sets out to prove her point. She studies the relationships of three couples, of different ages, to see what happens. Bell and her spouse (Ed Helm) are one of three couples.

The movie itself didn’t get great reviews. Rotten Tomatoes only gave it one-and-a-half starts. Some of the commentary indicate that it missed it’s mark with reviews that said, “not much authenticity or insight into contemporary relationships,” and “like an R-rated episode of the cheesy anthology series “Love American Style.”

Personally, I’m disappointed. I was hoping that the movie would go blockbuster and people would start to see marriage in “chunks” instead of a life sentence. That’s how in should be!

In this modern age, with people living longer and nobody wanting to commit to things like long-term cellphone or cable contracts, it isn’t logical to think something as important as marriage could go on and on based on the dreams of a young couple who have no clue.

The Five-Year Marriage™ is the answer. It gives couples the time and space to live their lives and make adjustments through their five-year contract.

The Five-Year Marriage™ is launching on February 14. You can get your copy now.



Is a Five Year Marriage® a sin?

The Five Year Marriage® could be a sin, or at least be against the teachings of the Catholic Church. That’s according to “Rita” who teaches Catholic Pre-Cana Marriage Prep classes.

Rita read an advance copy of the book, Five Year Marriage® . After she did, Rita and I had an interesting conversation during which she vigorously disagreed with the concept.

Citing the Theology of the Body, based on the teaching of Pope John Paul, Rita conceded that she found a lot of “good stuff” outline in the Five Year Marriage® process. Still, she insisted, “it’s the same thing you could do in a traditional marriage.”

In one way, Rita is correct. If people ran their traditional marriages like a Five Year Marriage® , there would be fewer divorces.
However, the reality is this: THEY WON’T. Inherent in the Five Year Marriage® , is something very seductive. Because it’s “until death do you part,” you can be easily seduced into thinking you have “forever” or “the rest of our lives” to solve a problem or fix something that’s not working. So, when something is going wrong, it’s truly more comfortable to put it on the back burner.

Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t fix itself. Instead it gets worse, and the negativity around it festers. By the time that backburnered problem finds its way to the fore front, it’s like overcooked food. It’s too bad to eat and has to be thrown out.

The reality is that most human beings tend to do better with deadlines. Deadlines promote vision, stimulate action, and drive priorities and, as a result, push you out of your comfort zone and into your better version of yourself.

Part of the “magic” of the Five Year Marriage® is that you are on a deadline. That isn’t going to make your marriage problem-proof. Nonetheless the deadline (and the commitment that created it) will foster a mindset that is more likely to make you proactive. At the same time, it will make you less likely to settle into relationship-killing complacency.

So, is the Five Year Marriage® a sin or anti-Catholic/anti-Christian?

In Maine, Restarting the Book

Today I’m sitting in the living room of Windward Cottage#5 in Town Hill. I know this is vacation, but a lot happened recently about The Five-Year Marriage™ book, so I took the original manuscript (which I copyrighted in 1995!) with me to see what I want to do.

What happened is that I’ve been getting nudges to bring this book out of mothballs and do something with it. It started in 2009 when Professor Lisa Jobs asked my publishing group for a project for her publishing class at Rosemont College. Since Victory by Design came out last year, I was going to give the class that or something to do with Victorious Woman.

At the last minute, I decided to give them Five-Year Marriage™. I unpacked it from the box it’s been in since I moved in 1998. I found the original book proposal and from that put together the information Lisa asked for. I visited the class in late September and again in December. The class did good work and was encouraging. Also that year, journalist and author Helen Goltz wrote an article about the need for five-year marriage™. It was published around the world, including in the New York Time.

You would have thought that would have been enough to give a kick in the butt. It wasn’t. I was taking care of my mother and Joseph was taking care of his. I forgot about it.

In the past two years, I’ve had more nudges than I can count. A few weeks ago I had breakfast with friend and publisher Donna Cavanagh. She was pushy about getting it done.

So, here I am on the sofa, looking out at the beautiful Clark’s Cove. I just read a couple passages from the 1995 version. Joseph read them back than, but after 20 years, it was like reading them for the first time.

So…I’m restarting. Let’s see where the writing takes me this time!