Thursday, September 17, 2020

Why Your Marriage Needs A Five-Year Pit Stop

 The first five to ten years of a marriage can change the nature of your relationship with your spouse to some pretty surprising degrees. It might not change exactly how much you love each other or your devotion to one another, but it can definitely change how your life operates from day to day, as well as future plans that you might have previously talked about. For that reason, we’re going to look at conversations you should have with your spouse during a pitstop after at least five years.

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What are your goals for life?

One of the big misconceptions is that after you have had some time to achieve your goals or found that some are no longer important to you, you are likely to simply rest on your laurels. Congratulations are in order if you have reached those goals but you are likely to find out that you have different priorities, now. You and your spouse might not be able to support each other as effectively as you otherwise could if you’re simply not telling each other about what your aims are for the future. Talk about where you see yourself and where they see themselves in five years and whether that matches up with your current trajectory.

Are things going okay financially?

At this stage, you and your partner should have some sort of financial system in place. Now is the time to look at that financial system once again. This can include, of course, how you’re spending your money, but might also include how your finances are organized and who holds the purse strings on different accounts. How much are you putting towards savings? Do you have any financial goals and have you been putting enough money towards them to meet them within a set timeframe? It’s easy to get sensitive about money and how one handles it, so it’s important to address this question as a cooperative effort, first and foremost, so that it doesn’t sound accusatory.

Your working lives

This topic might end up getting rolled up into the conversation about your finances, but the question of who works, how their career is going, and what can be done incorporates more than just the financial side of life. It’s also about individual goals, the importance of being able to spend your time productively, and more. Have a talk about who is working and whether they want to work (or have to, as the case may be). For those who are working, it may be worth taking the time to talk about their career, its trajectory, and options they might have to get it moving int the way they want, whether that’s by searching for new roles or by looking at development potential through training.

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Is it time to start planning for a baby?

It’s very likely that the topic of children has come up, as most couples tend to make sure they’re on the same page regarding that before they even get married. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to talk about having your first child if you currently have none. Is it time to take the step to actively try? Are you as ready as you can be, financially and in terms of having a stable home life? Or have expectations of children changed for one or both of you? Even if you have both agreed beforehand that you do not want children, it’s still wise to take the time to check in with your partner and your own feelings.

Do you have enough kids?

If you have, in fact, had children already or you both find that you are resolute that you don’t want any more, then you might want to look at the possibility of closing the door for any children in the future. It doesn’t need to be a formal decision, you can both practice safe sex, but there is also the option for a surgical option. Take the time to research how painful is a vasectomy as well as what the long-term effects are. If you’re done having kids, it’s the most accessible answer, but it does need a lot of preparation and cooperation.

How are you raising your children?

Whether you already have children or you plan to have them in future, you need to talk more about the process of actually making them. It’s important to check-in on what kind of parents you want to be and what you’re doing to make that a reality. This means not only looking at you provide and nurture for them. You need to talk about plans to deal with issues like misbehavior, discipline, bullying, and more. If you have two different parenting strategies in mind, this can lead to major tensions down the line so it’s important to see where you line up and find a compromise if it’s not an exact match.

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How do you argue productively?

Is it possible for anything but bad to come out of an argument? The answer is: yes. Arguments are how we sort out disputes and conflicts within relationships and an argument doesn’t necessarily have to be an emotional and hurtful process. If you need some sort of the change in your relationship, it’s important to be able to address it calmly, without making the other feel attacked, or without getting defensive if you or your behavior is the subject of the conversation. More importantly, you should look at whether you make some of the biggest mistakes when arguing with a partner, such as criticising them, acting with contempt, being defensive and taking personally, or stonewalling them when they’re trying to talk.

You might find during your pitstop that your relationship with your partner, your life, your needs, and your wants for the future haven’t changed that much. If that’s the case, then that is fantastic. However, it’s important to have these conversations anyway to make sure that there aren’t any issues that could grow under the surface if left unaddressed.

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