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How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger

How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger

Do you have goals for your marriage?

Many people have this misconception that once they get married, they will live happily ever after- on autopilot.

The reality, however, is that marriage requires work and effort from you and your spouse. Love brings you together, but conscious, continuous effort makes your marriage a success. This is where marriage goals come in.

Why you should set marriage goals

Marriage goals give a couple something to work toward and a reason to depend upon each other.[1] They are a great way to grow your marriage. In the pursuit of your goals, you will spend more time together, have more conversations and create more intimate moments.

Goals will help your marriage to thrive. Considering the current rate of divorce, it would be unfortunate if you do not give your marriage the proper attention and nourishment it needs. When you get busy with your daily routines, it is easy to forget to nurture your relationship. Marriage goals help you to keep your marriage a top priority.

When you spend time planning your life together, you cannot neglect each other. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for your marriage gives you a better chance of having a happy and fulfilling marriage.

When you think about the health of your marriage, consider the principle of motion. An object that is set in motion continues to move unless something stands in its way.

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Similarly, a motionless object will never move until you put it in motion. Just as your daily goals keep you moving from one task to the next, marriage goals will infuse your relationship with the vital momentum.

Marriage goals not only create an atmosphere of companionship, but they also help spouses to remain focused whenever their marriage is going through difficult transitions.

Marriage goals also act as an antidote to stagnation and lethargy that creeps into all marriages over time.

S.M.A.R.T marriage goals

S.M.A.R.T marriage goals should include all aspects of your marriage:[2] physical, intellectual, financial, social, spiritual – everything that could affect your marriage.

Also, like all other goals, they need to be written down. The difference between a wish and a goal is that you write a goal down and take continuous action towards realizing it. The following are some of the things you need to discuss with your spouse concerning your future.

1. Financial goals

According to marital experts, money is the number reason for marital discord.[3] There will always be an imbalance of income between you and your spouse and different money habits.

It is therefore essential to discuss your attitudes towards financial matters so that you can understand each other’s approach to making, spending, and saving money.

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If you and your spouse are not on the same page concerning finances, it will be a constant source of tension throughout your marriage. For this reason, harmonize your activities towards money and ensure you are both part of the money-making decisions.

Both of you should, at all times, know where the money is and where it goes:

  • Settle on a common goal. Whatever your long-term goal is, ensure you are on the same page. Where do you want to be financially in a year? Five years?
  • Create a budget. Develop a budget that gives a clear indication of where the money goes each month. Sit down with your spouse and give each dollar a name.
  • Update your insurance policy. Whatever insurance policies or estate planning you individually had before you got married, you will need them updated. Your power of attorney, your will, and superannuation contributions will all need to be revised. Your premiums may also change; it is all part of the process.
  • Re-look at your credit card options. Give your credit cards a healthy check and see how they compare to the competitions by using credit card comparison tools.

2. Goals for your relationship

This goal is essential since it will help you and your partner maintain intimacy, connectedness, empathy, and feelings of security and inner peace.

You must set goals towards spending time together if you want your relationship to flourish. When you neglect companionship, separation will begin to occur in your relationship.

Communication

Communication is the backbone of your marriage. Many marriages fail to reach their destination because of inadequate listening and poor understanding. Conflicts will inevitably occur in marriage, but with proper and regular communication, all problems can be solved.

Agree to talk about anything and everything

Nurture your friendship with your spouse so that you can feel comfortable discussing even the difficult subjects. Tough conversations make you wiser and stronger and broaden your horizon. If you avoid difficult issues, they will eventually stifle your communication and ruin your marriage.

Your relationship with your in-laws

A cordial relationship with your both of your in-laws will save your marriage a lot of conflicts. However, the process of blending two families is nothing short of a miracle.

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Your in-laws have expectations of you and your spouse that may not be realistic:[4]

They may assume that you will spend all holidays with them; or that you will follow their advice without questions; or that they will see you and talk to you several times a week.

Many times, these expectations are not understood or discussed by a couple until a conflict occurs. The smart option is to recognize and head off potential conflicts before they occur.

Take everything in your stride and try to see things from your relatives’ point of view. Consider how much time and energy they have spent raising both of you; it is understandable for them to find it difficult to let go. Trust that you will adequately provide for each other as well as they have all these years.

Household habits

Household habits can be a source of immeasurable tension for a couple. Many couples are constantly annoyed with each other because one person is not contributing to household chores and the other is constantly picking up the slack.

Inevitably, one partner turns out to be the tidy one, and the organizer, while the other might be the helpless slob.

Chores may seem trivial, but are a big deal.

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Unless you want some major conflicts and resentment down the road, you must discuss even this unglamorous topic from the word go. Think about this way: you have become roommates for life. Why shouldn’t you discuss your household habits?[5]

3. Family health goals

It is probably expecting too much hoping that both halves of a marriage can have similar health goals. But you can agree on mutually aligned goals.

Think about how hard it is going to be to plan and cook different meals? Essential goals for couples who have different dietary preferences can, in fact, be a tall order. Imagine one spouse cannot live without bread while the other is Paleo?

Your marriage will be much easier if you are on the same page. And an added advantage: it can be fun being each other’s accountability partner, whether it is in weight loss or another health venture.

Final thoughts

The first year of marriage is incredibly essential to your future happiness. It is during this time when you will either give direction and purpose to your marriage or develop bad habits that will trap you later. Setting goals will help you to establish good patterns and ways of being together that will continue for the rest of your life.

Also, post-wedding blues are quite common. After experiencing the thrill of wedding planning, it is natural to experience a deep in your mood. Goals will inject life into your new marriage and put it on the path of excitement.

Your marriage is like no one else’s. Having your own goals gives your marriage the uniqueness and authenticity that it deserves. So, go on and set your own S.M.A.R.T goals today.

Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot run a marathon successfully without proper planning.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Randy Skilton

Randy is an educator in the areas of relationships and self-help.

Do Rebound Relationships Work Out? Why They Will and Won’t How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger 10 Fun Relationship Quizzes to Strengthen Your Bond with Your Partner

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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