Our refrigerators and cupboards are full of products with stamped expiration dates. Except for infant formula, dating these products is not a federal regulation. But, it is useful for stores and consumers to assess whether a given product is safe or unsafe for consumption. So, the ardent shopper checks that “sell by” date, especially on the perishable items like milk and eggs. This morning I checked the expiration date on one of my purchases only to learn that it had indeed expired. Should I eat it or throw it away? As I carefully inspected it to see if I was indeed edible, I began to think of the connection to marriage. How many couples are living in outdated marriages—going through the motions with freshness that has long expired?
The answer is “way too many”. It shows in the data. According to Dana Adam Shapiro’s research for his book You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married),very few married people are happy — he says about 17 percent. Another study reveals that a large percentage of married couples (~40%) say that they are not very happy in their marriage. It’s sad. For many of these couples, the relationship that started out with a sense of bliss and hopeful optimism has deteriorated into a functional partnership at best.
One study of 3000 couples identifies five top problems reported by these frustrated couples.
- Lack of spontaneity
- Lack of romance
- Terrible sex life
- No time to give each other attention
- Lack of time to talk
One-third of couples suggest things like the loss of romantic trips away, cooking of favorite meals, and the surprise bouquet of flowers as examples of their outdated marriages. These couples have allowed the proverbial “shelf life” of their marriage to diminish. It feels stale and distasteful.
This disappointing state of marriage reminds me of the biblical account of the Hebrew people during their wilderness experience after escaping the slavery of Egypt.
- Featured Presentation: Unleashing the Power of Your Relational Brand
- My Branding Specialist: Dick Bruso, Heard Above the Noise
You can find the full blog post on this topic at haroldarnold.com/relationalbrand
When people think of me, Dr. Harold, what comes to their mind? That is my brand.
My desire is that my relational brand conveys authentic engagement, genuine concern, and spirited hopefulness. But, given my nature, this will probably always be couched in the context of faith and pragmatism.
Ultimately, it isn’t very important that I have a lot of degrees. Though I’m proud of them, the awards that I’ve accumulated are just pieces of paper. The accolades that are so graciously directed my way make me feel good. But, if my relational branding is not conveying authentic engagement, genuine concern, and spirited hopefulness then I’ve failed.
God placed me on this earth to “Be the Brand” that he designed from the foundation of the world. Yes, I am a designer brand—not faux or generic. So are you!
It is important that I “Be the Brand” because others’ future depends on me walking in my design.
In my experience there five ways for each of us to be the original brand that we were designed to be.
Five Ways to Promote Your Relational Brand
- Mature Your Voice
- Share Your Heart
- Be Present
- Expand Your Circle of Influence
- Stay Consistent
It will not be degrees and positions that they remember about you when you are gone. It is not how much money you had in your bank account. What they will remember is your relational branding. That will be your legacy. So, go “Be the Brand” that you were designed to be. Others are counting on you.
In the comments below, describe what you perceive your relational brand to be. How happy are you with it?
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