The third part of shared meanings that successful couples do well is to align their goals as a couple. In addition to this goal alignment, these couples also honor each other’s individual goals. Think of a goal as the END to which all your efforts are directed. This implies that you must be truly clear about what that end looks like. Unfortunately, this is a conversation that many couples do not have.
Let me ask, is your marriage the same today as it was five years ago? The answer is no, of course. Will your marriage to be the same five years from now as it is today? And the answer is no, of course. But will it be different as the result of conscious intent or as the result of just getting up every morning and going through your day and letting your marriages take whatever course it takes? Successful couples do leave the future of their marriage up to chance. They set specific goals for their life together. It is a fact of life, that we move towards those things that we think about. So, if you and your spouse share common goals, you will both automatically work towards the fulfillment of those goals.
What are your goals?
What are your hopes and your dreams for your life together, for your children, for your extended family? What are your financial goals, your charitable goals, your community goals?
I would like to offer a few goals for your consideration. The first goal would be to assist your spouse in getting to heaven. (I believe this is your primary duty as a spouse.) The second goal would be to accept your spouse as a child of God with all of his or her defects. (Since it is inevitable that your spouse will have defects, you may as well learn to accept and even love them.) And the third goal would be to respect the dignity of your spouse even in times of anger. (Often in anger you can say some pretty critical things that dehumanize your spouse.) I think we can all agree that these are high ideals and good and just goals to for which to strive.
But beyond these universal goals, you will want to discuss whatever personal goals you have.
What are your dreams and desires for the next 5, 10, and 20 years?
What personal goals do you have?
What do you hope to achieve as a spouse, a parent, or in your professional career?
What are your financial goals?
What type of house do you want to live in?
What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in?
Which schools do you want your children to attend?
Why do you have these goals? From where do they originate? Are they tied to childhood memories? Are they tied the people you look up to? What is the history behind your goals?
The 1% Investment.
These questions provide great material for your date nights and for the 15-minute investment you make in each other each day, (the 1% investment we discussed in an earlier blog). If you have this conversation, my hunch is that you will be surprised by both what you agree on and by what you do not. But therein lies the conversation that leads to the alignment of goals that leads to deepening the bond in your marriage.
If you have ever played on a sports team, you can appreciate the thrill and the unity that comes from being united with other people around a common goal. Marriage is no different. Being aligned around common goals, around a common life vision, is a powerful cement that can help you weather the storms that come to every marriage.
Remember: alignment breeds unity.