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The Importance of Personal Goals in a Marriage

When you are married and have a family, it's still important to keep in mind personal goals. Your goals might be small, such as reading a new book every month, or they might be larger, such as developing a new hobby or learning a new skill. Personal goals will help you grow as a person and will enrich your life and your marriage.

Marriage Q & A's

Q: Now that I'm married, is it still okay for me to have individual goals?

A: Yes. It's healthy for you and important to your marriage to have individual goals. When you grow as a person, your relationship will grow, too.

The more realistic your expectations are about the future, the more likely it is that you will meet your goals. But there is a very fine line between setting goals so high that you are always disappointed and not reaching high enough to maximize your potential.

Expanding Your Mind

It's very common for people to look back and say they can't believe they have not read a book in several years or learned anything new. This is not healthy. Human beings are naturally curious and need to have their minds nourished. Setting goals for yourself will ensure that you actually do expose yourself to new ideas. Take a class to learn about a new subject or join a movie club to discuss films. Subscribe to a news magazine and read it regularly to learn more about the world around you.

One way to make sure you'll read a book a month is to join a book club that meets regularly. It's very fulfilling to read a book and talk about it with other people when you are finished. If you can't find a book club to join, start one! You'll be surprised at how many people are interested.


Developing a hobby is useful for many reasons. It can help relieve you of the stresses of modern life. It can be a skill that you develop and enjoy after you retire. And it's also a way to meet other people who share similar interests. Many hobbies are project-oriented and give you a sense of accomplishment when you finish them.

If you don't already have a hobby, think about finding one you really like in the next year. Start by taking a class, perhaps in one of the following areas:

  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Crocheting or knitting
  • Woodworking
  • Model building
  • Sewing and needlework
  • Sculpting
  • Dancing
  • Fixing up old automobiles

Once you find a hobby you like, set goals for yourself. For instance, if you like to garden, commit to learning about two new plants each year. You might even have the long-term goal of entering your flowers into a contest.

The Spice Rack

One way to grow and spend time together is for you and your spouse to take a class together. It can be something fun, such as ballroom dancing or painting, or something more serious, such as financial planning. You can alternate choosing a class to take.

Taking Care of Your Health

Getting regular medical and dental care is important, but many people forget to schedule regular checkups. Eating a healthy diet is another useful health goal. And exercising is an important part of a healthy, well-balanced life. For exercise, consider walking, running, or bicycling. If you are sports-oriented, play tennis, squash, or racquetball regularly or join a basketball or soccer team. Remember that the healthier you are, the better you'll feel and the more able you'll be to reach your other goals.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage © 2001 by Hilary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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