The Marriage Gap

When it comes to goals, I’m the thinker. I’m goal-oriented. I like to set goals and makes plans.

Joseph is different. A lot of his goals are in his head. He’s not as good at articulated what he wants.

So, in our first marriage, and before I figured that out, we would have conversations and set goals. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t. It took me a long, long time to figure out that Joseph would agree because he either wanted to make me happy or wanted a conversation to end. So, if this goal or that one did the trick, he’d go along.

But when the lip service of agreement (and it wasn’t meant to be lip service) butted up against the reality of taking action, it created a gap. That gap did two things for me: gave me a lot of extra work and caused considerable frustration. I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the next thing was an argument.

I call that the Marriage Gap. It’s the space between what you say you want and are willing to work toward and what actually happens. One of the biggest reasons for the Marriage Gap is that you are not both invested in the same goals.

Common Gaps

  • You both say you want children and that one of you should be the stay-at-home parent.
    • That’s good, but if both of you want to keep building your career, how will you fulfill your goal?
  • You both want to own a house in a certain neighborhood. You both agree to work for [X] years to save the money and/or pay the mortgage.
    • Then s/he tells you s/he wants to start having a family.

Both cause a gap between what you want/say you want and the reality you’re living. It’s in that gap that things like anger and resentment start growing.

The importance of honest and direct communication can’t be underestimated. If plans change, both of you have to agree. In the case of children, both partners have to be on the same page – or else both of you will end up angry or resentful – and those children will pay the prince.

When you decide what you want, you will go farther faster when you are on the same page.

What is the Five-Year Marriage®?

Created by Annmarie Kelly, the Five-Year Marriage® is a concept of restructuring marriage agreements every five years to take into consideration external and internal changes happening to each person in the relationship. This periodic assessment of each person’s happiness, fulfillment, obligations and goals creates a safe space for each person to grow and change, together. The result is a relationship that grows stronger and more intimate over time. This collection of articles is a dep dive into the  different concepts proposed in the book, The Five-Year Marriage® and deserve a space for additional exploration and discussion.

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