As this year comes to a close, it is important to reflect, not on what we lost but what we gained. 2020 was not a complete loss. Most marriages weathered the storm and are better than ever. And though there are others who still find themselves struggling, all hope is not lost. I ask you to join me in being hopeful about what’s to come, and together let’s all look forward to a successful marriage in the new year. In this article, we will explore effective and realistic ways for preparing your marriage for success in 2021.
Preparing for a Successful Marriage in the New Year
In This Article:
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Your Marriage
You have likely set goals for your career and personal development. Why not set strategic goals for your marriage in 2021? S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. Using this technique is useful when you think about what you want for your marriage. Breaking your goals down ensures you’ll likely have greater success in achieving them.
Together, with your spouse, start with the “S” in the S.M.A.R.T goal and decide what you want specifically to happen in your marriage. Just wanting a better marriage means nothing if both partners aren’t clear on what that means. A better marriage must be broken down into specific actions. Does your “better marriage” include you and your partner not shutting down when you are upset, but communicating through your anger? Or does it include you being more supportive of your spouse by taking on one of their daily chores? Whatever it is that you need to make your marriage better, be clear so that you and your spouse are on the same page. The “M” in the S.M.A.R.T. Goal technique means you can measure the success of the goal. You should be able to tell if you both are heading in the right direction by paying attention to your actions and determining if they align with what you said you wanted to achieve. The “A” focuses on how realistic the goal may be for you and your partner to attain, at this time. There’s nothing wrong with stretch goals, but be sure to give yourselves the time and space needed to go for it. The “R” in the technique is all about your goal being relevant to your marriage at this time. There might be something more pressing for your relationship, and it might make more sense to focus on that at the moment. Last, the “T” focuses on the timeline for accomplishing that goal. Together, with your spouse, put timelines next to each goal you write down as a couple. You will find that the timeline puts the necessary urgency behind the goals, which means you and your spouse will feel the energy you need to get it done. Being clear on your goals will surely prepare you for a successful marriage in the new year.
Recognize Those Roadblocks
I wish achieving a goal was as easy as simply setting it and going for it. You can create all the goals in the world and actually have good intentions for reaching them. However, if you ignore the potential threats to those goals, you are likely to get stuck and feel disappointment and frustration. So before you and your partner push forward, think about what could get in your way of having a successful marriage in the new year. Think about the challenges you may have faced this year. Recognize them and don’t be afraid to discuss them together. The truth is there are ugly parts in marriage and they don’t disappear just because a couple decides not to discuss them. In order for you to be successful, talk about what doesn’t work. Those bad habits both you and your spouse possess are one thing for sure that can prevent you from being successful in reaching your goals. You can’t pretend those don’t exist. Discuss them together and create action plans for how they will be addressed. If yours is the goal we mentioned previously about not shutting down when you are upset, be prepared to address the behaviors associated with that. Think about why that behavior exists for you and your spouse. And be prepared to come up with a reasonable solution for how you will handle it moving forward. Do that with everything that shows up on your list that might threaten your marriage success for 2021.
Establish Your Village
I cannot imagine getting through 2020 personally without all the love and support that surrounds me and my family. I found that connection with my loved ones, this year, was more important than ever. Friends and family and other couples who we learn from are in our village. I believe strongly in that village. 2021 will be a clean slate and an opportunity for you and your spouse to reimagine what your marriage could be; what it could look and feel like. In designing that image, it is helpful for you and your partner to tap into your village when needed. They are a useful resource that can offer guidance, support, and encouragement through the great times and even those moments that are the hardest. From social media marriage groups to that aunt who has been married for over 30 years, these are spaces where you can find wisdom. Think about the new year and what you need and what may have been missing this year. Ask yourself the tough questions and plan to tap into the resources you have at your fingertips. Your village has likely experienced similar things to what you and your partner have or will experience. It’s healthy and healing to discuss how others may have navigated through having a successful marriage in the new year. Again, this year has been challenging for a great many of us, so learning from other couples who have been successful in love, especially this year, is good for you and your spouse.
The arrival of 2021 is the new beginning we are all desperately waiting on. It’s an opportunity to start fresh, wipe the slate clean, and recommit to our most prized relationship, our marriage. Preparing to have a successful marriage in the new year begins with your thinking. Start thinking positively about what your marriage could be and what you want it to be. Then, set your S.M.A.R.T. goals, put on your armor for facing those roadblocks, and then tap into your village, when needed.
BMWK, how are you preparing to have a successful marriage in the new year?