When You’re Married, Every Decision Becomes a Six Month Project
There are no short term goals in a marriage.
Before my partner and I got married, we pretty much had individual lives. We studied and worked in different cities for years. Health, fitness and side projects were personal goals that never involved the other person. We made the relationship work in tandem with all these other big decisions.
Marriage is the point after which you can no longer make individual decisions.
Everything you do affects the other person. Every future plan has to involve your partner.
This can be quite frustrating. When it’s just you, you’re either ready or you’re not. And you can make the decision when it feels right for you. It’s that simple.
But when you’re ready to take the leap towards something, and your partner is still not convinced, it can feel like they’re holding you back.
After you get married, you can no longer “wing it” when it comes to large life decisions. Not only do you need to plan ahead, but you also have to persuade another human to be invested in the same dream. This requires a change in perspective. You need to start thinking about your goals and ambitions differently.
How we make decisions as individuals
Usually, an idea starts taking shape in your mind because of something you come across in your daily life. Your mind starts chewing on this idea slowly, and the subconscious mind processes it over and over, creating more clarity over time.
Studies have shown that the brain unconsciously prepares for a future decision and reaches a conclusion before the conscious mind does.
After a few weeks or months, a mental picture forms, and you’re convinced about the decision you need to take. This is when something “feels right”.
Once you reach this point, you’re ready to take the decision and move forward.
This entire process could take up to a few months. It took me a couple of months to decide that I needed to quit my job.
When I thought about moving to a different city, I ruminated on the idea for almost half a year before deciding to take the plunge.
When I wanted to get a dog, it took me almost a year to find the confidence to do it.
I’ve been thinking about blogging for years, but I only recently made the decision and started writing and publishing.
How we make decisions as a couple
When a couple has to make a decision together, this whole process has to be experienced by two minds.
For example, you might be convinced that you need to have a kid. It might have taken you years to get there. But you need your partner’s buy-in too. And if this is the first time you’re having a serious conversation about this, it will take a while for their subconscious to process this and reach a state of readiness.
And that’s just the best-case scenario where your partner actually wants to have a kid. What if they aren’t interested? It will take that many more months for the two of you to reach a place where you want the same thing.
This is how decisions get made in a marriage. Slowly and painfully.
But that’s okay. It’s normal, and there’s no point in resisting it or wanting things to be different. This is what it means to share a life with another human. We need to be aware of this and plan for it.
The time and effort you put into this will compound in the future
As an individual, you might make faster decisions in the short term. But as a couple, you spend a few years putting in this effort and the rewards eventually compound.
Two heads are better than one. It’s a cliche because it’s true.
When you have two people working on a shared goal, you have more resources to put into it. You have double the number of person-hours — which makes a huge difference when the years add up. Your combined social network is larger, which leads to more connections and opportunities in the long run. You will both get exposure to different people, ideas, and perspectives, which you will then exchange with each other and enrich your level of knowledge. And you can end up with a portfolio of very diverse skill sets.
For example, I’ve been talking to my partner for a long time about side hustles and the need to build multiple income streams. It took a long time for both of us to properly buy into this idea. But now, I’m working on building a career in writing, while he’s learning to trade cryptocurrencies. Both are options with good potential for income, and we’re both going to benefit from these efforts. It would have been very hard for either of us to build these skills alone.
Making decisions with a partner is always a long term project. And just like any long term project, the lift-off takes time, but the rewards are that much larger.