There are quite a few things in life that I do ONLY because I have to. For example… documenting my sessions with clients, going to the OBGYN, and getting the oil changed in my car. None of these things bring me joy. None of them are immediately gratifying. None of them brighten my day. I only do them because if I don't do them, I'm likely to get into really annoying (and possibly painful) trouble.
My marriage has the same number of have-to's. I realize that is so unromantic, but we have big dreams together that will benefit our kids, our community, and our neighbors. And those dreams WILL NOT HAPPEN without responsible discipline. To assume they'll manifest without effort is immature. To hope my spouse will just take care of them for us is selfish.
Over the past twenty years we've had to agree on a budget and submit to it, re-negotiate over and over who cares for the household, draw up a will and trust, file our joint taxes, establish an LLC, plan and save for retirement and our kids' college educations, and take out a giant construction loan and then mortgage. BOOOOOOOOORRRRRING. These things were not easy, but they have been worth it. Doing the annoying hard stuff establishes a sense of stability.
Unsplash photo: Jonathan Jensen