You’re in LOVE!! This is the person you can’t live without. For the rest of your life, you want to be joined to your one-and-only. You decide to get married. (Does anyone “pop” the question anymore?) Full-on wedding planning begins.
For a year, the details are pored over. Time. Date. Place. Lilies or roses? Fondant or buttercream? Bridesmaid’s dresses in pink – but Blush or Bashful? What song for the first dance? High heels or slippers? Cummerbund or vest? Down to the font on the label on the tiny bag of rice. It is all CRITICALLY important.
Plans are made. Contingency plans are made. What if Cousin Sue can’t travel because she is pregnant? Okay Kellie will step in as bridesmaid. What if it rains – okay we’ll move inside. Hours upon hours are spent in meetings, tastings and negotiations.
Then the wedding is over and your new life begins. What plans have you made? Probably you thought about kids. You MAY have a general idea of what you want to do with your career. You know which apartment you want to live in. From there, most people just go with the flow.
There are no set goals for your relationship. No financial plans are made. No set path is laid out as to what you would like to do when. You assume that your spouse knows what you want even though you never told them - because they love you, right? You follow the Jones’ because they seem to have something good going on. (You have no idea that behind closed doors they are miserable.)
Seven years later you don’t recognize the person on the other side of the bed. Debt has mounted. The kids are always underfoot. You hate your job and by the time you get home at night, you don’t have the energy to object to the crazy parenting your spouse engages in. Dreams for life have faded and you have NO IDEA how you got here. Every discussion seems to break down to angry barb throwing and it is just not worth it to try and talk anymore.
Suddenly the idea of a clean slate becomes appealing. A new start - that’s it! Your coworker understands you and is not hard to look at. Escape is good and alcohol is just the ticket.
If the average couple would put a FRACTION of the energy and effort into planning their life they spend planning one day, their marriage would stand a chance of making it through the trials and tribulations.
PLAN your life WITH your spouse. The benefits are incredible. Make it a priority. Just like you planned the wedding day from beginning to end, look at your life from beginning to end. TALK about your hopes, your dreams and what you want to see when you look back on your life. Steven Covey says to “Begin with the end in mind”. Set a date and time to talk regularly about where you are, where you have been and how you will get where you want to go. Your spouse can only support you and be your accountability partner when they KNOW what is in your heart. They really cannot read your mind.
If you have a plan, the bumps in the road are much easier to navigate. Knowing that you have a goal for your life and your marriage keeps you focused on what is important. When the inevitable distractions come your way, they will not be able to destroy you if they get no attention. What you focus on multiplies.
Decide to go to Hawaii. Head out the front door on foot. No compass and no money in your pocket. Without a plan, your marriage’s chances are about the same as you surfing on Oahu.