A month ago or so, I wrote two columns about setting goals and recently wrote on some things to consider before getting married. This week I want to suggest that you combine the information in those columns and have them payoff in a manner larger than if you were to only do them independently.
The best time to go through the process I will describe today is before you get married, but the next best time is shortly after you are married. If you have been married a long time you will still derive great benefit from this process, in fact this process may energize your marriage in a way you may have never experienced.
To prepare for this exercise you (and your spouse) must do the goal setting exercise I outlined previously, if you need a copy of it, just email me. You and your spouse need to do this independently of each other and make sure you dream big. Last, do not look on each other’s sheets at this point, remember, NO PEEKING!
After each of you have filled out the goal setting sheets then you need to schedule a time to sit down together to do the sometimes difficult work of reconciling your goals. This requires time, patience, caring, listening, love, and an unselfish attitude. I recommend getting a responsible sitter for the kids and booking a weekend at a bed and breakfast or favorite hotel. It doesn’t have to be far away or fancy; however, separating yourselves for a day or two will help tremendously as will introducing as much romance as you can to the outing. I just heard the deafening sound of the skipping heartbeats of half the population of Kootenai County. Never fear gentlemen, I have your back. For those of you not comfortable with romance, I will be writing an article on that subject in a couple of weeks.
Once your goal setting sheets are filled out and you are safely tucked away on your romantic interlude, relax. Have a little fun, eat a nice meal and reconnect with your lovely spouse, THEN begin to reveal your goals, hopes and dreams that you have written down. Take turns revealing either one section at a time or one goal at a time. Take care to remember what a precious gift your spouse is giving you, they are telling you things so important to them they might not share it easily. Do not abuse their trust in you; listen lovingly and respectfully, and then help them figure out how to accomplish their dreams.
Put your goals on the timeline sheet, taking care to ensure each of you are fulfilling your goals as you go along. There may be times when one of your goals will be more important than the other, but overtime this should balance out. The idea is to come to an agreement as a couple, but neither you nor your spouse should feel coerced. Doing this exercise once a year is as important to your marriage as your yearly physical with your doctor is to your bodily health so please do not neglect it. You and your spouse will achieve goals with more regularity and you will likely find more happiness and energy in your marriage than you have had in a long time.