Every healthy marriage is an intentional marriage. The healthiest relationship are the ones that have built-in routines or goals. Let’s look at a few goals that can create a healthy marriage step by step.
Keep in mind, marriages are never won or lost in a single moment but a continuation of good decisions or bad decisions. Setting goals is a way to recycle actions and decisions that help move you two forward as one. And because “marriage is simply something new every day,” your goals may change regularly. This is why it is important to communicated your goals, and the status of those goals, regularly. So let’s get into a few goals that could get you moving in the right direction.
#1. THE PROJECT
What have you had in your mind to do that would better the environment around you? Maybe it is your home, your car, or your lawn. Or maybe it is something that could be ongoing that you two could work at, say a blog and podcast about marriage! Whatever it is, talk about the common link of why you would want to start that project. This is more than fulfilling the “honey-do” list. This is something you both have an interest in seeing done. Sit down with each other and figure out the cost, the look, the direction, and the goals of this project. Ask the questions of each other that help you figure out where to start and what it would take. As you set and reach the goals for this project, you can sit back together and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Sharing in the accomplishment is better than getting praise for doing it yourself.
#2. THE DATE
I know that dating is something you do before you are married, but who says it stops? Marriage isn’t the finish line, it’s the beginning of a beautiful new story!
“Dating is the best way to give your spouse the attention they desire from you.”
It’s showing that you care enough of the other person to give them a portion of your day. It gives the focus to them alone. No work calls, no kids running around, and no warmed up leftovers! Set a goal of dating. We recommend one date each week! In the year BK (before kids) we had a date every Thursday night. Once we had kids, our goals had to adjust. Paying for a babysitter plus dinner can really get expensive, so we now opt for lunch dates while they are in school. We have also set a goal of no arguing once the date “begins.” This has turned out to be huge for us. We could go several days of frustration and being ‘snippy’ with each other but somehow the date changes our hearts. It brings us back together. It resets us. Give it a try.
#3. THE GET-AWAY
This is especially important if you have kids or a job that demands much of your time being away from your spouse. Plan a weekend getaway for the two of you. I can hear the excuses now, money, sports, work, the lawn needs to be mowed, and on and on I could list of the reasons not to do this. But this is an investment in your marriage! You’ll need these. You’ll remember these. Some of our greatest memories have been 2 night weekend getaways. If you want the best marriage possible, you have to prioritize helping the marriage grow stronger.
#4. THE FINANCES
There are few things that cause fights and arguments in marriage quite like talking about finances. We get it. In every relationship there is a saver and a spender. These are naturally at odds. You’ll find yourself on opposite sides of this fight.
“If you view your spouse as the enemy, you’ll always be at war.”
We had to realize that the spender in the relationship was helping create valuable memories while the saver in the relationship was trying to set us up for the best possible future. Both are needed and necessary. What is important to remember, is that you are in this together. So talk about your goals. For many of you, you might need to talk about war and peace before you start talking about finances! If it helps, set argument guidelines ahead of time. Episode 3 of the podcast is about fighting fair. Maybe listening to that first would help! Whatever you do, set goals about debt, spending, and saving. Find a way to come together to prioritize making memories, having a healthy lifestyle, and thinking of the future. You can do it. Believe in each other.
#5. THE INTIMACY
It is likely no one has ever told you to set goals for intimacy. Yes, you should talk about how much intimacy you need. I hope you are interested in how much intimacy your spouse needs. Once you know this you can begin planning, yes planning, to become the intimate spouse your partner needs you to be. Do not go into this conversation with demands for yourself. Instead, approach it with the mindset that you will find out what the other needs from you. For some couples, putting intimacy on the calendar is a great idea! Find a day on the calendar and agree that you will make room for intimacy at that time. You will find that looking forward to it creates flirting, and flirting creates longing, and longing creates everything you need to be intimate. Right on schedule. This could become the goal you need to create ripples of love throughout the week. The busiest and most chaotic marriages need this the most. Jobs, kids, and hobbies can eat away your time and focus from each other. Prioritize the needs of the each other and watch your marriage grow!
I hope you will sit down with your spouse and talk about setting these goals. Let us know which ones you do well and which goals you need to work on! What goals did we leave out that are vital to your marriage?