Here's a search that lead someone to my blog:
"Musicians and marriage don't mix."
Obviously I don't know from where this person was coming in searching such a thing, nor what answers they were hoping to get. However...I will share what I do know.
- Marriage to a musician is much different than marriage to someone who is famous.
- Fame can mess anyone up.
- Some things that can help: a) each person in the marriage knows themselves, acknowledges their short comings and strives to change them. b) each person in the marriage knows their spouse, acknowledges their strengths and strives to help them overcome their shortcomings with patience and love. c) the couple has a strong foundation of loving friends and family that will stand up for the values that the couple holds to. This means keeping them accountable, this means the couple allowing themselves to be kept accountable and it means being sure to filter everything that comes from people who benefit from the fame (managers, record companies, marketing agents, etc.) through this foundation in order to weed out all of the inevitable crap that goes directly against the couple's value system.
- Don't get me wrong, all those things above are also essential for a non-famous musician or really every couple under the sun. However, fame tends to serve as an enormous source of pressure and, as with most things under pressure, whatever is under it begins to change. Over time with the right foundations a marriage can come out from under that pressure changed into a diamond. Without? Something more like oil...slippery, toxic and prone to catch fire. This is similar to marriage to a pastor or CEO or anyone else who's job comes with visibility and heavy responsibility.
- If you don't have a firm foundation of values and beliefs, be prepared, in any marriage, to be tossed about like a ship without a rudder when storms hit. And they will.
And now about musicians who aren't making a living at it quite yet:
It's really easy to try to peg male musicians as one personality type or another but it's just not possible. TV and movies show us two huge extremes: The lazy loser who's going nowhere and the hard working, win-at-all-costs type of guy. However, there are so many possibilities in the middle that trying to say that musicians are xyz and are not abc is rather fruitless.
Here's the bottom line. Every kind of creative outlet tends to attract creative, artistic people. Der. But here's the kicker: Creative, artistic people are just as often organized, driven and motivated as they are not.
So, if you're out there, frustrated at your boyfriend or spouse for being lazy and unmotivated or using his music as an excuse to not do anything else, your problem is not that you're dating or married to a musician. There are plenty of people out there who feel the same way about their boyfriend/husband's failing small business, car restoration project, failed attempts at home improvement, insert non-artsy thing a guy can fail at here.
The problem lies in a lack of a firm foundation of values and beliefs that are not only shared but pursued by each person in a relationship.
What do you value? Security? Hard work? What are your goals? Being a stay at home mom? Sharing the financial burden equally?
If the two of you are not clear on what each of you value in a relationship, if you are not clear on what you believe the purpose of your relationship is then you need to, in the words of Maria in the Sound of Music, go back to the beginning, which is a very good place to start.
I recommend going back to these basics with the help of a pastor or other spiritual leader, counselor, or even a trusted friend who has a relationship/marriage that you know is an excellent example.
My story in this endeavor, fortunately, is going okay because Brad and I have been extremely intentional to lay out plans based on our shared faith, beliefs and values.
Things had to get a little ugly, though, before we realized exactly how intentional we needed to be. We had to strike a balance between me needing to know the details of how each various possible scenario would look and Brad working so hard that he forgets to keep me informed of the details.
So now we've got a plan. Though it will be updated and changed as Brad's career changes, there are some things that are non-negotiable. The key is that the plan was decided by both of us with lots of discussion and compromise on both sides. Also, we have friends and family who know what our values are and in the event that we are faced with a decision on something they will help us make sure that we don't compromise in places where we shouldn't.
And this is what I hope for all of you out there searching for information on what being married to a musician or someone famous or whatever else. That you would understand that marriage cannot just be something the two of you do alone.
Okay, yes, there are a few things that the two of you should only be doing alone.
But making it work is not one of them.