Setting goals in a marriage is as important as setting
personal and professional goals. However, it is ironic that most people fail to
set goals for their marriage. They set goals for their career, finance, health
and they set goals to find their soul mate and get married.
Most people have the preconceived idea that once they are
married everything would be fine. All their problems would be solved and they
expect to live happily ever after on autopilot. This misleading notion may have
stemmed from fairy tales that indoctrinated us when we were young. We are all
familiar with the story of how the prince meets a beautiful girl, falls in
love, gets married and they live happily ever after. Unfortunately, it is not
as easy and smooth in the real world that we live in. Marriage requires work
and effort from both spouses. Although love plays a major role in the marriage,
that is only the beginning. It is
crucial that you make a conscious and continuous effort to make your marriage a
Statistics show that almost half of marriages in the United States
and other western countries end up in divorce. It is unfortunate that most
couples do not give their marriage the proper attention and nourishment it
needs to thrive. With the high rate of divorce it is obvious that you should
spend time and effort to make sure that your marriage is a success. Your
marriage should be your top priority. Do not just concentrate on your children,
career and finance and neglect your relationship with your spouse. Ultimately
your relationship at home with your spouse will determine how happy and
successful you are. If you are unhappy
in your marriage it will affect everything else in your life including your
happiness, health, career and business. On the other hand, if you are happy at
home you are more likely to succeed in everything else in life.
Of course when you are busy with your daily routine, it is
easy to forget to nurture your relationship. It is easy to forget to be
grateful for what you have. It is also easy to start criticizing your partner
when things to go wrong. If you are not careful this will eventually lead to
hostility and contempt and the end of your marriage.
Marriage does not have to be mundane and a struggle. So
what is the recipe for a happy marriage? To make sure your marriage thrives,
you should spend time planning your life together. Set goals for your marriage,
short-term as well as long-term. Reflect on what both of you hope to achieve
this year. Ask yourselves what you want to achieve in 5 years, in 10 years and
20 years down-the-line. If you set goals for your marriage you have a better
chance of making your marriage a happy and fulfilling one.
So what is your recipe for a happy marriage? So what are
your goals as a couple? How similar are your and your spouse’s goals for the
marriage? Start by asking yourself “What do I want out of my marriage?” and
“What do I want my marriage to look like in the future?” Spend an afternoon
together with your spouse putting your goals down in writing. Schedule time
with your partner to accomplish your goals together. Re-evaluate your goals on
a regular basis. Be open in changing your goals.
So what should goals for marriages be? Goals for marriages
should include all aspect of your marriage – physical, emotional, intellectual,
finance, health, recreation, social, spiritual and everything else that could
affect your marriage.
Like any other goal, goals for marriages need to be
written down. The difference between a wish or a dream and a goal is that a
goal is a wish or a dream that you have written down and take continuous action
towards realizing it. For example, let’s say that both of you want more romance
in your marriage. First you have to write it down. After that you have to ask
yourselves why it is important for both you to achieve this goal. Ultimately
you are more likely to achieve your goal if you have a compelling reason to do
so. Then you have to be specific and ask yourself how you are going to achieve
this. What do you have to do specifically? What is required to achieve this
goal? Come up with your action plan. Next set a deadline when you want the goal
to be accomplished. Brainstorm any obstacles that you would encounter en route
to your goal. What obstacles can you expect? Last but not least come up with
ideas how both you are going to overcome those obstacles. By setting your goals
the smart way you are more likely to achieve your goals.
There are many templates for goal setting that can assist
you to get started on your goal setting endeavour. Here is a sample template
that you can use to set goals for marriages. Assuming both of you want more
romance in your marriage here is what it could possibly look like.
SAMPLE GOAL SETTING TEMPLATE
What do we want to
We want to have
more romance in our marriage. We want to be more romantic.
Why do we want to
achieve this goal?
We want to have a
loving relationship with each other. We want our relationship to feel how it
used to be when we first met. It will bring both of us more passion and joy
in our lives. This would create peace and harmony in our house.
How will we
achieve this goal? What is required to achieve this goal?
Tell my partner I
love her/him more
I will tell my partner I love her/him when I get up in
the morning, before I leave for work and before we go to sleep. I will call
my partner from work once in a while just to tell her/him I love her/him.
Leave my partner
love notes, tell her/him why I am truly glad to have her/him in my life
I can leave her/him a note on the pillow, bathroom
mirror, in her handbag/wallet, on the washing machine door and tell her/him
how much I love her/him and how amazing she is.
Send her flowers
for no reason
(note: For him)
Once in a while I will buy her flowers for no reason. I
will do it at least once a month.
We will focus on our partner’s strengths and show
gratitude at least 3 times a day.
partner with little gifts
It doesn’t have to be expensive. It could be a magazine
that I think she would like or a book.
Give a massage
Give each other a massage at least twice a month when my
partner is tired.
Go on dates
We will take turns to plan a date twice a month. This is
a night where we have fun, not discuss problems or the kids.
Sign-up for dance class once/twice a week and go dancing
at a salsa club on our date night
When do we want to
achieve this goal?
We want to achieve
this goal by March 31st 2008
What obstacles can
I am too tired
when I get back from work to give my partner the undivided attention that
Pressure at work
or home might affect how I feel.
What are the
solutions to the obstacles?
When I get home
from work spend at least one hour of quality time, giving my partner
undivided attention before I do anything else.
I will pretend that she/he is my best client and give
her/him the undivided attention and care that she/he deserves even though I
This template is a guideline that can be used for any
goals for marriages. I have listed down a few examples below that would help
spur your thinking process:-
a loving relationship with partner
- Have more romance in marriage
communication with partner
a family (Make sure this is a goal that you both want. Ideally this should
have been decided before you get married)
- plan for long time saving for a house, a car, retirement etc
own business together
a family vacation
and fitness plan – keep fit together to gym together, morning walk/run,
play tennis/squash etc.
education – whether it is to go back to school to get an additional degree
or to attend seminars/workshops for personal growth
- If you are interested in volunteering your time for a cause that you
believe in or to donate money, plan how you can do this together
– mutual beliefs and practice that you want to observe together or
Recognize that both partners in the relationship have hope
and aspirations for themselves and the marriage. Often partners are not
conscious of each others’ goals and this can be misconstrued as a lack of
support. This misinterpretation can in due course result in bitterness and
frustration over time. Sitting down together with your partner to talk about
your individual goals brings your partner’s desires to light.
You also need to evaluate your personal goals to see if
they are essentially in the marriage’s best interest. Go through your personal
goals and ask, “Why do I want to achieve this goal?”, “Why is it important?”
“If I achieve this goal how will it affect my marriage?” “Is this goal going to improve my marriage?”
After answering these questions you might find that you need to revise your goals
or create new ones. It is crucial that both of you are able to support each
other in the achievement of individual and marital goals.
As you can see prioritizing and goal setting in marriage
is essential. Remember,
setting goals in a marriage allows both parties to work together for the enhancement
of their marriage. Each partner gets to know what the other wants so the couple
knows the path that their marriage is heading towards. Marriage does take work
but by setting goals for your marriage you are on your way to a happier,
healthier relationship. If your marriage is in trouble or stagnant, it is never
too late to put your marriage back on track.
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How to Set Goals For marriages
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