The Importance of Setting Goals in Your Marriage

Let’s start by just keeping it real. We want you to know that we don’t have it all together when it comes to this topic, but we believe wholeheartedly that this is an area that we cannot let just slip away. So, here is my wife Heather and I’s conversation as we started talking about writing this article for you all…

Mike: So, if we are 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 2018 seems daunting because I feel as though I’m simply stumbling into the New Year after all that we have had vying for our attention the last few months.

Heather: I completely agree. I have always liked the process of thinking through things we can do differently and how to set goals. I find that I often can be easily discouraged when those goals do not 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 have 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 that we should have when it comes to the goals that 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 that we have 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 that 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!

Here are our tips to setting goals for your marriage:

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 others here.)

Next, it’s time to 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 are 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)