What happens when your story changes?

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About Corey

Corey writes regularly about marriage and relationships on his site, Simple Marriage, which is full of laid back information sure to improve your relationships.You can also catch his radio show - Sexy Marriage Radio, a weekly show filled with straightforward and practical information that will help your marriage.

Hey babe… What if next summer we set off on an adventure as a family and travel around the country in an RV for a year or two?”

“I could see us doing that,” my wife replied.

A couple of hours later my wife comes to me. “There has to be a bigger reason to do this. Simply traveling the country to see things doesn’t feel like enough.”

I thought for a minute. “What if we use this opportunity to take Simple Marriage on the road and meet people, hear other people’s stories, and maybe spread a healthy marriage message?”

A big smile appears.

This conversation took place late last year and launched us on a path toward a great adventure.

By the following week, we had a lead on a truck and fifth wheel. By the end of the year we owned it. In February our house was on the market, routes were being discussed, homeschooling information was being researched, and all our extended family had heard about our great adventure.

While we still hadn’t announced our plans on a large scale, everything was in motion.

Fast forward to today—I’m writing this while sitting in my home, having sold the truck and fifth wheel a month ago. Our kids are in school. My wife is still working her same job and I launched a second website yesterday.

What happened?



Photo by Nicholas T

There were many things that led us to the decision to stay. The main thing we discovered is that with any adventure, dream, plan, or goal of any significant size, you reach a point where you must decide to go all in, or not at all.

I have a feeling that many “lifestyle design types” will say we caved or gave up on our adventure. You may have said that to yourself as well.

I look at it this way: we reached a point where we had to decide to take a complete leap of faith and just go, or be good stewards of what we had and modify our plans.

We opted for the latter. Does this mean we failed?

Not to me. We learned that life, and marriage, really are what you make it.

You don’t have to live life according to how everyone else does or expects—even if that means you don’t go on the adventure or don’t start that company.

You can help create the life you want. You can take a chance, and toss your expectations into the ocean and live fully alive in your present situation.

As Tsh said this summer, life really is a story. So are relationships.

According to Robert McKee, all that’s necessary for a great story is a character you care about (that’s you), conflict (that’s marriage, relationships, work, giving, service, kids), and a resolution to the conflict (achieving a goal, raising your kids, dating your spouse, shipping the product, creating the artwork).

You can create a great story right where you are.

  • Perhaps that means you need to change course or alter your plans.
  • Or you need to do your job better.
  • Or you need to find a different job.

Whatever you need to do, move into your story and be a good character in the telling of it.

Being flexible and changing plans when it’s warranted doesn’t make you a failure, especially when you remain a good character in your story.

Look at it this way—there is only one you in the entire world. And no one can tell your story better than you.

Tell it by living it to the fullest.

Be passionate with your spouse. Play with your kids. Create something great for others. Give of yourself to those around you. Be more present in every moment of your life.

When you are more involved in living your story, everything else falls into place. As for me, our story has changed from adventure to mystery. And who doesn’t love a good mystery?

What has helped you when your story changes?

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. Beautiful… I can so relate to this in all aspects of my life. In fact, I JUST wrote about telling your own story on my own blog.

    “Tell it by living it to the fullest”. Well said…

  2. Hi Corey,

    This was truly inspiring. My father’s words help me when life seems to take a surprising turn: You are a masterpiece created by God – He will guide the brush, but you can choose the colors. I have always opted for colors like red and yellow! Sounds kinda corny, but I carry that visual with me and it helps.

    michele

  3. Thanks, Corey, for sharing your story! I think everyone struggles with the decision to go all in on a major change in their lives. And it’s even more of a challenge with when you have a family to think about. But, I’m with you – live your story no matter what the circumstances. The key word being LIVE!!!

  4. I’ve had to learn that your life is your own & there isn’t a one right way. Growing up, I thought that if I did the ‘right’ things- get good grades, go to college, get a good job- that life would be good.

    Now I see that what really matters is that you are happy with your contribution. We can’t always control life’s direction, but we can work on our attitude and what we put out into the world.

  5. I like that you said your story changed from adventure to mystery. That is so true. Sometimes we go through life picturing how our story will play out and it’s all adventure or all romance or all comedy, but in the end, we have a bit of everything. It’s not like you’ll never go on a big adventure, someday you will find something to “go all in” on, just like we all will. We’ll all have a bit of tragedy, a bit of comedy, a bit of romance, and a bit of heartache, and we’ll be better for it.

  6. I just forwarded this to my kids because it is such a good thought for anybody. Thanks!

  7. Thank you for sharing your story, and wisdom.

  8. Having read Robert McKee’s excellent book on Story, I was drawn into this post from the very beginning. Thank you, Corey, for providing this timely piece. I needed to hear it and I thank God you were listening. I have a feeling I will be sharing this one with lots of people and maybe even refer to in on The Romantic Vineyard.
    Blessings to Simple Mom too, for inviting Corey to share. I am grateful!
    Debi

  9. Beautiful words. Definitely something my family can relate to at this very moment – we found out last weekend we had a miscarriage. I expected this post to be about going on that adventure or starting that new thing but it wasn’t. It’s exactly what my family is dealing with right now – going back to a previous plan and making that one glorious.

    As long as we are living life to the glory of God it doesn’t matter what the plan is.

  10. My story looks SO much different than I had imagined (or than it would have looked had I been the sole author :) 10 years ago we adopted 6 children, on top of our 5 biological kids, and expected smooth sailing, with plenty of provisions and support. While I’m glad we were courageous (and tremendously naive) enough to embark on the journey, my biggest struggle is trying not to look back. I start to drown when I get sucked into the “what if’s”. When I focus on living the story I’m actually living, then I feel the confidence to survive and (maybe even, …. please Lord!) survive.

  11. this minute to the next, we are not the same people. we’re constantly changing and the circumstances around us as well. so there’s no shame, no failure in changing plans. anyone who judges you poorly for this isn’t aware of their own lives to see that it’s happening to them too. good luck on whatever you do.

  12. So interesting.
    I so often fantasize about my family leaving home and traveling for a year. And I ask myself, why? And the answer is always something like: to simplify, to shake things up, to learn and grow and spend more time together as a family.
    And the truth is, we love our home, our urban homestead, and the surrounding mountains. We’re so connected to place and there’s no reason we can’t work on all those “goals,” right here at home.
    Thank you for your story.

  13. I loved reading this. I so needed to see this today. My husband and I have a few major decisions ahead of us, and it seems that life is just crazy busy right now.

  14. We totally spitballed this ourselves! Did. Not. Do. It. I just wrote this morning about marriage and life being whatever it is. Please read it if you get a chance and let me know what you think! I enjoy your one book and this blog A LOT. Now I have to look at the simple marriage, didn’t know about it?

    • Corey! Duh ( it is my nap time) just realized you are guest posting. Sorry…then you will like my post b/c it is about my hubs! Check out How to Get a Perfect Husband in 5 Steps….I bet you like that one even better! LOL!

  15. Our story? Live in intentional community with another family for a year or two.

    The *real* story? God gives us our dream house after 5 months of intentional community.

    As a community, we realized that some may think we failed or couldn’t stand each other. But WE know the real story, and what we could have done but decided to do instead. I find no shame in it and walk boldly in the new story God is writing for our lives.

  16. This is just where my husband and I are…deciding on whether it’s time for a course change. We want to live a really great story and be good stewards. It’s been challenging times for his business. We’ve been praying and seeking God’s wisdom.
    Thanks for sharing yours here. :)

  17. Wow! So encouraging! My husband and I made a HUGE turn in our story a year ago, and it is, too, definitely a mystery! But I am excited again after reading your post to really own our story! YAY!

  18. I have a quote that I read a few years ago that I have since made into my personal motto. It is “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever –Gandhi” This is how I live. I have lots of “plans” but no real plan. I just live each day without regret. You made the choice that felt right. That is all you can do. Life is truly a mystery. I have done many things that I would not have expected and certainly do not fit the norm but they were right for me. Our choices big and small make us who we are! I am currently living in my 28th home, a cancer survivor, mommy to a 10yr old & 1yr old, still married to my highschool sweetheart, college student, part-time writer, and completely happy! There is no shame in changing your mind and this is from the Queen of it! Thanks for sharing a piece of your life with us :)

  19. I agree that when we modify our plans, that doesn’t mean that we failed. It just means that the other things which are part of the whole got the nod instead of our own self-fulfillment or whatever we call it. As parents, we really have to take a step back and analyze the whole situation before making big, big steps. Our decisions will affect not just us but our children as well. Hope to read more of your posts!

  20. Awesome! I feel enlightened.. The most important thing is make our days more meaningful…

  21. We are definitely in the middle of a story change. Although we don’t know where it is headed yet. I actually just wrote about this on my blog. You know the saying when one door closes, another opens? Well, sometimes we have to wait in the hallway for God’s timing, and that wait can be tough!
    Great post!
    Bernice

  22. Great post. “You can create a great story right where you are” I love that. Life doesn’t have to be an incredible, 100 mph adventure every minute of every day. Find joy and blessings in the small stuff.
    Thank you!

  23. Honestly, I could tell you all about our personal family dreams and how this relates to us (which it does), but I’m most struck by thinking of families I know that are in the midst of decisions. I often stand back and think about the course I see them taking and wondering how they came to decisions and where they are headed and how they could make, what seems like, 180 degree turns from time to time.

    This article really softens my spirit and reminds me to give allowances for everyone to move in the direction that God’s story for them takes…in the end it’s a beautiful story and there’s no pressure for it to make perfect sense until the last page is read. Even then it may not make perfect sense to me, and I am learning to live with the idea that I wasn’t created to be all-knowing! :)

  24. avatar
    erinnirish says:

    This is our story! In fact, a friend shared this with me thinking that my husband may have written it under a pen name. Thank-you for sharing your story! This comes at the perfect time for us ad has helped us to change our perspective. Here’s my blog… http://delorenzifrenzi.blogspot.com/

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