After last week's test of my marriage, I decided that both my husband and I needed to ramp up our efforts. Or lack thereof. There had to be something beyond the talking and the marriage counseling.
We needed to create a marriage plan -- an action plan. Immediately.
Sure, it sounds completely unromantic, but it's way better than the fighting, the lack of communication, and whatever else might be bogging down a relationship. Here's how ours works:
Creating a marriage action plan is as simple as it sounds, but for us, it was a way to hold each other accountable for our wants and needs in the relationship.
And it's not just that desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if your marriage is perfectly fabulous now, having an action plan, or a set of goals for yourself and each other, can really help keep the love alive.
But it's also because for my husband and me, having something written down that we could both refer to just makes it more real and, somehow, more important. If we're going to make things work, we have to treat our relationship as a priority.
So first, we created goals for ourselves as a couple, which included finding a new, more flexible therapist. Unfortunately, while we both like our current marriage counselor, her limited office hours were difficult for us to work around given my husband's unpredictable schedule.
We also decided that we need to have one date night a month. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. We'd rotate on planning and coordinating it, but it had to happen.
And we also realized that we needed to have at least one night a week where we were completely unplugged and just hanging out at the house together.
Then separately, we wrote down a list of the things we want and need from the other, which ranged from big issues like talking first before making large decisions for the family (yes, I know it seems obvious, but not for everyone) to smaller issues like "a kiss goodnight every night."
Whatever happens to be in your action plan, the point is that by writing it out or typing it up, and then signing it, you're agreeing to try. Both of you, together.
And if one person doesn't stick to it, or fails to live up to expectations, you've got a piece of paper, not just some reference to a heated conversation you had a few weeks ago (and who can remember that with four kids and little sleep?).
And if you do stick with it, then you've got the pleasure of crossing items off your action plan, and making new goals for a relationship that you thought might not make it.
Do you have a marriage action plan of sorts?