A lot of us use the end of the calendar year as a catalyst to examine our lives. We set goals and make plans. We look to remove bad habits and build good ones. Sometimes the planning can be almost as exhausting as actually living out the year.

Another reflection that is helpful at this time of year is looking for thought processes that are negative or damaging. So let’s take this post to examine one of the most dangerous phrases a relationship can face – “next year.”

Now I’m not against planning, but many times “next year” is used as a way of putting our marriage last.

  • “We’ll spend more time together next year.”
  • “I’ll be more affectionate next year.”
  • “We’ll take that trip next year.”

And we convince ourselves this is needed: “I’ll be a better spouse next year. Right now I need to focus on…” You can fill in the blanks with a lot of important things – this new job, the kids, school, earning more money. The list goes on.

Another danger with “next year” mentality is that, if you have a good spouse, they probably allow you to do this. They realize how busy you are and want to support you in whatever ways they can. This sometimes means wishing – silently, many times – that they were higher on your priority list.

Shouldn’t they be?