Making marriage—and family—work takes teamwork.
When two people get married, they're essentially agreeing to be on the same team. "It's you and me against the world, baby."
It's easy to feel that way in the beginning, but it takes work and focus to stay on the same team. And once you add kids to the equation, it's even more important to keep your team together, yet it also takes more work.
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People change over time, and the key to a long-lasting marriage and family is to change together. Your interests, goals, desires and needs shift as you age, your kids age and your life evolves. You can't control that. But if you and your spouse slowly drift away, each following different goals and interests, you'll soon find you have nothing in common, and nothing holding your family together. That's when marriages start to get into trouble. Doing things together as a family every single week helps keep you focused on family goals. Talking together as a family about what you want and hope for helps you stay bonded together as a unit.
Create Common Goals
You have to make a concerted effort to ensure that you as a couple, and as a family, are marching forward through life together. Don't think only about what you want out of life; do it with your spouse and your kids. Talk about where you're going together and how you're going to get there. If you have differing goals and needs, think about how you can reach them together, in a way that still meets your goals as a couple and as a family. When you have young children, you and your spouse are the ones setting the goals for the entire family, so it's not hard to keep everyone on the same page. As your children age, they begin to have goals of their own, and one of the challenges of family life is fitting together your goals for your family, your goals for your marriage, and your children's goals for themselves.
Draw Up A Plan
A healthy marriage not only has common goals, but a plan for how to work toward them. Sometimes, all you can do is fumble around without really knowing how you're going to get where you want to be, which isn't too terrible as long as you're fumbling around together. Still, it's important for your kids to see you working together toward common goals, and involving them in your efforts to reach family goals. Nothing brings a family together more than saving pennies for a vacation, doing a community service project together or making a commitment to organic foods. Reaching the big goals in life take more work, but it's important that your kids seeing you reaching for your goals so that they can understand how much effort and work are needed to excel.
How have you kept your team together over the years?