Betting on the future of Marriage: The With These Rings Model
Most of us launch our marriages with promises spoken as vows that
somebody else has written. We repeat them as if we could not possibly
remember what they are or say them correctly if not prompted to do so.
We do this because it’s the custom of the day and maybe to reassure
ourselves that we know what we’re doing.
This marriage thing is a big risk and although we know it few of us
want to admit it. The English word wedding has its roots in the idea of
‘to make a bet or wager.’ It is a roll of the dice. And many of us
foolishly confuse the wedding with a marriage.
The wedding is a party for extended family and friends, an occasion
for receiving the anointing of the community (the license), and a
fantasy based on archaic romantic images. Weddings that do not
metamorphose into marriages soon fail.
So the question is, what good are vows and promises to a couple who
wish to claim their desire for a life long, vital and loving
The answer is not much if you do not know what a marriage is in the
first place and so have no idea what it will take to be successful.
Without a clear and inviting paradigm of marriage – a paradigm that is
lacking in our time – many of us will turn our frustration into judgment
of our partners. We knew our intentions were good. We felt love and we
believed we were doing the right thing, so maybe ‘what’s missing’ is our
In a just released book on marriage, With These Rings, Dr. Stephen
Frueh, a marriage coach, leadership coach and national speaker, offers a
fresh and innovative approach to ‘the marriage conversation.’
“I’ve interviewed hundreds of couples and spoken to large groups of
divorced singles. When I ask ‘who’s fault (divorce) was it?’ Most people
say ‘it was his / hers.’ We have 20/20 vision in “seeing the speck in
our partner’s eye” and are nearly blind at “seeing the beam in our own
But divorce or relationship failure can’t be weighed, for the most
part, in the criminal justice system model. Relationships don’t fit well
in a courtroom. Why divorce? With These Rings argues that it’s not as
much a failure of love as it is an absence of a compelling paradigm that
will sustain commitment over time.
If we don’t know what marriage is, our vows will sound like promises
‘to be good.’ If you’re a grown up, the quality of your relationship is
not going to be significantly affected three or four or ten years into
the marriage by a vow you made years earlier that wasn’t your own in the
first place and that had little conscious connection to what you really
were committing to.
The use of credit cards demonstrates the gap between hope and
delivery. Long after the shine has gone and the buyer enchantment has
faded we’re still making payments. We’ve forgotten the inspired moment
of purchase and are now dutifully making our payments.
Similarly our model of marriage, our vows and promises, our notion of
wedding, and our ‘honeymoons’ have little to do with the huge promise
available in the decision to marry and the consciousness it takes to
sustain enthusiasm for relationship.
The With These Rings model offers three ‘rings’ or domains hidden
just below the surface of relationship. These ‘rings’ are subsets of
relationship. There is a new basis for communication and for recreating
vows here that can become the working basis of healthy relationship.
Dr. Frueh believes we can re-invigorate, re-imagine and re-birth
marriage, offering a pathway for marriages that are marginal to become
lively, intimate and exciting once again.
Stephen W. Frueh PhD is a leadership coach working with executives
and executive marriages. He is a marriage coach, mentor, speaker and
writer and a professional member of the National Speakers’ Association.
With These Rings, Volume I was released April, 2007. A second volume on
competencies will be available in June 2007
Stephen is available for keynotes, interviews, workshops and private
consultations. He can be reached at:
Stephen W. Frueh PhD
805 527 2600
805 338 4286 (mobile)
Stephen W. Frueh PhD (Stephen@WithTheseRings.com)
With These Rings
15 Vista Lago Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Phone : 805-338-4286