Marriage and Goals

What is your goal for your marriage? What do you think your marriage is suppose to look like? What expectations do you have for your marriage? What do you expect your spouse to do or not do? What does your spouse expect of you? If you haven't sit down with your spouse and spelled these things out, then you are assuming that they either already know or that will just do what you tell them without question. I doubt either one is going to work well.

When your expectations for your marriage are being met, you will think that the marriage is good! Just like everything else in life, when our needs are met, we are happy. When your expectations are not met, the marriage is bad. When that happens there is usually a lot of finger pointing followed by the phrase, "If they would just . . . . " Well, you get the picture. So what do couples do?

Nothing. Yes, there are people who have been married for years who cannot tell you what they expect from their marriage. Years ago Volvo gave Ray Charles (great pianist of rhythm and blues, soul, jazz and country music) a car - put him in the middle of the the desert and told him to drive. Not that big a deal, except Ray Charles was blind. A lot of marriages are like that. Driving nowhere fast - but looked good doing it! Then one day the married couple will look at each other and ask, "What are we doing?"

Something. There are marriages who do have expectations. Things such as financial independence - getting the kids through college, etc. This only gives the marriage something to do. After the goal is achieved (or abandoned) the couple will look at each other and say, "Who are you?" I know that this seems odd, but people can grow apart from each other while living in the same house. Now you know why some marriages fall apart after 20 or 30 years.

Expectations are about what you expect your marriage to be physically, spiritually, emotionally as well as fiscally and parentally. Many times marriages know what they are suppose to do, but they don't know why they are doing it? Expectations give you the right motives to do the right things. Without them someone is going to do something painful and expensive later. Here is something that you can do to get started.

Ask yourself what you expect from your marriage and family. Start with what is most important to you and work your way down to what is least important. No matter how mundane it may seem, make note of it. Then ask your spouse to do the same thing. Do not make any suggestions as to what should be on their list. We need honesty here for this to work. Now that both of you have done this, sit down and review each others lists. Whatever you do - don't overreact. First of all pay attention to what is most important to your spouse. You may agree or disagree, but at least you know what they are most passionate about. Don't get insulted if they are not as passionate about some things that you are. Then as you work your way down the list make note of things you didn't know anything about. If you will start paying attention to these things, it will add value and passion to your marriage.

Now I am going to meddle. Usually when people do the previous exercise, the most important things to them are the kids and/or finances. These are important, but they shouldn't be at the top of the list. For some, their family and marriage are at the top - good choices but again, not right. If you want you marriage to work well, put first things first. JOY! Jesus - Others and then Yourself. Place the spiritual needs of you, your spouse and children first. God created marriage and family - put Him in charge of them and you will discover a whole new wonderful of marriage and family. Then place your marriage and family next. Then things like finances and other "stuff" will follow.