When you are married, you have the special opportunity to look toward the future with anticipation. Sometimes that involves making day-to-day plans, and other times it involves planning something really wonderful for two years from now.
Take time to do the following:
- Plan ahead.
- Discuss your goals.
- Anticipate together.
When you share your life with somebody, there are many things that require you to think ahead. You need to schedule fun activities together, make a budget, anticipate potential difficulties, and decide where to go on vacation. Make sure you set aside time every month for planning these things.
Why is planning for the future important?
Planning for the future is integral in creating a strong and lasting relationship. There are many reasons why planning your future can strengthen a relationship, a primary one being how it brings partners together.
Thinking back to when you first began dating, perhaps without realising, you most likely included one another in your plans regularly. By talking and discussing these early future plans together, whether big or small, it creates a bond. There is no reason for this bond to stop developing and producing plans is a steady way of maintaining a romantic relationship.
The engagement season is often full of optimism and dreams for your future. It’s also a significant time to start (or continue) conversations about what you’d like your new combined future to look like, especially regarding hopes or assumptions for how things will change once you’re wed. Do you expect that he won’t play video games with his friends as often or that she is prepared to stop online shopping to save for the new house? Talk about it.
- What do you see in the way I live right now that you think may need to change in our future?
- What are your goals and how are you currently working toward them? (Use this question to talk about finances, education and career aspirations.)
- What are your perspectives on saving and stewarding finances?
- How do you envision our daily home life, including household responsibilities and parenting roles?
Dating life offers a variety of fun experiences. Most date nights don’t center around a trip to the grocery store or cleaning the bathrooms. As you begin planning for your future marriage together, it’s helpful to identify what life pleasures are priorities to each of you so you can plan accordingly.
- What creature comforts are important to you?
- Would you rather spend money on food, clothes, décor or activities?
- What lifestyle choices are most important to you (travel, ideal home, car, generosity)?
- How do you define career success? For example, is a fulfilling job more important than financial success? Would you rather have more free time and less money — or more money and less free time?
Marriage turns you and your spouse into an immediate family. Use this season to plan for how your new priority family unit will change your family relationships and how your family may grow in the future.
- What role do you see our extended families playing in our daily lives?
- What’s hard or concerning for you about the family dynamics you’re marrying into?
- What family traits, cycles, or traditions would you like to continue in our family? Are there any you hope to begin instead?
- What dreams do you have for growing our family (including children, pets, timelines and family roles)?
Create a budget for monthly expenses
Although they say that “home is where the heart is,” we’re pretty sure that you’ll agree that home is also where your house is.
In other words, to be financially secure, it’s important to make sure that you have enough money set aside to cover your monthly household expenses.
This includes your mortgage/rent, utilities, house insurance, and also enough money for repairs and home-related emergencies.
Once you have a good idea of what your overall budget is, try and save twice that amount. That way, you’ll always be one step ahead.
Creating a monthly household budget is one of the best advice for managing finances after marriage.
Some other common benefits of budgeting include: better planning for the future, more authority over your finances and marriage problems, and reducing your debt or living debt-free
Have a savings account (two actually)
Every couple should have two savings accounts. One is an emergency fund of no less than $1,500. This can take care of unexpected things like if your car breaks down or even if you lose your job and you need a bit of a cushion.
The other is an account that’s devoted solely to your marriage. Money that you can use for a much-needed vacation or use on a romantic spa day for two of you.
Apart from the obvious benefit of earning interest on your savings, a saving account would also prove beneficial in terms of easy access to money, limited or no risk, the money gets automatically debited to your account, and you can always link it with your checking whenever you want to.
You can also try combining finances before marriage rather than combining finances after marriage; this way, you can further secure yourself from any unexpected event in the future.
Dream big about your future together
While living in the present is great, you need to dream big about your future as well. Setting goals on how you want to grow together 5 years, 10 years and even 20 years down the road is something that you need to dream and plan! Having a lifelong marriage is the goal, so this type of planning is imperative to succeed.
If you are not a big visionary or dreamer, that’s okay. Over time as you talk about what you want your life to look like in the future, you’ll get the hang of it. And it’s likely that one of you is a dreamer anyhow which is a great thing.
In our marriage we are both dreamers and while that is awesome, it certainly has it challenges. We have to work together to make sure we don’t spend too much time dreaming and that we are putting our plans into action. Over the years we’ve found a great balance and it works wonderfully well as we set our marriage goals together.
Think about both the short and long term
Discussing the larger goals in life is essential. However, those smaller plans in between shouldn’t be overlooked. As the saying goes, it is the little things that count in life, and much of our happiness is created from these smaller encounters and fond memories.
As well as producing long-term plans, make sure you have smaller plans to look forward to and that you are regularly including one another into your lives.
Get a retirement plan together
There are a lot of published reports indicating that many people don’t ever expect to retire. Not because they don’t want to but because they can’t afford to.
If you feel like you and your other half are two of those individuals, there’s no time like the present to put a retirement plan together. There is a wealth of information online that can walk you through the steps.
There is nothing like living your life in the present, and it is even more amazing when you get to share your experiences with the one you love.
Counting Your Blessings
Your marriage has the potential to be the absolutely best part of your life. If you have begun to implement the ideas from this book, you probably feel closer to your spouse already! Just remember to always communicate with your spouse, be real partners in life, put time and energy into your relationship, be flexible, and commit one hundred percent to your marriage.
Being married is truly a wonderful blessing. You have memories to enjoy and help you through difficult times. You have the chance to enjoy your relationship every day. And you also have the chance to look forward to fun things in the future. Always remember to count your blessings and make the effort to maintain a stable, healthy relationship. Then you will always be able to look over at your spouse and say, “I am the luckiest person in the world to have you in my life!”