After 10 years of marriage, you have logged enough miles on your journey to know each other well. Making some course corrections now may allow you to have a brighter future in the many years that lay ahead.
After 10 years of marriage, it is important to remember that you are just getting started. The future of your marriage lies like an open ocean before you with land still visible behind. You’ve come just far enough to know you need to pause, and determine whether you're on the right track or not and to make any required course corrections.
By working through this checklist of topics to revisit, you can help ensure that your future is happier and healthier than your past.
Ten years into your marriage is a good point in time to assess the number of children you’ll have. Many couples in recent years have been waiting longer to have children. You may find yourself without kids at this point and you’ll want to decide whether or not to have (or adopt) some.
With the bright-eyed enthusiasm of newlyweds, you may have had a different expectation for where you’d be today than where you find yourselves. Now is a great time to recalibrate and reset expectations. Financial happiness has much more to do with expectations than with the actual amount of money you have.
Ten years into your marriage is a great time to look at where you are living. Moving frequently is counterproductive to your family’s wellbeing and to your financial situation, but taking stock of where you are in life and how well your home serves your family makes good sense. Consider upgrading and remodeling before moving.
At this point in your lives, you’ve likely made the complete transition from your single group of friends to your married group of friends. With any luck, some of your single friends made the transition with you. Take stock of your relationships and make it a point to reach out to people who should be a bigger part of your life but who’ve faded into lesser roles.
Be sure to look at your extended family — especially those who were part of your immediate families when you were both growing up — to ensure you are actively seeking to build those relationships as a couple. Your parents certainly wish to see and hear from you more than they do. Think of ways to build those relationships while you and they are still young enough to enjoy them.
Chances are good that you and your spouse both work. Take a moment to reflect together on your careers. If one of you would like to make a change, look for ways to support each other through that. A big career change can be hard on the family, but working cooperatively can smooth the rough patches. Remember that your relationship is more important than money and work to protect your relationship above all.
For many people, pets are an important part of the family. If you are in that situation — or think you should be — take time to consider the role of pets in your family. Children may be significantly impacted by pets. Take time to think about this together.
Cars may seem to be a trivial consideration, but the money you spend on cars may have a significant impact on your retirement and on your ability to do other things you want to do. As people get older, they often develop a sense of being “due” a better car. Don’t let yourselves fall into the trap of letting the neighbors, friends or coworkers decide how much money you should spend on a car. You may have much more meaningful things to do with you money.
Above all, as you look at your 10th anniversary, you should take a look at your relationship with your spouse. If it isn’t what it should be, look at ways to fix it before it breaks. Talk about the challenges and commit yourselves to each other and to work on the problems.
In our wonderfully open and diverse culture, you and your spouse are likely to have come from different faith traditions. That may have resulted in neither of you honoring those faith traditions. Give some thought to whether faith is playing a proper role in your family and talk about how you’d like to observe your faith going forward. This needn’t be a duel over whose faith wins; to the contrary, you may agree to observe practices and teachings of both faiths or simply to observe your own and respect your spouse’s, giving your children exposure to and involvement with both.
By taking time to think about these 10 things at your 10th anniversary, you can make course adjustments that will allow you to better navigate the seas before you.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.