Courage

Engagement: 3 Ways to Build Teamwork Before You Say “I Do”

Did you know that the engagement period is the best time to start working together as a team? The wedding planning and the meticulous details of coordinating your new life together is great experience at building teamwork and cooperation as a couple. I know entering this new phase of life on the right foot is your top priority.

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Wedding planners, advisers, coordinators, etc. are wonderful but there are just some things that need to be directly handled by you and your spouse-to-be. Consider yourselves the “managers” of your marriage (with GOD as the CEO), doing what’s absolutely necessary to carry out the vision for your life. I chose to outline these tips in the form of meetings that would be carried out by you and your spouse as equal participants in a very important discussion. Consider these three types of meetings now as you await your upcoming nuptials – Family Vision Meeting, Personal Achievement Meeting, and Financial Planning Meeting. I chose to share a bit more about the “Financial Planning Meeting” toward the end since $$$ is a leading cause of conflict in marriages.

FAMILY VISION MEETING

I believe every couple has a purposeful existence here on earth. You may be called to procreate in order to birth the 2060 nominee for the President of the United States. You may serve natural disaster victims, leading a team of volunteers to impact the good of humanity. You may start a neighborhood watch group out of concern for increased crime in your area. Whatever it is, now is a great time to find the “heart” of your marriage. What motivates you both beyond yourselves? What legacy will you leave behind? Ponder together your shared values and generate ways to proactively be the best parents you can, outreach to those less fortunate, or create that awesome program that will make others’ lives better. This doesn’t have to happen overnight. Create a timeline for attaining such goals as you prepare to take your neighborhoods and world by storm. Meet at least quarterly to discuss or revise your plans.

PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT MEETING

Does one of you (or both of you) want to go back to school or receive special training? What does this look like for the family, time wise? I can remember when my husband and I decided that we wouldn’t attend graduate school at the same time. We didn’t want two preoccupied students in the house amidst our already busy schedules. My husband attended first because his job was footing the tuition bill at the time. I attended graduate school a couple of years later when I was sure of what I wanted to study. This arrangement worked for our family, as we could “serve” the studying spouse as a cheerleader of constant encouragement while assisting with editing papers and assignments.

At your own meeting, sit down with your calendar, journals, and/or planner. Assist each other with planning personal goals, as you both strive to improve yourselves in various areas, whether it be in your education, career, or health. Clearly define the goals and hold each other accountable to time lines and specifics. Meet quarterly to discuss how far you’ve come with meeting those goals.

FINANCIAL PLANNING MEETING

Can you imagine the executives of a major billion dollar corporation not meeting to discuss the order of business for a week, month, quarter, or year? I’m pretty sure that many meetings took place in order for them to attain their current billion dollar status as they planned, organized, and executed their next big business move. As technical (and not romantic) as it may sound, this same mindset has to be adopted by married couples as they attempt to foster a healthy financial mindset. Monthly review of bank statements, budgets, and saving goals can be the agenda of your particular “exec” meeting. Use these meetings to also discuss ways to adopt better habits and attitudes towards money. No matter what level of income you achieve, proper communication and wise decision making is crucial to money mastery.

Here are some attributes of couples with a healthy financial mindset:

  • they don’t live for the joneses to keep up with every latest car, clothing designer, restaurant, and luxury brand in order to feel good about themselves
  • they understand saving $$$ is a priority and not an option as emergency funds and retirement accounts take precedence over frivolous matters that hold no true value (Ask yourself this? Could I borrow against an expensive cell phone or a $1000 handbag if I need money in a pinch?)
  • they realize that true wealth is not centered on how much money can be attained but is characteristic of the high quality of relationships and life lived
  • they remain thankful for progress and celebrate small victories
  • they respect each other’s salary amount and contributions to the budget and household
  • they have a joint bank account in order to work together to plan how household bills will be accounted for (I’ve witnessed spouses scrambling around every month to pay “their portion” of the bills. They were always short the money needed as they stressed over ways to pay it. It is my belief that no spouse should have to endure this. As a team, couples should work together to figure out the details of the budget, removing the pressure off of any one individual.)

I hope you find these tips useful. Feel free to share with a bride-to-be. God bless you!

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