REAL Couples – REAL Issues – REAL solutions.
This blog is a part of a series inspired by real conversations between real couples. The words have been inspired by using one of the guided conversations from www.OnlineMarriagePreparation.com.
STEP ONE: How do we define our issue?
We need to determine a timeline and goals regarding family planning and how that will shape our lives over the next decade.
STEP TWO: Why is this important to me/us?
Bride: We’ve discussed it, but haven’t landed on firm ground on when we should try to start having children, when we should end, and especially what impact that will have on both of our careers. We need to come to a solid decision on what our careers and home life look like once a child in the picture. Our original goal of age 30 seems so soon, but I don’t necessarily want to be much older.
Groom: Our family will take priority in my life over work, friends, extended family, etc. The decisions we make will affect my future education and career. A good plan will help us raise the best kids and start the best family we can. Our relationship will change when we have kids and our financial situation will change, as well as the way we spend our free time. Lately, I’ve been feeling nervous about a children depending completely on us and nervous about the lost free time and increased expenses. And I’m curious how having a child will change our relationship.
Bride’s Feelings: open, excited, nervous, worried, encouraged, overwhelmed
Groom’s Feelings: hopeful, excited, nervous, tense, confused, overwhelmed
STEP THREE: What will a better future look like for us?
Bride: When this is resolved I will feel even more in love. Planning our family (and life!) can only bring us closer together. I will also feel grateful for you and everything you bring to our relationship. I will be proud that I was able to make a decision and hopefully satisfied that I found my path. We need to come up with a career plan/goals. Maybe speak with co-workers who are working moms to see how it works for them, and also, speak with my own Mom. I need for you (groom) to show me patience as I work through my career decisions and encourage me to seek guidance. I would hope you would also flesh out your career goals (grad school?). It would help if we could both overlay our career goal timelines with “ideal” family/child timelines. Some other ideas that might help would be to do a cost – benefit analysis and the pros and cons of me working, not working for how long? We need a list of the “must-dos” before we have kids, and see where this puts us for timing of our first child.
Groom: Whatever happens, I’ll be just as in love and committed to you and more confident in what our future together looks like. I will have fewer regrets or negative emotions about what I/we haven’t gotten to do and probably won’t get to do because of having a child. I think it would help if we would have more frequent conversations about family planning and if I would spend more time working through my own thoughts and feelings on this topic. It would be good to create a list of some of things we would want to do before our first child comes. We need to continue to save and make wise financial decisions to reduce financial burdens down the road. I think it would help us to have a “no-earlier-than date” and a “no-later-than date” for having kids.
STEP FOUR: What are our best ideas?
Idea One: We will do a cost-benefit analysis and pros and cons list.
Idea Two: We will make a list of our “must-dos,” filter out what we can do with kids, and see what we want to do before kids and how much time we will need.
STEP FIVE: What will I/we actually do?
Bride: I will make a pros and cons list of each potential working scenario for us and also talk with my Mom and coworkers. We’ll bring our lists together of what we want to do before our first child arrives and also determine what of that we can do with children.
Groom: I’ll create a spreadsheet for future career options, savings and retirement goals, income and budget expenses. I’ll talk with my boss about degree programs and form a better opinion about an advanced degree. We’ll both work on a joint list of “must dos” before having kids and supplement the list with things we might do that would include our kids.
STEP SIX: How will we know that we’re making progress?
We’ll know we’re making progress when we have the lists and the analysis and can have productive conversations about timing for our first child and career direction.