The first time I asked Kara out she said no. I was a little surprised, but not discouraged. I was pretty sure she was into me, and so I just needed to know what was behind her rejection. It turns out a big part of it was our different visions of the future.
I had just gotten back from a deployment from Iraq, and as I thought about my future I was looking for another adventure. I thought about more work overseas, maybe more time in the military, or even trying my hand at deep-sea fishing. Kara on the other hand had just finished college and was launching a career. She liked surprises, but they were more like exciting dinner reservations, and not travels across oceans risking death and financial ruin.
Kara and I really liked each other, but she knew that if things were going to work out we needed to be heading in the same direction. If not, we were just delaying a painful breakup, one that would only get harder as time went on.
I remember our conversation when Kara called me out on this. She asked if she was wasting her time with me, if I was serious about her I’d have to be serious about my future, because she wasn’t going to wait around for me. It was exactly what I needed, and I told her that of all the adventures I wanted to pursue, she was the most exciting one.
Six years later we are married with two kids and we just embarked on a new project together, finishing our basement. It truly has been an adventure together, and even though our goals sometimes don’t match up it’s a gift to plan the future together, and to help each other reach our goals. In fact, when Dr. Greg Popcak found that setting goals together was an important skill that made couples exceptionally happy. Dr. Popcak recommends writing a couple mission statement, a concrete statement of who you want to be as individuals and as a couple. When you do this you can more intentionally help each other get there.
I have been able to do a lot of cool things in my life, but the greatest has been marriage, and it’s because of my marriage that I’m able to reach so many more goals that I ever thought possible.