Begin Your Marriage at the End

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Bobby Fischer astounded the world of chess. When playing for the World Championship in 1971, he achieved the first shutout in Grand Master play. He finally beat Boris Spassky for the World Title. In his book, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, he tells us we should focus on the “end game,” the goal of all chess — checkmate. Same in marriage — focus on your goal for your marriage. Learn how to get there and make the “game” moves required to reach your goal.

So, in keeping with Fischer’s strategy, we will start with the “end game” in mind — your goals. Whenever you lose your way, refocus on your mutual goals.

Define Your Goals

It’s necessary to ask, “Do you actually know your goals for a fulfilling love life?” I’ve asked that of many and, after glancing at each other, they usually say, “Well, sort of.” That would certainly lose a game of chess, and it creates a vagueness in which your marriage will stagnate.

First, individually define your own goals for your relationship.  What do you want?  Please think a lot about it and when it is clear to you, you can plan your strategy to accomplish your goals. Why should you start with your goals? Because they are where your satisfaction and fulfillment are to be found.

Communicate Your Goals

Does your spouse know your goals for a fulfilling relationship and love life? If not, since marriage is a partnership you may be going in different directions to find fulfillment, and the partnership is then divided. Communicate your goals and desires clearly. This will give your spouse the benefit of this knowledge, thus eliminating their having to guess at your real goals, and it will lay a foundation for him/her to begin to build confidence and act with confidence.

Now, write your goals down as best you can. Writing them down consolidates your thinking, clarifies your partner’s thinking, and assures your goals are not forgotten. You may change them from time to time, of course, because we grow, and flexibility in life’s goals gives room for increased understanding and personal growth. However, if you do change them, don’t forget to communicate them adequately and the reasons for the changes.

“What about my spouse’s goals?” you may already have asked. They come next. Yours first, and then your spouse’s. Just like it’s not your responsibility to make your partner happy (even though you should do all you can to make him/her happy) it is not your responsibility to make sure your spouse’s goals are reached, even though you may do all in your power to assist.

We are each responsible for our own happiness and our own success. It is our responsibility to see that our goals are reached. Taking responsibility provides us the opportunity to keep the ball in our own hands and control the next move in life. When I’m not responsible, I have no control. Ask, “Do I know my spouse’s goals for a fulfilling love life?” Now, that can be an awakening. Let’s have a moment of fun and insight.

Write down what you think your spouse’s goals are for a fulfilling marriage and love life.

  • Exchange notes and share with each other.
  • Have your spouse grade your understanding of his/her goals.
  • Your goals do not have to be the same as your partner’s. If you are of different temperaments (opposites attract), you will have different goals or at least different expressions of the same goal.
  • Becoming “one” does not mean sacrificing your goals; it means achieving both partners’ goals.
    Also remember, first your goals, second your spouse’s goals; however, never yours alone, because no relationship can succeed if it is all about one partner. It must be the fulfillment of both partners’ goals.
  • Perhaps we should emphasize: don’t sacrifice your goals for your partner’s and don’t sacrifice yourself for your partner. Rather, develop yourself for your partner. Your partner wants a growing developing spouse, not one that is internally dying for lack of nurturing.
  • Understanding each other’s different goals and their crucial role in love is essential because love has expectations and they include:
  • Being understood
  • When understood, being appreciated and respected for our preferences
  • Keeping those expectations warm — showing you understand.

© 2016 Ray W. Lincoln & Associates. All Rights Reserved.

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