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How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger

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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.

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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 November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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