Dear Newly Weds: What's the Plan?
Dear Newly Weds,
What are you having for dinner tonight? Something delicious and nutritious? If so, you planned the meal, hit the grocer and organized your day in order to prepare the meal. If you didn’t plan ahead for this evening’s life-sustaining delight, you might find yourself munching on a bag of Orville Redenbacher and the last of the Oreos. (It happens.)
You’re likely exhausted from the endless planning invested in your ceremony, reception and honeymoon. Life events like these are not left to chance—but neither is a successful marriage. If you haven’t already, you will begin planning for a home purchase, career changes and perhaps a family. Fast forward to your thirty-third anniversary. Do you still need a plan? You do if you both want to live happily-ever-after-together. Allow me to explain.
Last week, over a candlelit anniversary dinner (#33), Steve and I revisited our ‘life plan’ (it was slightly more romantic than it sounds). I initiated the topic because I’m a planner on steroids and I want to ensure that Steve and I have the same plan. Whether our mates verbalize their ideas for the future, they have them—even if their idea for a new plan is to keep the old plan! It is this, as well as burbling dreams and fretful restlessness that go unaddressed that throws a rusty wrench into what was once a well-oiled machine. (Case in point: In 2020, people 55 and older represented 35% of all divorces; of those 66% were initiated by women. *AARP)
Steve and I adopted the philosophy of ‘plan for the worst and hope for the best’ when it came to our financial planning. Though this is sound, beyond financial stability it is not the best approach for planning a fabulous life together. Living in a state of scarcity and allowing fear to dictate our plans can hijack our marriages while planning for the best can bring immense joy to life. As we peeked into the next five years, we dreamed of adventures to be had, hobbies to explore and service projects we might enjoy together, and solo. A topic that was immediate in nature but significantly impacts the long term included us sharing what is working for each of us right now and what isn’t.
Life throws curve balls. Plenty of bad things will happen to us (most of which we cannot prepare for) placing greater importance on proactively planning what we want our experiences to do for us. Not just in the formative years of our marriage but on the home stretch.
No one plans to get divorced on their wedding day. And likely, as tasty as it is, no one planned to have a bag of popcorn for dinner tonight—especially alone. So, plan for the best and then execute that plan like your ‘happily-ever-after-together’ depends on it. (Because it probably does.)