Making a Vision for Your Marriage

To be successful at anything you have to know where you are heading. A marriage needs a vision just like a business needs a mission statement. Here is a step by step plan to get you and your marriage on track. (This is an excerpt from a longer class, please contact us at the Jewish Marriage Institute if you would like to learn more.)

Step 1: Give yourselves one hour of uninterrupted time

Step 2: Spend a few minutes thinking about some of these questions to get you in the right frame of mind …
What kind of marriage partners do we want to be?
How do we want to treat each other?
How do we want to resolve our differences?
How do we want to handle our finances?
What kind of parents do we want to be?
What principles do we want to teach our children to help them prepare for adulthood and to lead responsible, caring lives?
How do we help develop the potential talent of each child?
What kind of discipline do we want to use with our children?
What roles (earning, financial management, housekeeping, and so on)
will each of us have?
How can we best relate to each other’s families?
What traditions do we bring with us from the families in which we were. What traditions do we want to keep and create?
What intergenerational traits or tendencies are we happy or unhappy with, we make changes?
How do we want to give back?

Step 3: Take out two sheets of paper, one for each of you. Working separately, write a series of short sentences that describe your personal vision of the deeply satisfying marriage you would like to have. Include things that you might think are obvious and include qualities you already have as well as qualities or behaviors you wish you had. Write each sentence in the present tense, as if it were already happening.

For example: “We have fun together,” “We have a meaningful sexual relationship,” “We are loving parents,” “We are affectionate with each other.”

Make all your items positive statements. Write “We settle our differences peacefully” rather than “We don’t fight.”

Step 4: Share your ideas. Note the items that you have in common and underline them. (It doesn’t matter if you have used different words, as long as the general idea is the same.) If your partner has written sentences that you agree with but did not think of yourself, add them to your list. For the moment, ignore items that are not shared.

NOTE: What happens if you have loads of things on your list that are different. It’s not a problem, they could be things are really part of your personal vision and not the vision for your relationship.

Step 5: Now turn to your own expanded list and rank all the sentences (including the ones that are not shared) with a number from 1 to 5 according to its importance to you, with 1 being “very important” and 5 “not so important.”

Step 6: Circle the two items that are most important to you.

Step 7: Put a check mark beside those items that you think would be most difficult for the two of you to achieve.

Step 8: Now work together to design a mutual relationship vision. Start with the items that you both agree are most important. Put a check mark by those items that you both agree would be difficult to achieve. At the bottom of the list, write items that are relatively unimportant. If you have items that are a source of conflict between you, see if you can come up with a compromise statement that satisfies both of you. If not, leave the item off your combined list.

Step 9: Post this list where you can see it easily. Read it every day. Once a week, read it aloud to each other.

Good luck, you have the ability to make a better marriage

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