Sunday, October 13, 2013

How to Have an Absolutely Fantabulous Marriage in 10 Easy Steps--Set Goals Together

Setting goals, individually and as a couple, is really important in marriage. It forces you to think of where you want to go and who you want to become, and gives you direction in your life and in your relationship. As you discuss your needs and those of your partner, your dreams and aspirations, and how you want to get there (see Communication,) you will be able to become one in purpose and have the same vision for where you want to go. This will make the journey much easier and more enjoyable, since you will be working with instead of against each other. The end result will also be more fulfilling if you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you and your spouse are happy and fulfilled and that you accomplished something together.

Goals can be for the long or short term (I want to finish this project within the next two hours, or I want to get a doctorate degree.) I usually set shorter term goals, but I find that they have the most purpose and help me get somewhere worthwhile when I think about where I want to be in the long term. Basically,  *What is the reality I want to create? I think 1, 5, 10 years down the road, maybe more, and decide what my spiritual, educational, physical, financial, marital, familial (etc, etc,) situation will be. In ten years, I'll be 31. Do I want to have completed my undergrad? Do I want to have credit card debt? Do I want to have children and still be married to Cameron? What do I want my relationship with them to be like? What do I want my reality to be? This is the first step. 

(If you haven't worked through this part with your spouse, make sure that you do! You want the same vision for your family so that you can work together towards your goals. Its definitely ok to try and come up with a vision before you talk about it, but make sure that you do discuss it together. If you have personal goals, such as for your health, sharing these with your spouse as well as goals and visions that pertain to them, can be a great motivator. If you have someone who can ask you how your goals are going, it can be easier to remember to do them, because you want to be able to answer well.)

The second step is to then figure out how to get there. Say you want to be free of credit card debt in 10 years (putting house and car payments aside, maybe.) The best way to get there is to not fall into debt in the first place. How do you do that? Spend less than you make every month, and make payments on time. How do you know how much you can spend? And so on. Keep asking how and why like a three-year-old until you're able to break your task down into specific, measurable, and doable goals. These three things are important because if a goal is too ambiguous, you have no way to measure how well you're doing at it, or if it's just not possible, then it won't get done and you won't get anywhere.

Next, set timelines for yourself. Sometimes it's good to work backwards. Start with the long term and work your way down to the short term, to make sure that you have time to do everything. Say I have a paper due for school in three weeks. I need to come up with a topic, do research, write one or two preliminary drafts, check those, and print my essay. Starting with printing and going backwards, when do I want to get each of those items done? Take into account how long each of these steps will take to do well. 

Four: Write Down Your Goals! Then put them in a place where you can see them often and think about how well you've done. I've never been particularly good at this part, but it is so important, because it helps you to remember your goals and keep track of them. Keeping track of your progress is important, too. It can be rewarding if you're doing well, or motivation to do better. Do what's best for you. If you need to have someone to be accountable to, ask your spouse to check with you every so often on how you're coming along. 

Remember, marriage is about becoming one as a couple. If you're working in different directions, it's probably not going to happen. Marriage is work, but it can be remarkable fun and rewarding as long as we're willing to work together and give our hearts wholly to each other and to our Father in Heaven.

*I heard this phrase from Bob Quinn, who I think was quoting it from a book titled The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz

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