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How to Succeed in Marriage

From a financial perspective, few things are as beneficial for most households as a budget. When couples go from haphazardly spending their money to consciously choosing what is important, they feel a sense of control over a previously uncontrollable situation. Without a budget, many households spend money haphazardly and rarely have enough money. With a budget, most households prioritize what is important, put their money where they want it to go, and realize many of their financial dreams are possible.

As it is with money so it is with marriage.

Most couples never consider who they want to be as a married couple. They do not arrange a plan to invest the time and energy necessary to become what they desire. Instead, they handle each situation as it arises and they spend more time reacting to life rather than building the life they desire. (See: This Is Holding Your Marriage Back)

Consider how little time most couples give to discussing:

  • Who they want to be as a couple
  • What they need from one another as spouses
  • What is required for them to achieve their goals

They never define success. Failure is only defined as a relationship which doesn’t last. But no practical steps are defined regarding what would move the relationship forward.

Simply put, most couples hope they succeed but they never take any practical steps to define or experience success.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. (See: Three Conversations Every Couple Should Have)

On an annual basis, a couple should review their marriage in much the same way they would do a job review. The goal is not to be critical. The goal is to highlight successes, admit weaknesses, and make a plan to improve both as an individual and a couple.

Yet before we can review where we have been, we need to plan where we want to go.

Ask the following questions:

  • What does success in marriage mean to you?
  • Who are the couples you would like to emulate?
  • What do successful couples do which other couples do not?
  • What are the attitudes or actions which need to change for you to become successful?
  • What skills do you need to learn in order to become who you want?
  • Who will help the two of you become a better couple?
  • Who will help you become a better spouse?
  • What guardrails will you install to protect your relationship?

There may not be another area of life in which success is so gratifying and failure is so damaging, yet we do very little to plan for the former or avoid the latter. I’m yet to meet a couple who desires to fail at marriage, but rarely do I encounter a couple who is making an intentional effort to succeed in marriage.

Our strategy of hoping we get it right rarely gets good results.

We need intention. We need a plan. We need to see tangible results of how we are pursuing after a better future as partners. (See: The Number One Cause of Divorce)

It happens in every other area of life:

  • Athletics
  • Finances
  • Career

We find a coach, make a plan, and get better. It needs to happen in marriage. (See: You Can’t Be Great Without This…)

The average couple would be surprised by the amount of improvement they can make with just a little effort and intention. Simply reading a marriage book together and discussing it once a week can have a dramatic influence on a couple’s sense of satisfaction. Making small steps in understanding the frustrations of one another and making improvements can make a couple feel as though they have a totally different marriage.

It takes work, time, and vulnerability, but it is worth everything it costs because the benefits will not just be experienced in the marriage, but in every aspect of life. Marriage is not separated from the rest of who we are. It is the defining factor of our life satisfaction. Show me someone happy in their marriage and I will show you someone happy in life.

But happy marriages don’t just happen. They aren’t the result of marrying the right person. They are the byproduct of humility, love, and hard work. (See: The Most Frustrating Moment in Marriage)

Do you want to succeed in marriage? Define success and then pursue after that definition.

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