Your marriage has the power of a great brand in culture. Today, we’ll dive deeper into the idea of work-shopping our marriage as a brand entity. Fun, right?
Let’s start with a quick definition. A “brand” doesn’t refer to simply the logo or creative presence of a thing. It’s the entire emotional relationship between a business, organization, influencer — literally anything — and the world in which it resides. Of course the idea of a brand is not confined to commercial businesses. Our towns and cities are active brands, with reputation and heritage and trajectory. Your family has a brand amidst your neighborhood, school and church, created by the sum total of your family’s presence, action and impact over time. This experiment is to consider our marriage as a brand — a single entity with great impact.
A powerful brand has measurable value that creates significant
return on investment for its stakeholders.
When a brand wants to grow in a healthy way, we work to create a strategic brief. It’s an outline that captures core truths about where we are and what we need to do to reach our goals. Goals are good. In this part of the process we gather all the myriad perspectives of the brand from people who have encountered it; those who reject it, adore it, or only barely know it. We listen with open minds and a posture to learn.
It’s not always easy. Very often the internal realities are not how the brand wants to be known in the world. Politics, sloppy workmanship, poor team morale, ignored customer feedback, shareholder or board pressure. To succeed, we need to excavate and bravely face down these truths.
What would our community say about our marriage? What do our kids and family experience? What do our neighbors and colleagues observe? Do we speak about our spouse in positive ways that fortify not only the external reality but also change our insides?
It’s true. Just like smiling can lift your own heart, speaking positive words about our spouse to them and to others actually changes us for good. Can you and your spouse face this work together? I’ll bet that you’d hear feedback that would surprise you — perhaps even inspire you.
Here’s the BEST PART! One of the greatest moments in my work with clients is helping them re-connect with their original passion, the deepest calling that inspired them to launch in the first place. Or maybe it’s a new direction that is freshly inspired by the original truth, advanced and matured. This truth is always there, sometimes buried and distracted by temporary burdens or bad habits. But this work helps a brand re-discover it’s core purpose, either from its beautiful origins or toward an exciting, new pivot.
If we workshop our marriage, will we willingly look at the truths of our current situation so that we can set a real course for growth; even richer joy? Because marriage is, after all, created by God not only so we can learn to truly love, but also for great cultural impact.
“As a divine institution, marriage has several inherent powers that we must accept and use — the power of truth, the power of love and the power of grace. As we use each power in the life of our spouse, we will help him or her grow into a person who not only reflects the character of Christ, but who also can love us and help us in the same way.” (The Meaning of Marriage, Tim & Kathy Keller)
CHALLENGE: Make a list of people you’d imagine asking for an honest reflection of your marriage, and write down what you’d think they might say. These should be people with real experience with you as a couple.
Extra Credit: Ask them! (we would do this anonymously in our workshop).
- Describe us in six words
- Please rate our closeness 1-5
- What do you admire about our relationship?
- What specific cautions would you give us if we asked for suggestions?
- How often do you hear us speak well of each other
(Always, often, sometimes, rarely, never)
— Marriage as a Brand, Part 1
— Marriage as a Brand, Part 3