Marriage Plans

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.

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44 comments

  1. Primula pretty

    It seems to me, as a very old hand at this stuff, that you’ve just got too much time on your hands!!!!
    Just do as you are told, get the dishes done,put the kids to bed …. And stop grizzling!!

  2. Sarah

    I reckon a marriage plan is great. If you want to live in love “happily ever after”, we’re good at talking but we need to retain what we’ve heard the other person say and act on it.

  3. doppledanger

    It would be nice if we could have a plan. But there is a saying, Man plans and God laughs. Life cannot be planned. I think it would be wise to talk about how you deal with crisis, what your family style is, what your values are and what is important to you when you have a child. Often, we don’t really know our intended the way we will when the sh#t hits the fan. All of the childhood, unresolved stuff WILL show up in your marriage. Even moreso once you have a child. Nice food for thought…a plan….

    • vidinsinbrisbane

      I hear what you are saying, Doppledanger (cool name, BTW!). For me I guess it’s about – well, just that. ,I agree, I’ve had plans, then God or life or whatever you want to call it happens.

      I still think you can plan and have direction, and think about what you want to strive for in your marriage.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. glaciermen

    Actually you are on the right path. A marriage doesn’t just happen. You need to make plans and talk about things. Your wife will have some things she wants to talk about and you will have some things as well. The key is to set up strict ground rules when you have these planning meetings. No condescending remarks, no be-littling, no degrading , no blaming. The goal is to make your marriage stronger and to do that you both need to feel like you can be open and honest with each other. I have found that a jet tub date or somehting similar works well for these. First of all you are both exposed and vulnerable. Second you have set up the guidelines ahead of time so you both know you can talk freely with each other. Thirdly, when you are done planning and talking you can come together and grow closer afterwards. And yes there are a lot of different things to talk about in the marriage. The four biggest are: Sex, finances, children, and homes. And no matter what you think, those four will come up time and again. They never seem to get resolved. And yes my wife and I have made many plans together over the years. We have changed many of those plans as well. And the best thing we have ever done togther and has helped us more than anything is when we do a devotional and pray together. Even when we don’t want to and even when we are stressed and arguing, those two things alone can resolve a lot of issues. Keep up the good work. Be strong in your marriage. Fulfill your responsibility as the husband and be the leader she needs not the dictator we naturally are.

    • vidinsinbrisbane

      Thanks for your heartfelt response. I’d love to know what things you guys planned for, didn’t plan for, wished you planned for or wished you hadn’t planned for!

      Keep in touch, Glaciermen!

      P

  5. sjgooch

    Good thoughts! While, I’m not married, I think that if a couple learns to communicate to each other about who they are, who they want to be, and where they’re going, that’s a great start! It doesn’t necessarily have to be a plan set in stone, but perhaps much of this is about going through the journey together and being unified in heart.

  6. elyseivy

    I think a marriage plan is a great idea. A couple could easily decide/plan how much time they are going to dedicate to being with each other (romantic dates) every week, or how often they are going to try to you know :), how much alone time each person is hoping for…It’s important stuff! Especially if they don’t talk about it and end up being on different pages, it could be disastrous.

  7. SharonB

    What a wonderful idea. We will celebrate 30 years of “happily ever after” this month! 🙂 The only “plan” I suppose we’ve had if from the beginning we agreed that divorce is NEVER an option. No matter what we would work through the hard seasons. The other thing we committed to was time to date continually, even if it meant putting the kids to bed early for a night alone.

    Maybe on our anniversary this month we should talk about a plan for the next 30!!

    • vidinsinbrisbane

      How wonderful Sharon! Congratulations, and beat wishes for the next 30 years!
      I agree, you have to be selfish with your spouse & guard your time- it’s so important!

      Thanks or the feedback!

      P

  8. Elizabeth Marvin

    I believe that the Marriage commitment is one of the most important decisions for your personal, overall, Life Happiness, than almost any other. First, Interviewing, then re-interviewing. Take it slow. See how the person acts in the Four Seasons. Really trust your heart. Ask questions? Remember, this is your life. No question is off limits. Be honest and desire honesty. My best to you.

  9. krallstan

    Here in Singapore, the government and partnering volunteer welfare organisations push for marriage preparation courses. These classes are even subsidised! I have to say it is a first step in helping couples be aware of what could potentially be issues. Ultimately, the couple must consciously act to make that plan. Even an informal one (rough direction of their hopes, wishes, etc) is better than nothing. And marriage plans isn’t just about the couple. The couple should share with each other their thoughts for themselves as individuals, as a couple, in their respective and combined social setting, as parents, as financial contributors to the family, as homemakers / caregivers in the family (could even be shared roles), etc, etc, etc. There is so much to talk about that a concrete plan is pretty impossible. But, as a couple, talk, talk, talk … In talking, you will inevitably share thoughts, hence informal plans … beyond just the wedding, but well into the marriage, and even parenting years.

    • vidinsinbrisbane

      That’s so good that the government invests in family & marriage!

      I agree- you can’t plan for everything, but you can certainly set the standard for great communication!

      Thanks for reading!

      P

  10. Jennifer Calvert Edwards

    Fantastic! A marriage plan is a must and after you get married you should continually alter the plan to fit how your lives have changed over the years. You are on the right track. You can’t just enter into a relationship of marriage and hope it turns out. It takes plans, work, and lots of laughter! Your partner is lucky to have you! Married 31 years!!!

  11. hollykaann

    As a seventeen year old kid I sat at the kitchen table with my mom on the eave of her 20th anniversary to my dad. She said, “If I had it to do over again I would never marry him.” This did not come as a surprise to me because, at the time and for the past 20 years, my dad had pretty much been an ass. But what changed for me was that I thought to myself- “NO Way am I going to invest 20 years of my life and be able to say that I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
    Well, I guess that would sum up my plan but it was a guide line as my husband and I have now passed 21 years and working on number 22. I would marry that man again in a heartbeat.
    Always begin with the end in mind.

  12. Peachie's Marriage Nectar

    Peach & Blessings. First let me thank you for subscribing to Peachie’s Marriage Nectar. — Marriage Plans was a great post filled with lots of useful information. –Yes my husband and I wrote a marriage plan before we got married. We divided it into several categories/topic/subjects . For each category, both he and I wrote what we personally wanted, what type of support we needed and the biggie: what were our expectations of the other relative to that category. For example, one category was education. In this area we indicated what other types of degrees we wanted, what type of support we needed like cooking on the days the other is in class and each of us expected that the other would shoulder the financial responsibility while the other was in school. We also had questions like; can family members live with us?

    The truth is that we did not agree on a great number of things. However, knowing each others expectations helped to open up dialog on a great amount of subjects. Further, knowing how the other would react in advance has helped to curtail hurt feelings and avoid surprises.

    Have a plan!

    Peace be unto you always,
    PeachiePW

    • vidinsinbrisbane

      Thanks for the advice and comment, Peachie!

      Talking about things before they are an issue can often resolve an issue before it becomes one! That;s certainly a steep learning curve I’m learning at the moment!

      Thanks again. I look forward to stopping by your blog more often!

      P

  13. Jeff_Rodrian

    Thanks for dropping by Post-College Man! I have no marriage plans currently, but that doesn’t stop me from being curious. 🙂
    I’ve spoken with my married friends before and one common pre-marriage planning tip they’ve given me is to have an honest conversation with your special someone about marriage expectations sometime before the big date. For some reason this is often neglected. A frank conversation about expectations puts the couple on the same page, and there are fewer “surprises” in the following months and years. Great post!

    • vidinsinbrisbane

      Y’know, it’s more like an ongoing honest conversation. Your a different person a year, two years, five years etc after marriage. The more ‘honest’ conversations, the longer your marriage will last (I think!!)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      P

  14. sharonsdarrow

    Love your post, which I plan to reblog after completing this comment. My husband and I have been married almost 48 years now, and are totally different people now than the starry eyed teenagers (18 and 19) we were when we got married. I don’t recommend marrying after just a couple months, particularly when people are so young, but for us it has worked. I can share the things that have helped us stay together so long though, in the hopes that our observations might help others. First of all, the initial lust and infatuation is not what holds you together through the years. The deep respect and friendship, as well as the shared memories, both good and bad, are what strengthens the bond that brought you together. Neither of us are perfect people and there are times we don’t like each other very much, but we never waver in loving each other and cannot imagine not being together till the end of our lives. We didn’t plan, but we did set up some simple rules. We never carry a fight into the bedroom, and we never go to bed mad. The most basic was the rule I set the day we got married — Divorce never, murder maybe! Bottom line, if separation is not an option you will watch your words and deeds and find a way to work out the toughest problems.

  15. sharonsdarrow

    Reblogged this on sharonsdarrow and commented:
    This is a great post that I’m proud to repost. My husband and I have been married almost 48 years now, and are totally different people now than the starry eyed teenagers (18 and 19) we were when we got married. I don’t recommend marrying after just a couple months, particularly when people are so young, but for us it has worked. I can share the things that have helped us stay together so long though, in the hopes that our observations might help others. First of all, the initial lust and infatuation is not what holds you together through the years. The deep respect and friendship, as well as the shared memories, both good and bad, are what strengthens the bond that brought you together. Neither of us are perfect people and there are times we don’t like each other very much, but we never waver in loving each other and cannot imagine not being together till the end of our lives. We didn’t plan, but we did set up some simple rules. We never carry a fight into the bedroom, and we never go to bed mad. The most basic was the rule I set the day we got married — Divorce never, murder maybe! Bottom line, if separation is not an option you will watch your words and deeds and find a way to work out the toughest problems.

  16. momfawn

    After six years together (3 before marriage and 3 after), my husband and I realized that we had never really talked about children. We knew we wanted them, but I assumed I would leave my job and become a stay-at-home mom, and he assumed (and was adamant about) I would take a brief leave and then head back to the office. I have very few regrets in life, but returning to work full-time 5-1/2 weeks after our daughter was born, and not stubbornly insisting we could make the finances work with only one income, is still my biggest one. Twenty-nine years into our marriage I moved out, and 3 years later we live across town from each other. You have to really plan, re-plan, and communicate all the way through a marriage.

    Thanks for following me at Triggershorse. – Fawn

  17. kristy4214

    There ought to be a way so one doesn’t have to scroll through all the comments to get to your comment spot. There is but I think you have to pay for it. Anyway that is a great post, I’ll probably never marry again but who knows. I definitely have a picture of what my marriage should look like. Like every major decision and major purpose is agreed upon by both parties or the man of the house, his decision holds. If he say’s whatever you want I’m taking that literally but I better know my husband and I do, so I better be reasonable with that and keep things in check. If I do he’ll trust me to be mindful of what I am doing. I had forgotten the man always thinks he has to fix something when we say can we talk? For me functioning like a family unit and thinking about the children when we make decisions is important. Dad, Mom and kids playing ball in the front yard and discipline after the age of 4 or 5 being taking something away for serious offenses. Look if your doing for your kids they are not gonna want to displease you.

  18. fitraarifin

    Nice post, mate.
    Just like a company, marriage needs a vision too. I found that many families don’t have vision about how they gonna run their life. We always compare marriage as sailing in sea voyage but often forgot that any voyage should have vision and mission, otherwise the member of the ships will jump off when they found big waves.

  19. madblog

    I think I would use the word “vision.” You ought to have a vision, you ought to have the same vision, and after a little while, you ought to have one vision that the two of you share. A vision is the really big stuff, the purpose statement, which will stay in place even when circumstances change in an unplanned way.

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