State of Our Union Address

President Barack Obama delivers the 2010 State...
No need to grab a mic and grandstand, but you need to have "the talk" Image via Wikipedia

So, let’s switch gears for a moment and shift the focus from self-evaluation to relationship evaluation. Sometime in January (I think, don’t quote me), there is a State of the Union Address. I usually keep clicking channels until I find one that isn’t broadcasting the State of the Union, but is instead broadcasting Housewives or staging interventions, but ever since I had that American National Government class, I’ve been taking in a bit more of the political stuff (seeing as it’s my civic duty and all). As I watched this speech in bits and pieces and heard it analyzed again and again, I began to realize that this is exactly what our relationships need, something that addresses these very issues and sets forth the course. But how does one go about this? What things does one need to discuss with one’s partner? What outcome should we be working toward?

*Crickets*

So I sat on it for a while. I wanted to make sure I had something to say, and wasn’t just saying something, if you get my meaning. Here’s what I came up with:

In the State of the Union, the President seeks to accomplish three things: present an accurate representation of where we are as a country now; show where we would like to go; set forth a plan on how we go about getting there. All relationships, all unions, have a purpose, a desired outcome. Only you know what that is for this stage in your relationship. The point is not to build Rome in a day, but to select a definite goal to reach in a small amount of time (a few months to a few years). It’s important to know where you are (and how you got there) as well as where you are going (on this leg of the journey) in order to figure out how to get there.

Having these “where is this going?” conversations can be scary and daunting, but trust me–you want to know. No one wants to waste their time. Just imagine if you accepted a ride from a friend going to Florida–only to end up in Wisconsin. The things you packed for the journey aren’t appropriate or useful. The things you planned to do and the places you planned to go aren’t viable options here. Imagine how disappointed and upset you would be, especially since you didn’t know there was a change in plans. Perhaps you could have stopped somewhere and got the correct supplies. Maybe you could have went with someone else who was going your way. You’ve put forward money and time and ended up somewhere you didn’t want to be.

How much worse to have this happen in a relationship. The wrong associations can move us drastically off course. We end up nowhere near where we wanted to be or thought we were going. We are disappointed, disillusioned, angry. Yet, the signs didn’t look right, and we never said anything, never questioned it, never turned toward the driver and said “Where are we? Where I we going? Because I thought we were going to…” So whose fault is it really?

The first step, then, in making your “State of Our Union” address is to honestly evaluate where you are. What is the current state of the relationship? Are things still progressing? Have you become stagnant? Which areas are solid? Which areas need work? What do each of you bring to this relationship that makes it work pursuing? What is preventing you from pursuing it?

It may be helpful to chart the growth of your relationship thus far. How have you and/or your partner grown as an individual in this relationship? What have you brought out in your partner? Are you better or worse than you were before? If the relationship ended tomorrow, what could you walk away with?

Next, identify where you want to go. Don’t assume that you both are wanting to go to the same place. Be honest and upfront about where you see this relationship going.  How long do you think it will take you to get to the next step? Are you willing to wait that long? Is the relationship worth the effort that will be required of you to make it the best it can be?

Once you’ve identified the problem areas and things you would like to change, and identified what your next step is, it’s time to discuss how to get from point A to point B. What are you going to work on first? Second? Third? When are you going to check in and decide if adjustments need to be made to the plan or the time table? How flexible are you going to be? What part does each of you play in this new phase of the relationship?

My State of Our Union Address will not be in January, but it will most assuredly happen. How do you handle “the talk”? Do you find you’re usually on the same page with your partner? Any advice or suggestions to add?

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