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Goals for Marriages

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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 success.

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 achieve?

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.

Compliment my partner daily

We will focus on our partner’s strengths and show gratitude at least 3 times a day.

Surprise my 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.

 

Learn Latin dancing together

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 we expect?

I am too tired when I get back from work to give my partner the undivided attention that she/he needs.

Pressure at work or home might affect how I feel.

What are the solutions to the obstacles?

Affirm that

 

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 am tired.

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:-

  • Have a loving relationship with partner
  • Have  more romance in marriage
  • Improve communication with partner
  • Start a family (Make sure this is a goal that you both want. Ideally this should have been decided before you get married)
  • Finance - plan for long time saving for a house, a car, retirement  etc
  • Start own business together
  • Plan a family vacation
  • Health and fitness plan – keep fit together to gym together, morning walk/run, play tennis/squash etc.
  • Continuous education – whether it is to go back to school to get an additional degree or to attend seminars/workshops for personal growth
  • Contribution - 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
  • Religion/Spiritual – mutual beliefs and practice that you want to observe together or separately

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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