The State of Marriage

August 16, 2009

Maureen_The State of MarriageThe State of Marriage by Maureen O’Doogan

I did this to celebrate the marriage of some friends. I asked them to tell me about their relationship – what they love about each other, what makes it work, what their obstacles and goals are, etc. – and then worked their answers into a map.

Here’s how it works: there are several peaks (such as open communication), and each has a path to it (for example, dedication), and each path traverses a steep section with an obstacle (like defensiveness).

The state (marriage) has two districts (named for each person)… notice that the boundary between the two districts is more open than the boundary between the marriage and the outside world. Within each person/district are “cities” that represent qualities of that person. There’s a network of roads within the district connecting the cities – a finer line – and then there’s a major road – sort of a psychological interstate – connecting the cities of the two districts.

The entire state is set on a grid of latitude and longitude lines (think the tropic of creativity, humanity, etc.), representing the context in which the relationship operates. A map isn’t complete without a compass: forward is love, backward is fear, on either side is persistence and compromise. I also included a “charter” which consists of their wedding vows.

From across the room, it looks like an antique map – but with the beautiful sheen of hand-dyed silk – and up close it’s a personal representation of two lovely people and their journey together.

One comment

  1. Beautiful! What a creative and unique gift. And the map is a wonderful analogy for a relationship. Great work!

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