Welcome back to another week where we are doing the work of digging in and building a marriage that we love and this week I have a special episode to help you start the conversation of future planning in your marriage.
To be 100% vulnerable, I came up with the topic for this class in the MIDDLE of a conversation I started during a Saturday coffee with my husband. One of the things I had been focusing on in my marriage the last half of 2021 was examining why I wasn’t opening up and doing some of the things I wanted to do in my marriage and challenging myself to do it anyway.
For me, one of the things that I had been yearning to do for years, was do a better job of mapping out our future and asking questions, being curious and openly dreaming together, which we often did but that is where it ended, they were just “options” of what our future could look like. What I know now is that dreams are just wishes and that just talking about them was not creating anything concrete. Last year I started taking my desires into my own hands and invited Jeff to come along, sometimes he did and sometimes he didn’t but when I look back we created some fun time together. Activities that I had previously held back on because I was letting myself believe a story that they weren’t important.
What I realized is that I was expecting Jeff to take the lead and that sort of got to me because I know that I’m more of the planner, I’m more of the one who holds on the importance of our dreams and that I actually love the planning of things but often I see that I have these thoughts about my plans – that he isn’t interested, that planning is stupid. So instead I started to listen to what I wanted and I started taking steps towards those things and stopped wondering what Jeff was thinking because what I know is that one day in our future he is going to say thank you and of course, even if he doesn’t I will be thanking myself for taking care of my future self.
So prior to our coffee conversation I had been reflecting over my past year and starting to think about what I wanted to create in 2022 in all areas of my life and this had normally been stuff I would keep to myself. I again had thoughts that this wasn’t important, that it was a waste of time, but what I realized is how important it really is BECAUSE I thought it was important! When we actually map out our steps to getting closer to our goals our goals grow because we learn so much along the way AND I wanted to stop thinking about his thoughts!
So what I want to do today is help you begin this conversation while also learning that these techniques can be applied to any conversation you want to have.
- Get you started having conversations that are important to you and help you build shared meaning in your marriage while taking a look at why you aren’t having these conversations
- Learn how you are a major influencer in your marriage and that your voice matters
- Understand that these conversations don’t need to be long drawn out, heavy discussions
- Have you start doing the things that you want to be doing in your marriage
The question I want to ask you is why you are waiting for your spouse to take the directive in any of your conversations? Why are we women always putting our desire for connection and conversation in the hands of our spouses when it is us who want the conversation? We can stick to the story that he’s not starting conversations because he’s not interested or not good at conversation or we can take our desires into our own hands.
Why do we argue with what is happening when we are sitting in silence wishing they would start the conversation already when we could just enjoy the silence or start our own conversation.
The first thing I want to talk about is taking steps – I think that often we have this grand idea of what a process should look like that we get overwhelmed in the details and then we walk away frustrated. What my main goal for you today is to start becoming aware of this conversation that you want to have, to stop waiting for them to read your mind and to create what you want for yourself, even if it feels messy. I don’t want you to get caught up in the details, I want it to be fun for you.
This conversation could look different for all of you – start where you are:
- IF you are a goal setter and have a process for mapping out your future then the conversation would look a little different than if you don’t do any goal setting but want to.
- Make it fun and be curious – talk about yourself and what you are discovering about yourself and what you want to create this year in your life and then ask them their thoughts around the things you are thinking about. Ask them questions about what they might want to create for themselves – WITHOUT and agenda around their response – LET THE CONVERSATION BE FUN, just that, a conversation, no right or wrong answers here
- Remember that if you haven’t had this conversation before or if you have and it hasn’t gone the way you hoped it would that their perspective is different from yours, they may not be in the headspace that you’re in so what if this was a conversation to help them get thinking forward?
If you’re new to goal setting let’s first get you started by thinking about your own life priorities. Take a few minutes to ask yourself some of these questions:
- Look back at the past year and write down everything that has been going well, all the things you love about your life right now.
- With these areas of your life you are having success in, what do you think the keys are to this success?
- Then ask yourself what you think is missing in your life right now and write down things you’d like to improve in your life
- Now look at what you wrote down and what stands out for you.
Make this simple – you don’t need a whole day brainstorm session, don’t make it difficult, there are no wrong answers here!
You could also take a few minutes to think about a few of your top-life priorities, if you could create one thing in each category at the end of this year what might it be, again, make it simple. Here are a few of the areas of your life you might consider:
- personal life
- physical health
- marital life
- family life
- career/business life
- spiritual life
- financial life
With each of these consider writing down one goal for the year in one area and then what you will do in the first quarter to reach that goal. If you are new to goal planning start small with steps you can achieve so you build belief in yourself. I love coming up with one main goal with other small ones underneath it so that I have one main thing to focus on all year.
Then I want to encourage you to mark your calendar with two days a month where you will take a few minutes to ask yourself how you are doing with the goals you set for yourself. You can ask your spouse to join you but take the lead here for yourself. You are doing this planning for YOU and are sharing it with your spouse, asking them to join you. Don’t stop doing what you want to do because you perceive them to think it’s ridiculous. After you take time to ask yourself some of the following questions then you have material for another future planning conversation:
- How are you sticking to your priorities?
- How are you not sticking to your priorities?
- How are you feeling about what is working?
- How will you get better between now and your next check-in date at keeping your priorities at the forefront of your mind?
- Write down a specific plan/commitment that you are willing to implement over the next two weeks.
First, I want you to realize that if this is new to you that it’s quite likely that you will forget about the things you wrote down as priorities – no big deal. You might even forget to do your check-ins until months later, that’s ok too. You are developing new patterns and it might take a bit of investigating to figure out what works. Again, there is no right or wrong here, just get started and learn what works for you. Then I want you to share all of your discoveries with your partner – YOU are planning the time, the conversation, it doesn’t mean that you have to set a date with your spouse though you may choose to. You don’t have to say “I want to talk about our future planning on Saturday evening,” though depending on where you are on the future planning spectrum, you might so that if they want, they can start thinking about things they want to talk about. Otherwise, it’s just you starting a conversation about how your goal planning is going and asking some conversation-starting questions to get them thinking about what they want to create.
The exercise is an exercise in stepping out of your comfort zone and starting to talk about things that matter to you.
This here is the work we do in AwakenYou in your marriage, my 1:1 coaching program. We start with ourselves, taking a look at the things we want in our marriage and then looking at how we’re waiting for our partners to take the lead in what we think is important in our own lives. What we learn how to do is take our own life into our own hands and start providing what we want for ourselves so that we can live the life and marriage of our dreams.
I am a life coach who works with individuals to break down relationship barriers by awakening their true selves. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage. If you’re ready to take your life and your love relationship to the next level, then schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s decide together if this is your next step to creating the life you’ve been dreaming of.