Often we have regrets over things in the past, we would like to change some things and do it all over now that we know more and have learned from our mistakes. Although we may have gained wisdom over our regrets, we often fail to learn the most important lesson – that the past cannot be changed. So we gain nothing by rehashing old mistakes and beating ourselves up. The good news is that we can change our future. Surely we would all like our future to be better than our past, even better than our present. We can change our future for the better with two basic steps.
First, we need to have vision and set goals for specific improvement. Even before that, we have to review our current state and what we would like to see improved. I shared how my wife and I had some discussions on what we would like to see improved by coming up with an evaluation of our marriage. We each rated ourselves and our spouse in a series of criteria we agreed were important. From this evaluation, we came up with plans of how to improve, and a timeframe when we would sit down and repeat the evaluation to compare the new results with the initial review.
The most basic point we had to agree on is the main objective in our marriage. The main objective is to have peace and tranquility, and be happy. Reminding ourselves of this helps us to remember that winning an argument is not the goal. That is not the main objective. While we agree on the improvements we would each like to see, we also remember that one person cannot fix or change another person – with or without agreement. Each person is responsible for their own improvements.
Second, we need to take action and make application. Reading or hearing good material on marriage doesn’t help improve the marriage unless it is applied. Plans and goals are no good until they are acted on. For me, the biggest enemy of application is procrastination. I’ve shared a couple times how mañana does not mean tomorrow. It could be tomorrow, or the next day, even never, but for sure it is not today. Mañana means “not today.” What I often battle is the tendency to say I’ll do it tomorrow or next week. What I need to do is remember what Benjamin Franklin said: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Just as a beautiful building is made up of individual stones that each by itself seems insignificant, a successful or beautiful marriage is built of small steps forward that by themselves often seem unimportant. What are your goals in your marriage? Develop some together and evaluate and take action to accomplish them together – you’ll be glad you did.