So we have already said that marriage is God’s idea and that it is a good idea. While that is completely true it does not change the fact that sometimes marriage is downright messy. Every marriage has it’s good days and it’s not so good days. When you put two imperfect people with two different perspectives on how marriage should be into a small space conflict is always a possibility. In fact, it is almost a guarantee.
First of all, I want to talk about how we get to that place of conflict. I think one way we get there is by having an unrealistic idea of what a real-life marriage looks like. I love a good fairy tale just like the next girl but the story always ends with they lived happily ever after.
How? How do they live happily ever after?
We never get to see that side of it. We don’t see that Prince Charming leaves his robe and sword laying all over the castle. We don’t see that some days Snow White, in fact, isn’t the fairest in the land, she’s a moody cup of crazy. We buy into the idea that “happily ever after” just happens. We buy into the idea that if “happily ever after” doesn’t just happen that we have made a mistake and should go looking somewhere else for it.
The truth is we can have a “happily ever after” but we have to put in the time and work for it. We have to forget all of our preconceived notions about what marriage should be and create the marriage we want.
One of the ways we can do that is by beginning with the end in mind.
You may have heard this phrase before. This is one of the habits Stephen Covey talks about in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. So how does one “begin with the end in mind”?
According to Google~Begin with the end in mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.
I think we can start this by sitting down with our finance’ or our spouses and finding out what each other wants out of the relationship. What is the final destination for your relationship? This would also be a great opportunity to dream together, set goals and guidelines together. I believe every marriage needs a road map for it to be successful.
My husband and I love to travel and we travel very well together.
The reason we travel so well together is-
- We both know where we are going (we have an ultimate destination)
- I have no problem letting my husband drive because I know that he will lead me to the right destination. (trust is so important)
- We make intentional plans that will make our trip enjoyable. (rest stops, attractions, and snacks.)
We do all of the planning before the trip every begins. In fact, Alex usually spends weeks planning out our course. Because of all this work we always have great vacations.
What would it look like if you did this intentional planning in your marriage?
By sitting down together and establishing this road map you can guarantee that you both will be heading in the same direction. You can be intentional about making your everyday life with each other enjoyable. With appropriate communication and planning, you will arrive at your destination of a happily ever after marriage.
So what should this road map look like? Honestly, it will be different for every couple but below is a part of our road map for marriage. Hopefully, this will help you start yours.
- God is always number 1, He comes before and is included in everything.
- We go to church together every Sunday.
- A divorce is NEVER an option. (Alex and I took this to an extreme. We do not even say the word when we are talking about our marriage. It is not joked about or spoken of ever! This forces us to make this marriage work.)
- We are to never say anything negative about each other to anyone- this includes family, friends, and on social media.
- We do not go to bed mad at each other. (Again this forces us to make this marriage work- especially if we disagree on something later in the day. We may have to separate for a moment but we always come back together and talk it out.)
- We do not make big decisions if we are angry, tired, or hungry. (Being hangry is a for-real thing in our marriage- food is important :))
- We ask for forgiveness and give it freely.
This isn’t our entire map but it gives you an idea. Our ultimate destination is to grow ridiculously old together. With this destination in mind and by following our road map above, we will have our happily ever after.
Do we handle every day perfectly- that would be a big no. We are imperfect just like everyone else but we have a map that we try our best to follow. We have a destination that we are both traveling towards. The good thing about a map is when you do get off course or a detour happens you can always find your way back to the correct path.
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 that without vision the people perish. This is so true with marriage. If we are not intentional with our marriage it can perish. I encourage you this week to find time to sit down and plan out your own beautiful adventure. Dream together and set a course. With your road map in hand, you will arrive at your destination.
I want to end this blog by introducing you to two couples that began with the end in mind. The first one is Alex’s grandparents. Alex told me from the beginning of our relationship that he wanted us to be like Granny and Pop. Once I got to know them that quickly became my heart’s desire as well. They loved to travel and that is why Alex loves it so much. Pop always told Granny that out of all their adventures she was his greatest. Pop has recently gone to be with the Father but their adventurous love story is a legacy that they have left to their family that will continue for generations.
The second couple is my parents. They believed that marriage meant till death do you part. Divorce was not an option for them which made it not an option for me. Their commitment to each other was stronger than death. My dad passed away when I was 12 but my mama stayed madly in love with him until they were reunited this year. Their legacy was fierce love and I hope to care that on.
You can do this! You can have your “happily ever after”! We believe in you and we are praying for you.
Now go begin with the end in mind!