Around our first anniversary, my husband TJ and I spent some time together sharing our goals for the coming year. It wasn’t unlike New Year’s Resolutions. We talked about where we were in our jobs, and our finances, about some trips we wanted to take and some hobbies we wanted to rekindle. We wrote it down and just kept living. But by the end of the year, we found we made progress on those things we’d discussed. More than I’d ever made on New Year’s Resolutions as a single person.
In the years since, we learned a phrase used by Pastor Jimmy Evans, who teaches on marriage with his wife, Karen. Jimmy teaches the idea of scheduling an annual “vision retreat” for your marriage. The concept is simple (though I’m paraphrasing here based on my experience):
- Take some time to get away alone together, somewhere you both enjoy.
- Plan to do something fun together.
- Spend time in prayer and God’s word together.
- Talk about everything. Work through the tough stuff. Anticipate new challenges. Celebrate past wins.
TJ and I just got back from our vision retreat, this year on a cruise to the Caribbean. (At this point, I can highly recommend a vision cruise!) For us, the “talk about everything” part of this yearly experience includes some broad categories that we think a little on in advance and then unleash when we’re together, including Finances, Jobs, Health, Personal Goals, Home Projects, Relationships and Ministry.
As we discuss and come to agreement on different points — for instance, giving goals or people we want to intentionally invest in, specific fitness goals or challenges we anticipate in any area of life — we write everything down. We paint the picture of the vision for the year in front of us.
I usually get a few questions when this comes up around other married people:
Don’t you nag each other about sticking to all those goals?
Nope. God gives us grace for the vision. It’s not a step by step plan. It won’t all go like we dreamed it up. But we encourage each other towards the things God spoke to us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in marriage so far, it’s that there’s no room for pride.
How do you remember everything?
We post it in our room. Yep, we make it plain. Every so often throughout the year, we’re drawn to it. We remember what we set out to do. We let go of the failures and keep our eyes on the ultimate goal.
There’s power in the accountability of marriage. There’s power in the common vision of two people committed to each other for life. It’s not for Type-A people trying to control every aspect of their time. Vision for marriage isn’t limited to the visionary.
Who should be able to encourage you more than your spouse? Who knows better when to push you and when to just pray for you? Who has more direct impact on your financial goals, your routines, your relationships and your paths?
Church people like to talk about vision — vision for the local church, for student ministry, for missions. What could happen if we taught people to seek God for a vision for their marriage? What could happen if we led by example?
Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:2-4 NLT
Vision for marriage isn't limited to the visionary. via @tonymorganlive Click To TweetChurch people like to talk about vision. What could happen if we taught people to seek vision for marriage? Click To Tweet
Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained;
But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]. Prov. 29:18 AMP