Plans. We all have them. Financial plans. Funeral plans. Plans for our children’s education. Family plans. Education plans. Career plans. Plans for who does the dishes. Plans for servicing the car and backing up the computer. We plan and plan and plan (and rightly so!). One thing I’ve found recently is that we don’t plan for our marriage.
Google ‘marriage plan’. You’ll get a stack of pages about planning a wedding and a few about how to plan for a divorce, but scant information about a marriage plan. Many of us went through ‘pre-marital counselling’ before making our nuptials where you put on your best face and answered the questions in a way you thought your partner would want to hear and think that because you are in love, everything will fall into place. You might of learned about money (we’ll budget), sex (we’ll have lots of it), kids (when we are ready), houses (in the right area) and in-laws (cause they’ll never interfere!). But did you really talk about what you want your marriage to look at? Did you have a plan for your marriage?
I know I’ve avoided lots of conversations with my wife about our marriage. Not because I want to avoid talking about marriage. It’s just when a guy hears the term ‘can we talk about (subject)’, a guy hears ‘there is something wrong with (subject) and I want to fix it up’. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about marriage – especially if things aren’t great. I’ve found, however, that when you have a plan, you have a direction. When you have direction, you have purpose. When you have purpose, you have a goal. The journey is not a passive thought, but an active process, something you contribute to and build. For me, that is actually a very exciting thing – having a plan and building something amazing!
There are heaps of great books about marriage, about love, love-languages, boundaries, needs, family, raising kids, budgeting your money and almost every topic on being an adult. But let me ask you – when was the last time you sat down with your spouse and actually deliberately made a marriage plan? I’m not just talking about checking in with each other emotionally (whilst that’s super important) and being honest in your relationship. But really making a plan for what your marriage (and by extension, your family life) looks like and want it to look like in the future.
So what is a marriage plan? I think a marriage plan is something where you specifically (and perhaps even strategically) talk with your spouse about what you want your marriage to look like. Not your finances (although I guess that could be a component of it), not your children’s education, not what suburb you want to live in. It talks about how you relate to each other. How you see yourselves as a couple. Your time together. It’s about being deliberate about your marriage. A deliberate plan for your marriage.
I want to throw it out there – does anyone have a ‘marriage plan’ – whether it be formalised or not – something where both you and your spouse have sat down and really made a marriage plan. I’d love to know your ideas, thoughts, what has worked (or has not worked!) for you in your marriage. Have you seen any benefits in it? Has it helped in troubled waters? Has it helped keep you grounded? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.