New Year, New US: Part 4Jan 29, 2022
You don't have to search very hard to find used fitness equipment: weights, treadmills, exercise bikes, etc. It also doesn't take much mental energy to connect the dots on why these things are for sale. The majority of these items were good ideas that people were committed to but quickly came to realize they were taking up space and collecting dust. There is no hate here, I know because I have done the same exact thing.
I am bringing this up because humans are full of good ideas and today's world is so full of options for new ideas or products that can be at your front door in 2 days or less. It's too easy to have ideas, dreams, wishes, or goals that don't come to be. In this blog we want to help you take steps toward getting closer to the marriage you have always wanted. Not just an idea of what it would be, but making it reality.
The 5 Step Process for Having the Marriage you Want
We are wrapping up our 4 part blog series on creating a Marriage Vision, and we will be hosting a webinar/workshop to help you set aside time and walk through this process. This is the 4th part of the series so we will recap the entire process with these 4 steps.
1. Who are we?
The 1st step in this Marriage Vision is stepping back from all the things you want to do and discussing bigger picture questions about who we are and who we want to be. We typically know this on some level, but not spending time thinking about it, discussing it, and anchoring your marriage in these things make it easy for things to subtly shift over time to the extent that you are no longer anywhere near where you want to be. As we shared in this first step, we drift. It's natural. This big picture conversation acts as our north star so that we can stay the course and easier discuss when things feel a bit off.
2. Where are we?
Like any road trip you need to know where you start in addition to where you are going. Where you start impacts the path you take to get to your desired destination. While we spend all of our time in reality (where we are), we also don't spend much time identifying what's working and what's not. We may be aware of these things but we don't talk about them and we don't have a plan to remedy what's not working and experience more of what is working.
3. Where are we going?
Knowing where you are starting is important, but knowing where you want to be is a crucial piece to the puzzle. While the big picture question of "Who are we?" helps define us, we need some more detailed clarity within a shorter timeline to make sure we move along and regularly check our progress. 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year goals help synthesize the big picture items into tangible things that remind us we are on the right path. Knowing you want to be in shape is one thing, but defining what that means to you and some measures of progress along the way keep you moving forward.
4. How do we get there?
Every road trip has a roadmap. We have certain things that we watch along the way like speed, gas, progress, when the next fast food stop might be, etc. If you've never been on a road trip you wouldn't know to pay attention to mile markers and evaluate whether or not you have enough gas to get to the next stop. There are several things you can focus on the measure the path to your ideal marriage. We typically choose the 7 F's: faith, family, finance, fitness, friends, field, and fun or we have also used the key categories from our marriage program to evaluate 1. Marriage Mindset, 2. Personality Differences, 3. Communication/Conflict, 4. Family/Upbringing, 5. Money, and 6. Intimacy. Our annual goal process is typically attached the 7 F's as places we focus to make sure we experience as much meaning in our marriage as possible.
5. What are we going to do?
We started with admitting that we all have great ideas and intentions. The 5th step is to get clear on the daily, weekly, monthly actions you will take to ensure that your intentions become reality.
Last week we provide the example below of 3 of the 7 F's. In step 4 we have to determine what success looks like to us, which defines the future reality. If you were on a roadtrip, this would help you answer the question of "Are we there yet?" or "How do we know when we have arrived?"
This week the goal is to take it one step further and get clear on the actions, habits, hacks, or projects you need to work on to make sure you arrive where you want to arrive. Goals are great, but most of the time we don't get clear enough on what we are actually going to do to achieve those things. New habits and hacks help to shift the way we progress toward our goals. Additionally, thinking about activity like a project helps to ensure that you complete things and then plan for what's next. Marriages function in seasons so actions to take within those periods of time are easier to stick with.
The other thing we hold true to is measuring our success by an 80% metric. Perfection is impossible and when we see that we might fall short of perfection, we often throw the whole idea out. In our experience, if we measure success by hitting 10 out of 10 goals, we only achieve 1 or 2 out of 10. If we give ourselves some grace and shoot for 8 out of 10, we more regularly accomplish 7-9 out of 10 and experience more meaning in our marriage.
As you read through this, I imagine you might be thinking that this all seems so easy. I have often been a little embarrassed by how easy it is to follow but how often I have fallen short over the course of my life. There is likely not a ton of new information in this blog series, honestly, thats sort of the point. We don't need new info, we need to act on what we already know. If we were better at acting on what we knew was good for us we would exercise regularly, eat healthy, get 8 hours or sleep, and floss regularly...but we don't. This process is the process we have found to be the most helpful in creating healthy patterns in our relationship so that we ensure we experience more meaning in our marriage, and we want the same for you!
In our Marriage Prep and Marriage Refresh programs we help couples have the most important conversations they can have for a meaningful marriage. This marriage vision conversation is a part of those programs. We also plan to share all of these resources in a free webinar in February to help couples start the conversation. The webinar will be more of a workshop so that you can discuss things together and learn more about how to have this conversation year after year.
P.S. Stay tuned for more information on a free webinar following this blog series just in time for Valentine's Day.
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