Planning for the future with your spouse is very important

We Have a Dream – Planning for the future with your spouse is very important. Thinking about where you would like to be several years down the road not only will help you achieve your dreams, it will help you work together as a team to get there. In this chapter, we will help you think about your goals and will show you ways to take steps to achieve them. We will also show you how to use a goal planner. By the end of this chapter, you will have stopped worrying about the future and already started planning for it.

➤ Determining family goals ➤ Planning community goals ➤ Establishing personal goals ➤ Using a goal planner ➤ Prioritizing your goals

Creating a Vision Together

It’s easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that you lose sight of your goals. Most people have hopes for their future, but they don’t do anything to reach them. You need to plan ahead to have any chance of reaching your goals. Your life and your marriage will be enriched if you strive toward things that are important to you. By planning ahead and working hard, you will be able to reach your goals.

Family Goals

Setting family goals might seem unnecessary if you are regularly spending time with them. But it’s so easy for weeks, months, or years to go by and not do what you had intended. You might want certain things to be different in your family, but you haven’t done the things you need to do to reach that goal. Planning ahead will allow you to work steadily toward achieving your family goals.

Marriage Goals

After reading this book, you probably have many goals for yourself and your spouse. You know that one of the most important things in your relationship is to spend time together on a regular basis.

Some of your goals will take time to reach. For instance, you might be working on communicating better or forgiving more easily. You might be committed to being more dependable. Or you might be trying to be more efficient at work so you have more time for your spouse. Be patient and keep working toward your goal.

You might have other sorts of goals for your marriage, such as planning for your dreams. You might have cer- tain dreams that are completely out of your reach. For instance, you might want to quit working and live in a villa in France. But there are plenty of smaller, more realistic dreams you might have that you can realize

if you plan for them. You might want to take a trip to Europe with your spouse but never have enough money in your budget. If you plan that trip for five years from now and are careful to save regularly toward it, you will be able to go.

Children

Spending time with your children is central to your relationship with them. If you have children at home, set aside time to spend with them, both during the week and on the weekends. You will never regret spending time with your children on a regular basis, but in later years, you will probably regret not spending enough time with them. If your children are already grown, keep in regular contact with them.

Specific goals are also useful in your relationship with children. With younger children, you might commit
to reading a bedtime story every night. If you have schoolage children, you might consider coaching their soccer team or volunteering in their classroom. As your children get older, you might work on a hobby together. Your children will remember and appreciate this time together.

Extended Family

Your relationship with your extended family is important. You might have goals such as getting along better with your in-laws or making amends with your parents. You might also have a goal such as spending quality time with your siblings.

Contributing to Your Community

Now that you know how to have a great marriage, you are ready to share yourselves with others! It is inspiring to be around a married couple with a good relationship. The husband and wife together are a source of strength and commitment. They serve as a role model of partnership. A successful husband-wife team knows how to work together, and getting involved with the community allows others to benefit from the strength of their relationship. Even if you are incredibly busy, you should take some time every month to contribute to your community. It will help you grow as a person and will give you a feeling of satisfaction. There are many ways you can be extremely valuable to others:

  • ➤  Volunteer to tutor students at your local school.
  • ➤  Become a Big Brother or Sister.
  • ➤  Get involved with a local shelter.
  • ➤  Give money to charity.

    Whatever you can do to help will be a benefit to your community and will make you a better person.

Personal Goals

When you are married and have a family, it’s still important to keep in mind personal goals. Your goals might be small, such as reading a new book every month, or they might be larger, such as developing a new hobby or learning a new skill. Personal goals will help you grow as a person and will enrich your life and your marriage.

The more realistic your expectations are about the future, the more likely it is that you will meet your goals. But there is a very fine line between setting goals so high that you are always disappointed and not reaching high enough to maximize your potential.

Marriage Q & A’s

Q: Now that I’m married, is it still okay for me to have individual goals?

A: Yes. It’s healthy for you and important to your marriage to have individual goals. When you grow as a person, your relationship will grow, too.

Expanding Your Mind

It’s very common for people to look back and say they can’t believe they have not read a book in several years or learned anything new. This is not healthy. Human be- ings are naturally curious and need to have their minds nourished. Setting goals for yourself will ensure that you actually do expose yourself to new ideas. Take a class to learn about a new subject or join a movie club to discuss films. Subscribe to a news magazine and read it regularly to learn more about the world around you.

One way to make sure you’ll read a book a month is to join a book club that meets regularly. It’s very fulfilling to read a book and talk about it with other people when you are finished. If you can’t find a book club to join, start one! You’ll be surprised at how many people are interested.

Hobbies

Developing a hobby is useful for many reasons. It can help relieve you of the stresses of modern life. It can be a skill that you develop and enjoy after you retire. And it’s also a way to meet other people who share similar interests. Many hobbies are project-oriented and give you a sense of accomplishment when you finish them.

If you don’t already have a hobby, think about finding one you really like in the next year. Start by taking a class, perhaps in one of the following areas:

➤ Gardening ➤ Painting ➤ Photography ➤ Playing a musical instrument ➤ Crocheting or knitting ➤ Woodworking

➤ Model building
➤ Sewing and needlework
➤ Sculpting
➤ Dancing
➤ Fixing up old automobiles

Once you find a hobby you like, set goals for your- self. For instance, if you like to garden, commit to learning about two new plants each year. You might even have the long-term goal of entering your flowers into a contest.

Taking Care of Your Health

Getting regular medical and dental care is important, but many people forget to schedule regular checkups. Eating a healthy diet is another useful health goal. And exercising is an important part of a healthy, well balanced life. For exercise, consider walking, running, or bicycling. If you are sports-oriented, play tennis, squash, or racquetball regularly or join a basketball or soccer team. Remember that the healthier you are, the better you’ll feel and the more able you’ll be to reach your other goals.

Goal Planner

Thinking about your goals five years in the future will help you make decisions about how you spend your time and energy now. It’s much easier to reach big goals when you are able to work slowly and steadily toward them. Answer the following ques- tions:

  1. What are three things you would like to improve in your marriage in five years?
  2. Is there somewhere you would like to travel, or something expensive you would like to purchase, within five years?
  3. If you have children, describe how you would like your relationship with them to be in five years.
  4. How would you like your relationship with your in-laws to be in five years?
  5. What could you improve in the way you deal with your parents and siblings?
  6. Looking back five years from now, how would you like to have contributed to your community?
  7. What are some books you would like to have read five years from now?
  8. Are there any hobbies you would like to develop within five years?
  1. Is there an area you would like to develop with your spouse? For instance, spiritually, artistically, a specific skill, or practical knowledge?
  2. What could you do to improve your health?

Take the answer to each question and write down the following:

  1. One thing you can start doing now to reach the goal
  2. How much time per month it will take
  3. How much money per month it will cost

Prioritizing What You Want

If you have $1,000 to spend on a vacation, you need to decide whether you want to spend it on an extrava- gant weekend away with your spouse, a one-week car trip throughout the state, or a one-month camping excursion. All three options might sound good to you, but you only have a certain amount of time and a fixed amount of money. You need to decide on the va- cation you want and set aside the proper amount of money for it.

It’s usually easy to see why you need to prioritize your budget, but it can be more difficult to prioritize other things. For instance, your goal might be to reach a cer- tain level at your work, but another goal might be to spend more time with your children at home. Those two goals might be incompatible. If you try to reach both of them, you’ll probably be disappointed and ex- hausted. At an extreme, you might even ruin your chances of reaching either goal.

The Least You Need to Know

  • ➤  It’s useful to think about what sort of relationship you want with your children in the future. Then you can think about things you can do now to reach that goal, such as spending more time with them.
  • ➤  It’s important to define your personal goals and put time and effort into them. You will have a fuller, richer marriage if you keep growing as a person.
  • ➤  Think about your goals for five years from now and determine what you should start doing to reach them. Consider how much time and money they will re- quire, and figure out what you can do right away to accomplish your future goals.
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