Every Couple Needs a 'Marriage Plan' to Make Their Relationship Last

Love & Sex 11

Creating a marriage action planAfter last week's test of my marriage, I decided that both my husband and I needed to ramp up our efforts. Or lack thereof. There had to be something beyond the talking and the marriage counseling.

We needed to create a marriage plan -- an action plan. Immediately.

Sure, it sounds completely unromantic, but it's way better than the fighting, the lack of communication, and whatever else might be bogging down a relationship. Here's how ours works:

Creating a marriage action plan is as simple as it sounds, but for us, it was a way to hold each other accountable for our wants and needs in the relationship.

And it's not just that desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if your marriage is perfectly fabulous now, having an action plan, or a set of goals for yourself and each other, can really help keep the love alive.

But it's also because for my husband and me, having something written down that we could both refer to just makes it more real and, somehow, more important. If we're going to make things work, we have to treat our relationship as a priority.

So first, we created goals for ourselves as a couple, which included finding a new, more flexible therapist. Unfortunately, while we both like our current marriage counselor, her limited office hours were difficult for us to work around given my husband's unpredictable schedule.

We also decided that we need to have one date night a month. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. We'd rotate on planning and coordinating it, but it had to happen. 

And we also realized that we needed to have at least one night a week where we were completely unplugged and just hanging out at the house together.

Then separately, we wrote down a list of the things we want and need from the other, which ranged from big issues like talking first before making large decisions for the family (yes, I know it seems obvious, but not for everyone) to smaller issues like "a kiss goodnight every night." 

Whatever happens to be in your action plan, the point is that by writing it out or typing it up, and then signing it, you're agreeing to try. Both of you, together.

And if one person doesn't stick to it, or fails to live up to expectations, you've got a piece of paper, not just some reference to a heated conversation you had a few weeks ago (and who can remember that with four kids and little sleep?).

And if you do stick with it, then you've got the pleasure of crossing items off your action plan, and making new goals for a relationship that you thought might not make it.

Do you have a marriage action plan of sorts?


Image via Beneath_B1ue_Skies/Flickr

marriage, divorce, commitment


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the3Rs the3Rs

Will be married 18 years in August.  Have never had such a "plan" and see no need for it.  But, if it works for you - great.

nonmember avatar Winona S.

1) sincere respect for your partner
2) empathy for their tough times, which are your hard times
3) honest desire to make your marriage work
4) willingness to tie a bigger knot and hang on
5) copious quantities of make up sex (even when you are not mad at him)

Proof is in the pudding after more than 1/3 century being married

nonmember avatar mel

I had no idea making a relationship was so hard.. until I made the commitment to make it work. I thought it would just happen with the right person . My parents are still married over 30 yrs later. They don't work on their relationship like I work on mine. I don't know how they are happy. They are why I thought you didn't have to work at it because they just don't. Not that they fight they just coexist and give each other minimal attention and the tv/computer maximum attention. Honestly me and my husband ' fight ' sometimes very dramatically. But its never left unsolved and we always talk it out and come to an understanding. The fight and passion does show how much we care and want to love. I don't ever remember my parents putting in that effort. Once again just because your married for a long @ss time and don't fight doesn't always mean its an amazing relationship.

Jscot... Jscott1216

Honestly if you have to put it in writing that you should love, respect, be honest, and caring, etc in your marriage than I believe there is something wrong. Those things are what make up a relationship/marriage and if you have to remind yourself with a piece of paper than you're doing it wrong. I don't need a marriage plan and I don't plan on making one ever. Good luck with that

Rosas... RosasMummy

writing those things down is part of addressing what's wrong. some people naturally fall into a dynamic that works when they get married/have children/move in together and other people who do love each other just as much really have to wok at the practicalities of that, or they love ech other but have very different ways of approaching a relationship so have to work on how to make ech other feel positive. For example my fiancé isolates himself when he is upset and I really need someone to listen and talk to me when I am upset. Bcos of that, I won't leave him alone when he's upset and he does not ever come to me whn I am upset. that is both of us doing what we think is the thing the other person needs and is actually te opposite. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be together, it means life isnt a fairytale for everyone

bleed... bleedingheart8D

I give you a lot of credit for wanting to make your marriage work and for putting the time and effort into it. Most people can't say the same. Good for you and your husband. Some people could really learn from you.

good luck

Tom Gallagher

Interesting to see this post ... my wife and I have been using a 'marriage planner' tool that I put together many years ago (we got married in 1984). We just finished taking a weekend away to update the plan for the next 10 years. It's not a legal document, that is not the intention of it. It has, however, been really been helpful to us over the years in several areas. We have reviewed and updated it a number of times (~ every 5 years), and it has helped us to prepare for events like college for our children, and to help us better define our hopes and dreams. Now in our 50s it is becoming a tool to help us think about and prepare for 'life after work'. It is still a ways off, but at least we are beginning to put some framework together that we are looking forward to.

the4m... the4mutts

Whatever works for you!

But for us, no. It seems very silly.

nonmember avatar LG

My husband and I decided to not ever consider divorce in our marriage- it's not even a remote possibility, so the only solution is to work out our problems.

Also, we say NO to "woman lies" (you know- "I'm fine", "It's ok" when it's not... that type of thing) and that makes us stay honest.

We don't take more than 20min between a disagreement and resolving it- after learning that we had poor conflict resolving after a few fights early on.

We actively seek to keep each other's "love tanks" full- and check with them regularly to confirm that they are full.

We spend plenty of quality time together and have plenty of loving- even though we are tired most nights.

Marriage is definitely active- but if you set a plan, and then get discouraged when you don't keep up with "the perfect plan", just keep realistic. We will never be enough to satisfy the other person completely. We have to have Jesus Christ as our focus, and marriage will have the proper focus if we're following His example. Good luck!!

nonmember avatar Lydia

oh, and a marriage plan isn't silly AT ALL! Anyone who thinks that their marriage is unsinkable is bound for trouble! Every couple can benefit from reminders to love their spouse more- so you go! You spice up your marriage and keep loving the socks off your man! I would never shoot someone down for doing their best for their marriage. I'm sure you'll be an encouragement to many. <3

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