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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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The Importance of Setting Goals in Your Marriage
Let’s start by just keeping it real. We want you to know we don’t have it all together when it comes to this topic, but we believe wholeheartedly this is an area we cannot let just slip away. So, here is my conversation with my wife as we started talking about writing this article for you all.
Me: So, if we’re going to be honest from the start, goal setting is not one of my favorite activities. You can chalk it up to laziness, overanalyzing, or just the desire not to fail, but there has always been angst when it comes to setting goals. However, I do understand the importance of goals. Currently, the thought of creating world-changing epic goals for next year seems daunting because I feel as though I’m simply stumbling into the new year after all we’ve had vying for our attention the last few months.
My Wife: I completely agree. I have always liked the process of thinking through things we can do differently and how to set goals. I find I’m easily discouraged when those goals don’t work the way I had hoped they would. I’m not proud of that, but I’ve definitely thought, Why even bother? when the goal just seems too lofty or I’ve gotten away from where I want to be.
So, while it can be overwhelming to think about, we MUST choose to set goals.
At some point, we all have set goals in marriage and life. They can be as grand and complex as finishing a degree, buying a home, taking a dream vacation, or running a marathon. They can also be as common and simple as having dinner together as a family, going out for date night, not fighting over _______, or creating a saving’s account.
Regardless of the type of goal, the practice of goal setting is an important habit to build in our lives. We’ve all heard it before, “If at first you don’t succeed—try, try again.” We cannot give up simply because the task of goal setting seems hard or we’ve not done well with goals in the past.
The Importance of a Goal
So, why have a goal? What does a goal do? Well, most importantly it gives us something to strive toward.
Picture this: An Olympic sprinter is on the starting line, head down, feet in the blocks, ready for the signal to start the race. When the gun goes off, that sprinter bounds forward, stride long, head up with eyes fixed on the finish line . . . the goal. A runner does not race looking towards the crowds or checking out the competitor in his or her next lane. There is a fixed focus. A determination. A purpose.
This is the same focus we should have when it comes to the goals we set in our marriage. When times are tough, when the world is pulling at us, when we have an umpteenth of needs to take us off course, it’s the goals we’ve set that will guide us. A focus on our set goals will provide us with an order and structure to our marriage.
A goal can also give us a means to measure our successes. How many of us make a to-do list, accomplish something that is not on the list, and then write it on the list just so we can check it off? Please tell me I’m not the only one!
When we set a goal, even just a small one, and we accomplish it, that excitement in us will create a desire and need to feel that way again. So, we set another goal and accomplish it—and then another and another. The sense of success can be addictive!
Tips to Setting Goals
To begin, focus on the main things. It’s time to prioritize. Think about what your spouse needs to keep their “love tank” full and make one of your goals accomplishing that each week. (Hint: Learning each other’s five love languages is a great place to help you know where to start. You can take a quiz to learn each other’s here.)
Get S.M.A.R.T with Your Goals
Specific (Keep it simple.)
Measureable (How will you know you’ve accomplished this goal?)
Attainable (Hint: Put it in the budget for a babysitter.)
Realistic (Maybe a luxury cruise isn’t practical, but a nice dinner is.)
Time Bound (Are these once a day, once a week, or once a month goals?)
Whatever season you’re in, know that the right GOAL is worth the effort to accomplish!
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”—Proverbs 16:3(NIV)
Date Night Ideas for December
Challenge 1: Knowledge Is Power
This month, read a book on marriage that’s geared to what you may want to improve on in your marriage. Maybe it’s romance you desire more of—look for a book on growing your intimacy. How about a book that helps with improving your communication with each other? Then, plan a date night and discuss your thoughts and insights on what you read. You’ll be amazed on how easy change can happen when you’re given the right tools to operate with.
Challenge 2: A Slumber Party for Two
Do you remember how much fun you had when you went to a slumber party—the all-nighters, pillow fights, eating junk food until you were about to puke? So, why not plan a slumber party for you and your spouse? Bring out the blankets and pillows and enjoy each other’s company for the night. You can make it as fun or romantic as you like. Stay up all night watching movies, eating junk food, and maybe even have a pillow fight. Take some time to talk and reflect about the year. Share what God has shown you in regards to your marriage and what things you appreciate in one another or would love to grow in. Party on!
Challenge 3: How Do I love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways.
There’s nothing better than hearing words of affirmation from your spouse. It brings up feelings of love and gratitude for each other. This month, take time to write down 12 things your spouse did this year that made you love them more. Plan a date night to sit and read what you wrote to each other. Pick a place where there are no distractions so you can share without the worry of being interrupted. It could be at the beach, park, your favorite coffee spot, or even your backyard. This is a time to share with your spouse how much you’ve been paying attention to them and appreciating everything they’ve done throughout the year.
Did you take advantage of one of these ideas? We want to hear from you! Share your dates on social media by using the hashtag #SoFloDateNight and tagging @CCFLCouples. You can also e-mail MarriedCouples@CalvaryFTL.org about your date night story!
Do you want to hear about upcoming events and news from Calvary Couples? Make sure you opt in to receive text messages from us! We want to stay connected with you, so you don’t miss any opportunities for you and your spouse! To sign up, simply text “MARRIAGE” to 91868.