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Marriage and change go hand in hand. Our friends who have been married have stories of the struggles and triumphs they've gone through together.
Looking back, most say that the milestones that they reached took a ton of effort and compromise.
Since we've been married we've dealt with:
- started a business
- had 2 kids
- bought a house
- assist loved ones with health issues
Have things been perfect? No, but we're learning from one another and growing.
You may already have a few you're proud of working through as well.
What if you're starting out though? Or what if your last big transition didn't go as smoothly as you hoped.
Here are four steps on how you two can survive and thrive when you need to make significant changes.
Why Talking About It Is Important
It is too easy to assume that you are both on the same page. No matter how long you've been married, your partner will surprise you sometimes.
While that's great for date nights and some fun adventures, you really don't want to be in the middle of colossal transition arguing about what you did and didn't expect.
Even if your transition is about an individual goal (starting a business), it affects both of you.
Discussing and Understanding the Why
Sit down and talk about it now. If you don't know where to start, begin with the why?
- Why do you want to make this change? What's your reason for this? Are you looking for financial security? Want more freedom with your work schedule? Do you have this innate desire to travel?
- Why make this change now? Timing matters, especially if you have other goals. Is there an advantage to starting sooner rather than later?
- How this transition is bringing you closer towards your shared goals? It's not meant to dissuade you from pursuing this goal, but it can allow you two to find a path where both of you are excited about this transition.
You won't have all the details figured out, but you can brainstorm a ballpark estimate of what can come up.
Come Up with a Plan
Now that you two understand the reason for this transition, you can build a plan that works for both of you.
One effective way to find a happy compromise is find some common ground to begin from.
Let's say you want to be self-employed. You have the talent and drive to succeed. Both of you agree that this aligns with your long term plans.
Your spouse is supportive, but he or she apprehensive about the finances during the transition.
You want to jump in and work at this full-time. They'd rather have a year's worth of expenses set aside before you make the leap. (Right now you have 3 months.)
One path that requires compromise on both side may include:
- you start working part-time (evenings and weekends) to build up a certain income or number of clients that gives peace of mind to your spouse that this is stable
- you both cut back on spending and buff up your savings
You may work out a strategy where you start taking on work to build income and clients.
To help him or her sleep at night you both cut back on spending, building up your savings before you go full -time with self-employment.
Your transition is not only easier on your finances, but your relationship. You're both on board and feel comfortable.
Have Regular Check-ins
Set aside some time (each week if possible) to keep on one another in the loop.
These chats don't have to be serious or long. Make it a date, have some fun, and if you need to, keep it short.
It's better to have several small discussions then one big meeting and then keeping quiet.
While you're checking in with one another, please make sure:
- You are completely honest with your feelings-
- You truly listen to one another – resist the temptation to interrupt
As hard and painful as it can be, listening to your spouse can help you work through this transition.
Listen beyond the words to see the message. Are they anxious? Do they seem overwhelmed?
You may not agree every single discussion, but you'll know where you each coming from.
Just because you two have a plan, doesn't mean it's over. Significant changes take time so make sure you devote some of it to one another.
Have dates where you just keeps tabs on your progress and setbacks. You can help one another figure out ways to move closer to your goals.
Thoughts on Thriving with Change as a Couple
We grow together and through these transitions we can learn from one another. Since we each have transitions we navigate through, I'd love to hear your stories.
Have the two of you made big changes? What was it?
Was it a smooth transition or did you have a rough time working things out? What tips would share for a couples going through similar circumstances?