Most couples go through some form of planning prior to getting married. They probably discuss things like having children (and how many), careers, and likes and dislikes. Often times, these discussions are more about revealing personal preferences rather than planning for the future. E.g. “Okay, so she wants a big family and I want a kid or two – we’ll work that out later…”
After the wedding, there’s a honeymoon period where everything is perfect and their partner can do no wrong. This is a wonderful time that needs to be experienced by all couples – but unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever. Once the honeymoon phase begins to fade, most couples go back to pursuing individual interests. It’s not an intentional thing, but something that seems to happen naturally. Ironically, most couples don’t realize this is occurring. There’s an assumption both are on the same page, living for the same goals and even working together toward achieving them.
Many couples live like this for years. It’s not an open point of contention, but there are times it causes stress and frustration. It can be maddening when your spouse does not react the way you expect them to when you make a certain decision. You love the idea, why wouldn’t they?
Most of us have a direction for our lives. This is clearer for some than for others, but most are heading toward something. If prompted, you could probably use a blank sheet of paper, and put a big X on “You are here”. You could then probably put a separate point on the paper indicating where you want to go with your life. This could be in terms of your career, your family, your hobbies, your wealth or a variety of other things. We all have dreams and pursue them to some degree.
Here’s where it gets interesting. If you were to do this exercise, and your spouse were to do it independently, how well would your paths line up? Many couples would discover they were heading in different directions. It might be gradual at first, but over time the couple would feel the stress and tension that comes from this disparity. The individual that continually compromises their personal goals to follow their spouse may grow disappointed or even bitter. Over time, these negative feelings can emerge in other, unrelated areas, causing further discord in the relationship.
It doesn’t have to be that way. I encourage all married couples to take the effort to cast a vision for their marriage. Determine where (as a couple) you want to head and what you want to achieve. Put some milestones in place to gauge your progress along the way. Set annual goals to challenge and encourage yourselves. Reflect back periodically to see how you’ve done.
To help you toward this goal, I have created a free online course called “Cast a Vision for Your Marriage”. This provides you with a great process that you can work on together to create your own marital vision.
I’d love for you to complete this course and provide me feedback as to how it impacted your marriage. In the near future, I’ll be adding additional courses that I think will benefit marriages.
Don’t assume you’re both on the same page in terms of long-term goals and objectives for your marriage. Take the course today and make sure you are aligned!