Begin (Again) With The End In Mind

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Posted by Dave

Hope and I work together, and most days we commute together, which provides an additional time together that we normally wouldn’t have if we worked at separate organizations. Many times, we’ll fill this time talking about recent happenings in our family or discussing the day at work. Recently during our commute, we listened to a message on YouTube that spoke directly into the way that you make a successful marriage. The message was by Lisa Bevere, and it is called “Begin With The End In Mind”.

If you’re married, or if you’re in a relationship that is leading toward marriage, this is a message that you must take the time to listen to. It speaks directly into a mindset that is critical for any successful marriage. Success in a marriage means that the phrase “til death do us part” is actually how your marriage ends. If you look toward the end of your marriage and how you want to go out together, it makes many of the things you deal with on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis less intimidating and frustrating.

But what if you’ve already had a failed attempt (or multiple failed attempts) at marriage? How do you begin again with the end in mind when it didn’t end well before? Trust me, entering into it a second time was a scary proposition for both Hope and myself. All of the questions circle in your mind like “will I ever trust again?”, “after last time, can I ever commit again?”, “what if the broken things inside of me cause it to happen again?”. Fear can drive you to ask some crazy questions, but fear can also drive you to ask some very valid questions. Fear can’t be what brings you to the answer, but it can motivate some much-needed prayer and discussion with your prospective partner.

My advice? Talk about those fears together before doing anything. Talk about your expectations before doing anything. If you’re going into a re-marriage, take some time to look back at the failure of previous relationships and look for things that YOU did to cause it, because unless those things are fixed, they will doom this one too. No topic is too small during this time. I’m talking about everything from who is going to pay the bills to who is going to do specific household chores. Leave no stone unturned. For example, I do the laundry in our house. For some reason, I believe laundry is my calling, maybe it is because of my last name. Believe it or not, Hope and I discussed this before we got married. We talked about numerous other items, many of them much more important, during our dating and pre-marital counseling. Beware, it’s easy to overlook the End when you’re in the midst of the “warm fuzzies” of dating. Everything is new, you can’t get enough time together, you text or call each other constantly. Marriage seems like a great idea, because you’re having so much fun being together. Don’t let the “warm fuzzies” fool you into overlooking the seemingly minor things that will make sure your marriage stands the test of time. Imagine yourselves becoming old and gray together. Do you honestly see yourself wanting to grow old with that person? Imagine you get a diagnosis that is terminal. Is that person going to stand by your side as you fight that battle? If you can’t envision the End and see your partner with you, then it might be time to reconsider.

If you’re going to make it to the End, the Beginning has to be full of clear communication about what it is going to take to get there. You and your partner have to be on the same page. Your dreams and goals for your relationship and for your family have to align. Spend some time dreaming about what it will look like as the years go by. If you do, it will go along way toward making sure that you both make it there together.

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