Marriage consists of two individuals with their own values and dreams for their lives. When I married Daniel, though, his dreams also became my own dreams. Wherever he was going, I was going to be going along with him and vice-versa. Early in our marriage, we had the opportunity to attend a marriage seminar where we were led through a step-by-step process to help us define our values and goals for our marriage. Even though Daniel and I had known each other for so long and had talked a lot about our future, this was the first time we formally thought through our values as a couple. It was the first time we took the time to really dreamed about what we wanted our lives to look like for the next few years.
Our goals reflected our values. We wanted to be involved in our church and community; we wanted to invest deeply in our friendships. Other than our community and relationships, a lot of our goals had to do with money. In a lot of ways, our finances prevented us from moving toward our dreams and investing more in things we really value. One of my biggest dreams was starting a family and I really wanted to be able to be a stay at home mom. Unfortunately, there was no way we could pay our bills at that point relying only on Daniel’s income. It was clear we had a lot of work to do to achieve this bigger goal, but now we had a plan.
Though I’m not a natural goal setter, I’ve found this process to be super helpful in marriage for a few reasons:
Goals help you know where to go.
You know the cliche: “If you don’t aim for anything, you’ll hit it every time.” It’s not that we were living in different worlds or even that we never talked about our future, but taking the time to sit down and name our goals allowed us to get on the same page. Taking the time to put our goals on paper allowed us to break them down into smaller steps. Even the biggest goals seem achievable when they were broken down this way!
Goals help you actually get there.
You often hear about couples growing apart. If you’re not on the same page, it can be hard to stay married. I don’t want to one day wake up and realizing that Daniel and I want different things in life. Naming our goals helped up take aim at them, but every day we have intentionally remind ourselves to stay on track. Creating weekly family meetings is an easy way to remind yourselves about your short and long term goals. We use this time to also take a look at our calendars and check in on our budget. It helps to have a glass of wine, too.
Goals help you remember “why.”
When we were working towards paying off our debt, there were times when I was working long hours at multiple jobs. I was tired. There were times when my head would hit the pillow exhausted and I would look at Daniel and say, “We’re doing this so we can have kids soon.” That was enough to give me the boost I needed to keep going. Even when we were tempted to deviate from our plan. our goals reminded us that we were working toward something bigger.
Goals help you get there sooner.
One of our goals was to start bringing kids into our home as foster parents. We were able to get to that point a whole year earlier than we had originally hoped. Even now, I think about the four amazing babies that came through our home this year, and I’m so thankful we were ready for them when they needed us.
Another great marriage podcast I’ve enjoyed is called Stay Married. On the episodes, they cover a broad range of research based strategies for a healthy marriage. They have also done great interviews to bring a diversity of voices to the table, which is something I’ve really appreciated. Their website also has a lot of great resources and has been encouraging to me in some rougher patches in our relationship. One of my favorite blog post is called “8 (Theoretically) Simple Strategies to Survive the Holidays.”
Happy Life, Happy Wife!
Stephanie Lynn, Writing Contributor
You can find me on instagram here.
I grew up in Colorado but have officially been in California for a third of my life and it feels like home here. I’m a wife of 4 years and a foster mom. I’m a podcast enthusiast and have just started sharing podcast recommendations publicly here. I am a homebody and love doing jigsaw puzzles and being cozy on my big red couch, but also love getting out into my city for coffee and going out to eat with my family and friends.