As one year closes and the next begins, resolutions and goals for the new year become the focus. One of the most effective ways to set, and achieve goals is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting model. Most of us are familiar with it. Our goals should be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
My guess is that most of us have set S.M.A.R.T. goals in our lives for 2013. Studies show that the most common goals are lose weight, manage debt, take a trip, or get a better job. Those are all good things, but most of them can be achieved completely alone or with minor help from others.
What about S.M.A.R.T. goals for your marriage? Goals that cannot be completed alone. Goals that need you and your spouse to achieve. Goals that will give married couples something to work toward, work together, and work dependent upon our spouses.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. marriage goals can be a great way for you to grow your marriage. It can set you up for spending more time together, having more conversations, creating deeper and more intimate moments. Much like a marriage relationship itself, the journey to achieve these goals will be worth it all if you stay the course, do not give up, and ultimately achieve what you set out to do.
If you have not done so already, I encourage you to sit down with your spouse as soon as you can. Start talking about what you want to accomplish together. Discuss what you can achieve that will leave your marriage better at the end of the year. My wife and I typically sit down with our kids, set goals, and share them. This year we are being a little more intentional about S.M.A.R.T marriage goals. Below are a few of our goals, as well as some other goal ideas.
1. Have “x” number of dates
Our ultimate goal is date each other weekly for life. We are not doing so well to this point. In following the S.M.A.R.T. goal pattern, setting a specific number of dates may be more realistic. At the end of the day, if we have more dates this year than last year it will be a success!
2. Run a race together within a specific time
Exercising together is great. Exercising together and achieving a goal is even greater! If one spouse is a runner or biker, and the other is not, then determine a time that both can achieve crossing the finish line together. One person may take the lead in training if they are more experienced, but it is a couple’s goal.
3. Read “x” number of books together
One of our favorite activities, that we do not do enough, is choosing a book neither of us has read and taking turns reading together before bed. If one spouse is not a reader, this can be a way for him/her to read more.
BONUS: Surprisingly, as simple as it seems, reading together before bed can lead to other things. I can see it now, brothas that typically won’t read anything, checking out books from the library every week! Do what you got to do!
4. Dedicate “x” number of days to mentoring a less experienced married couple
One thing that has helped our marriage turn the corner is realizing that our marriage has an impact on others. Our marriage is our ministry. It is not just about us, or our kids. One of the best ways to learn and grow is to teach what you know to others. It brings accountability and perspective on what you do.
Find another couple, and mentor them in 2013. Talk about ending the year with your marriage better than it was at the beginning of the year. This will do it.
5. Memorize a new scripture specific to your marriage
Scripture memorization is powerful. Many times when I have been at my lowest, or had doubts about our marriage, a scripture I have memorized comforted me and kept me from doing anything stupid. Couples have their song, their restaurant, their show, but what about their scripture.
I encourage you to see what the bible says about marriage, and find a scripture that challenges you both. Memorize it. And I don’t mean memorize like we did to pass tests in school. I am talking about internalizing that scripture. Know it inside and out, and being able to speak it at any time.
BMWK: Have you set S.M.A.R.T. marriage goals? In the comment section below, share one marriage goal that will leave your marriage better at the end of 2013.