Marriage is exciting and fun. The thought of spending the rest of my life with the person I love gives me something to look forward to when I get married. I promised to myself that I would make my marriage my most enjoyable adventure. I will be his and he will be mine forever.
But I also know that marriage is about compromise, helping each other grow emotionally, building each other up, supporting individual dreams and aspirations, encouraging one another toward a passion or career that we both love, and constantly communicating to figure things out.
Making Marriage Goals
The best way to keep yourself aligned with a lovely and happy marriage is to set consistent goals. It is not about a marriage that meets high expectations. Marriage goals are created and planned by couples to make sure that they are both in sync when it comes to your direction in their marriage.
How do I do it?
If you worked or had a career in project management like me, then you will have an idea on how to set marriage goals. The principle that we will implement came from George T. Doran. He worked at the Washington Water Power Company. He wrote a paper in the November 1981 issue of the Management Review.
The title of his paper is “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives.” Although this principle is generally applied to business, management, and industries, we are now going to apply it to setting marriage goals.
What is SMART?
SMART is an acronym that we will use in setting our yearly marriage goals, which are crucial to ensure that we can practically achieve and reach them. Setting goals is all about continuous improvement, just like in business. Once we accomplished a particular goal, we set new ones so that we see our marriage go from one level of success to another.
SMART is defined as:
T- Time- Related
You have to keep in mind that your goals must be as specific as possible. Setting goals that are too vague or too broad cannot be attained. Goals should be as clear as day so that both of you will exactly know that you actually accomplished it. The more specific it is, the better.
Example: if you put “I want to have a happy marriage,” this statement is just too wide and too generalized. Both of you will ask yourself and each other what it actually means.
Instead of writing this statement, you can put “Change the master’s bedroom paint after six months.” If seeing your bedroom with a different color every six months is something you want, then you must put this goal on your list.
You need to devise a way to measure your success. For marriage goals, I think it is 0% or 100%. It is either you do it or you don’t. If you can’t check a goal off your marriage list, then you can rate that particular goal as 0% done. As the number of goals you do not achieve increases, you will see more threats to your marriage.
You can include specific goals and have a separate column as a checklist for them. Since we already know that the measure is either 0% or 100%, you can easily see the rate of success as more goals reach their deadlines. You have to take note of the recent goals that just passed. Work things out with your partner in order to mark that goal postponed for a later date, or just decide to forfeit that goal until the next time.
This means that the goal can be assigned to either one or both of you. You should be clear on this. Some tasks may actually speak for themselves, but you should still choose a designated person to do it.
To do this, you have three people to choose from. These are you, your spouse, and both. Put another column next to your goals and write Designated Person as a header. If you know who the assigned family member is, you can work with that person to finish that goal.
Have you ever dreamed of having a unicorn as a gift for Christmas? Or getting a new car even though you are not working yet? These dreams are unrealistic. You cannot put goals that are not realistic at all. It will be impossible to accomplish them. At the end of the day, you will just feel more stressed and worried about not achieving any goals. And this feeling of anxiety might leak into your marriage and your relationship.
The best thing to do here is to talk to your spouse about it. What may seem logical and attainable for you could actually be too difficult for your partner. Before you set goals, you must include your husband or wife in the planning process. It will make your goals more feasible and more realistic to realize and check off.
Your goals must be time-related. This means that you must set a deadline for all your goals. This will help you quantify whether you are actually progressing or not. By knowing how many of the goals you set are finished in the list, you can determine the level of success that you, as a married couple, are having.
Example: You cannot just set “I want to have a happier marriage in the next year.” This goal is too ambiguous and unclear to accomplish. You should instead put “Have 12 date nights in 3 months.” By setting a time range, you will see how faithful you both are in your set goals.
Now here are possible goals that you may include in your Goal List. Remember, you have to be SMART about it. It must be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related.
Essential Yearly Marriage Goals That Will Improve Your Relationship
First Month After Wedding Goals
- Know the love language of your spouse
- Make a list of your partner’s likes and dislikes in terms of food, behavior, responses, and others
- Visit each other’s families to bond with them
- Buy furniture, bed sheets, mattresses, and other stuff for the house or apartment
- Set your monthly, quarterly, yearly, and other time-bound goals
- Know your spouse’s bucket list
- Take note of your partner’s career prospects and dreams
- Know more about the other side’s family
- Make a list of your assets and liabilities individually
- Four date nights per month
- Clean the garage
- Clean the house
- Set time for personal growth
- Give time to each other to be with friends and family
- Date the family
- Monthly evaluation of goals achieved and possible modification
- Reevaluate your status in terms of your goals
- Have a meeting to check your physical, mental, and emotional health
- Have quantifiable couple exercise goals (celebrate your wins)
- Travel at least once a year (You can put in details for your travel for the current year – specify the place or country, the amount of money you need, the date of your travel, and estimate expenses that you will incur in your travel)
- Set aside a budget for a major vacation (This goal can be distributed in the monthly or quarterly checklist)
- Prepare for your anniversary celebration
- Prepare for each other’s birthdays (Put a notes section with a gift wish list)
- Yearly assessment of what happened in the previous year
Other Time-bound Goals
- Move and live abroad in five years
- Get a new house in 10 years
- Plan to have a baby a year after marriage
- Find a new job after keeping a specific amount of money as a buffer for the family
- Finish a college education for your kids
- Buy a new car or bigger vehicle to accommodate more people
Creating your marriage goals is a continuous and evolving process. You can make changes and add more goals to the list as you go along with your marriage. The key here is communication and allowing yourselves to adapt to what works and what does not.
To make this marriage goal-setting a success, you have to both agree on it. If you are the only one who prepared them, there is a high probability that your spouse will not follow them. But if you both want to make your marriage work, then you should both decide to set your goals.
You also have to take these goals seriously and follow them consistently. A successful marriage needs support from both of you to really delve into each goal and accomplish them up to the minute details. Following and checking off the goals can guarantee a more mature, happier, and a more satisfying marriage for you.