I recently shared on Instagram that my husband and I spent some time setting goals for the new year. It didn’t take long for someone to comment, asking how we do this. I thought it would be fun to share with you how we set goals and why it is important to set goals with your spouse.
My husband and I have set goals every year and throughout each year that we have been together. Setting goals gives us something to look forward to, to hope for, to work together toward, and when we achieve them it gives us something to celebrate.
When we want to set goals, we turn it into a date. We either go to coffee or dinner to do this. We do this for several reasons. It gives us something specific to focus on and talk about during our date. We are intentional to talk about important things that we hope to achieve in the future. The conversation, although we are setting goals, usually is accompanied by deep and significant conversations about our marriage. Setting up a date to set goals also helps us not to be distracted by our young kids or other responsibilities in the home. And by planning a coffee date or dinner provides an atmosphere that helps facilitate setting goals because there is always a table that we can use to whip out a calendar or notepad to write down our goals. I have even used a napkin on an impromptu date that we had once.
Because we set a date up to do this, we know it is coming. We each take time beforehand to consider some personal goals we want to achieve.
Here is a brief list of areas to consider making goals:
In your relationship with God (reading regularly, praying, bible study, serving)
In marriage (intimacy, connectedness, responsibilities in the home)
In finances (budgeting, tithing, getting debt free, giving)
In meal planning (likes, dislikes, diets)
In parenting (training, discipleship, schooling, extracurricular activities)
In fitness (workouts, training, dieting)
In business/career (marketing, design, new products, promotion)
In travel (vacations, visiting family)
This list does not include every area you could goal set, but hopefully it gives you an idea of where you can start.
When I goal set I like to bring a year calendar with me so I can check dates and set deadlines for us. This helps us to know what to expect during different seasons of the year. I also like to fill in any reoccurring events or plans that are already set to keep us organized. I also have a piece of paper out that I scribble down our goals onto. Then I usually turn it into an email and send it to both of us as a point of reference and something we can easily have access to.
Goal setting with your spouse is awesome because it aligns your hearts. It puts you on the same page with each other. It sets up a hope for the future that is actually discussed, as opposed to expectations that are in your heart that leave you disappointed if they are never met.
After we set our goals, we submit them to the Lord. We take a moment to pray and we tell God that we want to be good stewards of all that He has given to us. We tell Him that we have set these goals, but that we desire His will above all else. Prayer aligns our hearts with His.
Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3
A few things to note:
As with any conversation with your spouse, it is possible that bickering can rise up…but do not let it detour you from the mission. Let go of pride and find a way to quickly reconcile so that the time you set aside for this goal setting date is not wasted.
Let the conversation unfold naturally. There may be a goal that is presented that leads to discussion about an important area of marriage or faith. Don’t be afraid to take the time to go there and really dig deep with each other. These discussions are significant and will lead to emotional intimacy.
All this talk about change and resolutions can feel overwhelming, maybe even make you or your spouse feel like you are not doing a good enough job. Be sure to take time to encourage each other and affirm each other as you goal set. Let each other know where you see good happening in your relationship.
Lastly, whatever your goals are for the New Year, be sure to remain flexible in your heart incase God wants to change your trajectory. Let His will for your life and marriage be above what you can dream or imagine.