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Fairy tales are not real life. There is no such thing as “Happily ever after.” Sorry to shock you.
And even though you would most likely admit this as a fact, you continue to believe it when it comes to your marriage. When something goes wrong in your marriage, your subconscious may try to remind you that no one lives happily ever after. When married people feel that way, a large portion of them decides it’s just time to give up.
DON’T DO IT!
Even though Fairy tales are just that, works of fiction, and happily ever after may not be the realistic pattern to your love story, it doesn’t mean that your marriage is doomed. You can bring back the joy by giving your marriage the nourishment it needs to succeed. One way to do this is to set goals for your marriage.
Benefits of setting goals
You need to know what you want out of your life and marriage. If you don’t know what needs to improve, then how can you really know if your marriage is growing or not? Here are some other reasons you need to set goals for your relationship.
Successful life and marriage
Many experts recognize goal setting as an effective way to ensure a measure of success in your life. People set all kinds of goals every year. Lose weight. Make more money. Why not “Improve my marriage” as a goal?
Opportunity to discuss hopes and dreams
In such a busy world, you probably don’t sit down much with your spouse and ask things like, “So, honey, what are your hopes and dreams for the future?” Yet sharing these ideas can bring you closer and identify common ground where you can work together.
A chance at a fresh start
Who doesn’t like getting a second chance? We all need them because we screw up royally sometimes. Goal setting for your marriage gives you a chance to forgive (and be forgiven from) mistakes that were made, and force you to make a plan to improve on that shortcoming in the year to come.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Improvement of all marriages
No marriage is perfect, but no marriage is completely flawed either. No matter how you would rate yours at the moment, there is always a place for improvement.
A vision that allows you to move forward
If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t get there. You need a vision of your life and a plan to get there. God has a purpose not only for you individually but also as a couple. Pray about it, discuss it, and move on it.
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. Habakkuk 2:2
Mutual understanding of priorities
As you set goals, you will discuss and share the most important parts of your life. You may come to discover how important something is to your spouse that you realize was such a big deal to them before.
Progress in your own personal development
There are no perfect marriages and no perfect people. You will discover your own shortcomings in these discussions. Instead of becoming defensive, take steps to improve your own reactions, knowledge, or priorities that will enhance your relationship with your spouse.
Dangers of not setting goals:
Setting goals and moving on the path to achieving them is, no doubt, not a simple process. It will take time, work, and openness to complete them successfully. However, no matter how tough setting goals is, not setting them can have some severe consequences you probably want to avoid.
If you don’t set specific goals for your marriage, the busyness and sin of the world can more easily pull you away. Opportunities to fall into sins that could sabotage your marriage appear more enticing to you.
Not setting goals for your marriage gives the impression that it is less important to you than other things. This is will be especially true if you set goals for other areas of your life. You will have a plan to reach those goals available, and they will often end up overshadowing your marriage.
What about those things you wish for? Wishing is not goal setting. Just hoping for a debt-free family won’t make it happen, and procrastination on those ideas will take over. Stop saying, “Someday, we will…” and get to work on a plan to get there.
Without setting goals and making plans, your emotions often take over. You worry too much and look only for happiness in the moment. Not achieving anything leaves feelings of failure that will weaken your marriage.
Ideas for Goal setting
If you are looking for ideas to help you set goals in your marriage, you may get some inspiration from these suggestions. Do you need to improve your mindset about your marriage to become more positive? Read our post on 7 Mindsets that will improve your marriage for some ideas! Also brainstorm ways to improve your companionship, communication, intimacy, and forgiveness, and to grow in your faith together. Most importantly, you must include God in your plans. Spend time in prayer to determine goals He has for you and what your priorities should be in goal setting.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1
There is hope for every marriage, and one way to bring back the joy in your relationship is to set goals together. No matter when you are reading this, I don’t want you to look back next year at this time and lament the lack of progress you have made.
So, I challenge you to come back and read next week’s blog where we will dig a little deeper into determining the types of goals you should set to make your marriage purposeful.
Want more information about the 7 Mindsets? Download a copy of our 7 Mindsets for Marriage Workbook by signing up for our email list here.