As a spaceship rocketing off on its voyage tends to adjust itself automatically along the way, so should we married folk as we careen through our lifetime together. The end goal for the ship is some far off point in space, whereas marriage has no true “end goal” (and please don’t say “it’s the perfect marriage”). Yet, we must acknowledge as always that marriage undergoes changes – some positive and some challenging; but, how do we navigate our way through the challenges and keep going? Let’s examine a simple 3 step process to recognize what the change means to our marriage and then how we can make it work to keep us rocketing our ships to our chosen love destinations.
Before we go on, let’s establish something concrete upfront about our marriages and the challenges we face: don’t change WHY we got married when challenges arrive, change
HOW YOU STAY married.
The “why” is the glue, it’s the bond that makes your marriage what it is in the world and to you. Some of us get married for the kids, some for the love, some joy, some faith … but ultimately, your “why” is your “why” and knowing its origin, speaking about it with each other frequently and owning it are a secret to long married lives together. Remember this message as we flesh out the meat of this process.
Our first step in addressing both positive and challenging changes has to do with the concept of a “plan”. In fact, businesses use this process every day in assessing how well they are doing with their plans. What, exactly, do you plan when a marriage challenge arises? You plan beforehand how you will address any challenge. What will you say to each other, and more importantly, how will you say it? This requires you to know your spouse, and his/her best ways to receive information from you. For instance, I prefer that my wife let me know about challenges after I’ve come home and relaxed a little, while I know she works best in the mornings when she is clear to think of that challenge, and that challenge alone. A change can ruin or strengthen a marriage, so planning how you talk to each other about it is a must if you are to get to the next step.
After you plan for the change/challenge, and you both know what you are dealing with, this step is an easy one to do, yet it’s one that often prevents marriages from resolving the issue. In this step, you must “do” something or take some type of action to resolve the challenge.
The spaceship has hundreds of mini and mighty computers that think at light speed to know what course correction is necessary when faced with a challenge along the trip. It cannot, however, make the course correction without taking some sort of action. It has to automatically execute the plan, sometimes before the astronaut even knows the action is needed. In the same fashion, husbands and wives need to execute their plans in order to get the resolution they desire. They must “do” something positive to get the result.
The final step in or course correction or change-handling process is a most-forgotten one for all of us: reviewing what we’ve done. When we “review” our challenge and the action we took to resolve it, we as a couple are prepared to repeat the correct “do” step in this process. What should you review? Review what works and what did not do as well. You should review how you both felt in discovering the challenge, in planning its resolution and how you felt about the outcome. Is it what you both wanted or did it come with compromises for one or the both of you? What makes this step powerful is that intrinsically, you both know this is the right thing to do and it feels great to know you have the tools and patience to work together with each other in resolving any future challenges.
Like the spaceship, our marriages are on a journey of discovery. Having the process to handle the corrections needed on the course is an added bonus to a great and happy marriage. Hopefully this knowledge will serve you both well.
Ellis Hubbard is a professional corporate speaker, trainer and coach – specializing his coaching practice with men who want to become “Happy Husbands”. You can reach him on Twitter - @happyhubbys or via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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