In days of old, marriage was approached in a very pragmatic fashion: it was more of a merger of sorts. It united land and goods of families, ensured the continuation of blood lines, even stopped wars between tribes.
Marriage was a business, and the act itself constituted a very serious contract for all involved.
Somewhere around the Victorian age, marriage started being less about the merging of lands and more about the merging of hearts. No longer was marriage considered an ends to a means, but an end to a courtship. Stoic pragmatism gave way to a more fanciful romanticism, and people entered marriage more and more with little reason other than love.
While love is a wonderful reason to marry, marriage is such a serious commitment and the institution deserves more consideration than it is usually given. Today, couples spend more time and energy planning for their wedding than they do for the marriage, so it’s little wonder that while the wedding itself goes off without a hitch, the marriages they herald failed at an increasingly alarming rate.
When you fail to plan, you inevitably plan to fail.
Most people start any endeavor, be it a trip, a job search, returning to school, moving to a new place, or starting a new business, with a plan. They outline goals, determine the steps needed to achieve the goals and identify possible obstacles. Marriage is one of the most endeavor upon which many people will embark; an endeavor whose failure will negatively impact the lives of everyone involved.
Marriage truly is a serious business — so plan it!
Creating a marriage plan is not an exercise for those not yet married. Whether you are newly engaged, are still newlyweds or have been married a decade or more, creating a marriage plan can help couples identify and work together toward shared goals, can outline the couples’ vision for the marriage and can help map the future of the relationship.
My husband and I have been married over 10 years, and we are just now creating a marriage plan. For the first decade, we sort of drifted through life together with no real definable goals or shared purpose. We just love each other, so we got married.
But through times of adversity, as we found out, that may not be enough. A good marriage plan can also work as insurance during tough times, providing guidelines of how the couple will work through adversity together, and the steps they will take to turn a negative situation around.
You can modify a general business plan template and use it as a starting point to create you marriage plan. Together with your spouse develop a marriage mission or purpose statement. What is your purpose for being together? To create a family? Support a partner’s career? Travel the world together? Share a passion, hobby or lifework? Write it out! Make it clear to each other what your shared mission together is in the marriage.
Don’t forget to include financial data. More marriages are ruined over negative financial situations than for any other reason. Have a thorough understanding of each partner’s TRUE financial obligations and income. Then map out each partner’s personal financial goals, as well as the financial goals you wish to accomplish together as a family.
Once you have sucessfully crafted your marriage plan, have both partners sign and date it. Create a copy of the plan and keep it with your other important documents. Refer back to the marriage plan when things seems to hit a marital rough patch, or the money train seems to be going off-track.
Periodically update your marriage plans as old goals are accomplished and new ones are established.
Creating a marriage plan is just one of the things a couple can do to ensure they have a happy marriage for years to come. I encourage all couples to try it!
The Modern Married Chick
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