M (Q1.6)


The transformative relationship between the Q and his wife

Man’s Marriage Is His Most Important Relationship

While Fitness is largely an inward-seeking endeavor, Fellowship is primarily outward-seeking. It is the sum total of a man’s relationships with his family, friends and Community, the people he will most directly IMPACT during his life. Keeping those relationships Accelerating throughout his lifetime takes as much daily discipline and attention as it does to maintain his waistline. In fact, Accelerating Fellowship requires more skillful effort from the Q because it necessitates collaboration with other people. Other people with minds, attitudes and objectives of their own.

The Q treats this skillful effort as a deliberate practice that he applies and seeks to improve upon each day of his life. To do so, he must first reject the Oprah Bomb that is “work-life balance” as the cultural bromide that it is. While the Q must work to provide for his family, his work is not wholly counter-balanced by the sum total of his other relationships—it is far less important than that. Moreover, the Q knows that no man can put into balance that which is largely outside of his control. Relationships are dynamic and ever changing. Only inert things, things that never change, can be measured through use of a scale.

Knowing this, the Q rejects the imagery of weight and balance in favor of a vision of his Fellowship as an array of concentric rings—like an archery target—which we call the Concentrica.

On his back, the Q carries a quiver of arrows that represent the finite time and energy he has been given in his life by a higher power that is outside of his control. Just as with the days of his life, he has no idea how many arrows he has been provided, so he shoots each as if it were his last, aiming at the center of his Concentrica in order to have the most IMPACT and avoid committing relationship malpractice.

The Q’s bullseye is the M, his relationship with his wife, the one upon which all of his other relationships are founded. The M is the Q’s transformative relationship because through it he becomes something new—legally, practically and spiritually. Before marriage, a man is an “I”, but afterwards he is an “us”. The Q aims most of his arrows at the M because if that fails, the rest of his relationships will fail as well.

King Solomon had the means and opportunity to test every single thing in his known world to discover the meaning of life. After a lifetime of experimentation, this was his conclusion: enjoy life with you wife, whom you love. The works of Solomon were mighty, unprecedented in their time. Yet by the end, he saw his accomplishments as nothing but meaningless toil under the sun. But a man’s wife, the one he loves, that is where Solomon believed a man should focus his energy. It is there that a man finds meaning.

Marriage is not easy; it is not supposed to be. But because he never quits practicing, the Q ultimately develop the skills he needs to enjoy life with his wife.

While every marriage is different, there are five tenets of universal marital Wisdom within the QSource that help the Q avoid relationship malpractice with his wife:

1. Maintenance Is Deceleration

*Movement is the action taken in furtherance of purpose

*Momentum is the sustained Movement that results from Acceleration

*Deceleration is the loss of Momentum

A man is either Accelerating or Decelerating in all of his endeavors and relationships, particularly with his wife. There is no other in-between state of nature as such as “maintenance”. If you think you are maintaining, you are actually Decelerating because there is no Status Quo . That is the myth of the plateau. Thus, the Q never thinks of maintaining his marriage. He always focuses on Accelerating it.

2. The Culture Is A Jester

The culture purports to embrace marriage, but in truth it is a hinderance to Acceleration. It breaths truthy-sounding lies like “my wife is my best friend”, and “we try every day to meet each other halfway”, and “we’re pregnant!” Why does our culture resort to Oprah Bombs when it comes to marriage? Probably because it doesn’t believe that anything so difficult can possibly be good.

3. There Is No Fifty Yard Line

Halfway is not good enough when it comes to the M. It is not a football game where husband and wife meet at the fifty yard line for the coin flip. The Q must drive the ball the full length of the field and stay in his wife’s red zone, regardless of whether she even breaks the huddle. To the Sad Clown focused on balance and fairness, this seems unfair and out-of-balance. Perhaps, but that’s what Acceleration requires when it comes to the M.

4. Your Wife Is NOT Your Best Friend

She is made for a much higher purpose. There is a pedestal in the life of the Q that is set out for his wife, and there is no room on it for his best buddy (that relationship is two more rings out on the Q’s Concentrica). Nor is a marriage a joint-venture between two friends in which man and wife have equal and identical roles. We may become parents, but it is she that is pregnant. It may be our lives that are changed by parenthood, but it is her body that is rearranged from the inside out, and her that spends nine months in a state of complete vulnerability during which the Q is to be her stalwart and constant protector. The Q does not let the culture confuse him. He knows his role, and it is nowhere nearly as important as hers.

5. Joy Trumps Happiness

The culture often uses Joy and Happiness interchangeably, but they are actually very different things. Happiness is a mere transitory positive feeling governed by fleeting external circumstance. Happiness is a full belly—it goes away when you get hungry again.

In contrast, Joy is not ephemeral. It is a permanent state of deep contentment that is unaffected by quotidian happenstance. Joy cares not whether a man’s belly is full or empty. It requires a long view, well past the toils and triumphs of any given day. The Q is a Joyful man under any and all circumstances because his vision is cast at beyond the day before him. His focus is on the end and beyond.

What do Joy and Happiness have to do with marriage? Simple, it is a lifetime pursuit. Anything designed to last a lifetime needs the pure fuel of Joy to grow and prosper. The short term warm and fuzzies of Happiness won’t do the trick. Happy-focused men give up on their marriages when the going is rocky, while for Joy-focused men those same rough spots are the precise time to double-down on Commitment.

Anybody can stay married on a full belly. But it is within the crucible of hunger where the true bond between man and wife is formed.

Marriage is a Team, not a Community. It requires Proximity and purpose to succeed. It transforms a man from a selfish Happiness-junkie into a selfless Joy-seeker. The Q knows if he fails at his marriage, nothing else he does will matter.

6 Replies to “M (Q1.6)”

  1. Great post, Dredd! I’d love to incorporate some of these concepts into my next Q (this Thursday); are you aware of any backblasts that might inspire me to put together a “Concentrica” workout?

  2. Good word Dredd.

    I’m curious about your definitions though. If we use the formula of concentric circles, growing deeper with our wives toward the center (which I would call the “Marriage Covenant”), would the outer circles not also apply, but in subservience to the inner circles?

    So, are these mutually exclusive — “the best friend” and “Spouse”? In my experience, the two build upon each other, much like the erotic (“eros” in Greek) love by which many of us came into relationships has to subvert to the selfless (“agape” in Greek) love by which we constantly offer ourselves for her and our 2.0s.

    I’m curious if you have a nuanced understanding of that or if it is the same. It is impossible to get from reading just one paragraph of what you wrote. Cheers!

    1. Aye Brother,

      I agree with you about the outer rings being subservient to the inner. If the M ring collapses, the rest do as well.

      My point about your wife not being your “best friend” is not that a man should not love his his wife in its different Hellenistic formulations (eg, agape, eros and philia), but that it’s unhealthy for a man to conflate his need for male fellowship (the “best friend”) with his marital relationship. A man needs both.

  3. With respect to point 3, a wise older man told me that I should be ready to sacrifice and commit to unconditional love before I entered into marriage. I remember his words often and it has served me well, especially during difficult times when my own self interest tried to become the center ring of the concentra.

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