Goals For Your Marriage

photoWe are now nearly half way through the month of January in 2014!!!!  How the heck did that happen.  Having past the mid-century mark in my life I now know and am in complete agreement with the statement, “Time flies whether you are having fun or not.”  It seems funny that as a younger person I was always living for the next thing and now I am digging in my heals hoping to slow things down.  Okay, enough about that and back to the topic at hand.  With the first half of January behind us, the question is…..have your set goals for you marriage for 2014?  For several years Steven and I have developed goals for our marriage and our family.  I call it my vision list for the year.  Habakkuk 2:2-3 says:

Then the Lord answered me and said,
“Record the vision
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

This is a pretty common passage when talking about visions.  I love that it is so clear and easy to understand.  You see having a written vision for your marriage and your family increases the likelihood that is will come to pass.

Having a written vision not only will help increase the success rate of reaching your vision it will also do several other things. First, it will help you bring clarity to what you really want.  By taking the time to write it down you can give thought to what really is important to you and your spouse.  You have the opportunity to narrow the list to the things that are really important to you.  Secondly, keeping the vision in a place where you can see it, will help you be inspired to take action.  I have a huge, wall size, Post It note pad that we write our vision on.  Keeping it in a visible place all years keeps us inspired to keep pressing towards completing the vision.  Seeing the vision regularly will increase your pin-point precision and increase your success rate.  Thirdly, having a written vision will help you identify and avoid distractions.  Going in to many directions will dilute the effectiveness of your vision.  Fourth, keeping the vision list before you will help you press on when you want to quit.  By looking at the vision and seeing the progress you have made toward the vision, you will have the inspiration you need when the going gets tough.  Fifth, having a written vision will increase the success of your marriage as you and your spouse work together to accomplish the things on your list.  Finally, it will increase the celebration when you see the vision accomplished.

If you have already completed your vision list, congratulations you are well on your way to being more successful in your marriage than the majority of marriages without a written vision. If you have yet to write the vision for your marriage, I encourage get together with your spouse, spend some time praying and then write the special vision for your marriage for 2014.  I will be one of the best things you do for your marriage.

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Seeing Better ~ Seeing Differently

photoWhat is vision?  For many when you say the word vision, you immediately think about your eyes.  Most would agree that is has to do with being able to see with your natural eyes.  This is true, but vision is so much more than just sight.  I had a friend who recently underwent surgery on both her eyes to have cataracts removed.  After her surgery I would always ask her, “I am I better looking yet?”  I’m happy to report that she is doing great and yes, she always says I’m better looking.  Natural sight is so important and any effort to improve your natural vision when needed is a blessing.

Vision, also is about what you see for your future.  In my last post I talked about having a vision list. A vision list is just a focused way to look at your future.  It can encompass your dreams, your goals, your hopes and whatever you want to focus on to help give shape to your future.

Vision, however, can also be about our perspective of things.  When we do marriage and relationship life coaching, we frequently have as our goal, helping people see their problems, their marriage, their situation from a different perspective.  This slight change in vision often makes incredible difference.  In this post, I want to focus on taking a serious look at the way you see things, your perspective can really influence how you walk through life.  For the majority of us, our vision/perspective of life is driven by our past, our beliefs and our life experiences.  We often see the world the same every day.  If your past shows you that people are hurtful and untrustworthy, then you will most likely continue to find that people will hurt you and you will struggle to trust.  If your life experience says financial prosperity if out of reach, then in most cases you will continue to live a life of lack.  If your life has been littered with people who say they love you and then walk out of your life, you will probably have difficulty connecting on a deeper level with people.  What if you could change the way you see your life?  Imagine what it might look like if you could be released from this perspective and see your life as blessed because people that you loved even came into your life to start with.  Say, for instance, that you decided to believe that every person in your life was there for a reason.  Maybe that reason would cause them to remain as a valuable asset to your life that would last forever, or maybe that reason is for a simple task to teach you something you didn’t know or help you see the world in a different way but then they left your life. When you begin to really look at the vision that you have about people being in your life, you are able to change the way you interact with them.  This is just one simple way that adjusting your vision, your perspective changes a lot of things.

Suppose you decided to change the vision that you have about your future.  You decide that you want to see your future very different from you present and your past, is that even doable?  The answer to that question is yes, and is dependent upon how much you are willing to change your vision.  A small fraction of change can actually net a significant change in your life in the future.

So with all this in mind, begin to think about the future you want to have.  Be brave and willing to make some changes in your perspective/vision and begin to live the life that you were created to live.  Choose to live the life you can enjoy.  Choose to be who you really feel like God has called your to be.  Take some time as 2013 comes to a close and begin to get a vision for what you want 2014 to be.  You can and do control your destiny by the vision you choose.

Bucket List VS Vision Lists ~ Do You Have One?

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 4.43.00 PMAn amazing thing has started in our family.  I am happy to report I was the source of it.  Does that sound prideful?  Well, maybe but when something I did starts to make an impression on people in my circle I get pretty excited.

A few months ago, I read a blog by one of the pastors I work with at Victory Church.  Pastor Ryan Latham has a blog that I enjoy reading.  He and his amazing familyScreen Shot 2013-12-17 at 4.34.53 PMScreen Shot 2013-12-17 at 4.35.12 PM are truly an inspiration to me.  When I think about marriages that are true and solid and lived totally for Christ, theirs is one that comes to mind.  They truly are a great example of a Godly marriage and family.  Back to the blog that is the inspiration for the transformation in my family.  He wrote a blog about his Bucket List.  Now I know that probably brings to mind the movie with the same title and truthfully I have never been a big fan of bucket lists.  They seem sort of morbid to me.  However, when I read Ryan’s blog post, I was struck at how much more it sounded like a vision list to me.  This is something that I am very fond of.  Well, after reading his post I was inspired to write my own vision list.

In our breakfast nook at home we have a GIANT post it note pad that my husband and I use for diagraming book chapters and scheduling ideas for marriage conferences, this, I thought would be the perfect thing to write my vision list on. After all, it was big enough, and what isn’t cool about a giant post it note.  After much thought I began.  Ryan inspired me to dream big.  So I started with the books I want to write, followed by seeing some family members come to know Christ, and then added a pretty large donation I would like to make to help my son’s new church.  There are several other things on the list but you get the idea.  After completing the list I thought about moving it to the bedroom but truthfully, I forgot to.  Then I began to notice that as people would come to the house they would gravitate to the walls with all the paper stuck on them.  My vision list was a favorite place for many people to pause.  You could see the wheels turning as they stopped and thought.  Many made comments and some even said they were going to make their own.  I liked this a lot.

The first person to come around to the idea of a vision list was our daughter’s amazing boyfriend Matthew Myers.  Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 12.01.50 PMAs you can tell by the picture, he is adorable and I am so glad he is part of our family.  Truthfully, Matthew started his vision list because, well, I made him.  Currently it has only one thing on it, but hey it’s a start.  The next people to get on the vision list train are our son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Brianna.  They are the community pastors for Faith Church in Hinton, Oklahoma.  I just received a picture of their vision list.  So excited!!!!!!!!

So now, what is on your vision list.  What big things do you want to do or where would you like to go?  What would you like to see happen in your family and your marriage?  With the end of 2013 here, now is a great time to spend some time making your vision list for 2014.  Habakkuk 2:2 says:

2 And the Lord answered me:  “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

So whether you call it a “bucket list” or a “vision list,” take some time and do one today.  You will be amazed how when you see it on paper, it quickly becomes reality in your life.

Ulterior Motives

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 6.48.56 AMMany times in our marriage we can find ourselves attributing our spouse’s behavior to a specific ulterior motive.  If the ulterior motive is “they love me and really want to be a great spouse,” then you are probably enjoying a great marriage.  Honestly, more times than not this is not our default concept of our spouse’s motives.

For many years now Steven and I have utilized a concept that for the most part, helps us maintain right thoughts, attitudes, and interpretations about each other’s words and behavior.  We do this by applying this very simple principle, “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”    When you encounter any situation where you find yourself angry, disappointed, hurt, or feeling condemned, applying this simple technique can prevent you from charging head-long into a full on assault or sliding completely into a pit of hurt feelings and despair.

Many times, the behavior of our spouse is influenced by many things and these can manifest in behaviors that are confrontational or hurtful when this is truly not what they are intending to communicate.  Consider this idea.  If you have had a bad day at work, you were caught in traffic, late for a meeting, or perhaps were treated unfairly by your boss, you may have trouble letting it go when you come home.  Because you’re already in a stressed state, you are more likely to find fault or have your feelings hurt by something simple that your spouse says, does or doesn’t do.  While your spouse may intend no ill will or have no negative ulterior motive, you still perceive it as an assault or attack.  It is during these times that it is important to take a step back, breath, and ask yourself a simple question “What is the intent of my spouse’s heart?”  This one simple technique when applied can prevent many unnecessary problems in your marriage.

So I ask you today, What is the intent of your spouse’s heart?

Marriage Made Simple

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 7.01.30 AMHere is a wonderful blog by one of my co-workers at Victory Church in Oklahoma City.  Really sometimes we like to make sure that we sound super important by sharing wisdom and making it difficult to understand.  Bo is truly a funny man and he has a great way of communicating.  I love reading his blog and know you will too.  In his current post he does a great job of being honest, wise and simple.  After reading Confessions of a Married Man – My Top 5 Ways to a Happy Marriage I guarantee if you simply apply his advice you will have a better marriage.

Families Can Be Funky

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 6.22.36 AMI was on Facebook recently and I saw a sign that said “As two families are becoming one, we ask that you choose a seat not a side.”  I’m would love to give credit to the person who made that statement originally but in my research I was unable to figure that out so if you know please share it with me.

As I thought about this statement, I thought about the magnitude of the truth it conveyed.  Being a wife, mother, and a mother-in-law, I have found myself on both sides of the coin.

When two people get married it often brings with it two very different families and therefore two very different family cultures.  While in most cases, the guys are less likely to bring their family into the marriage, girls are highly likely to.  I remember my mom would always say “You have a son until he takes a wife, you have a daughter all your life.”  This is true a lot of the time.  This is not necessarily bad or good but can many times be one or the other.

Before you get married is the best time to take a good look at what each family can bring to the marriage.  It is important to discuss such things as family culture, family holiday traditions, and religious beliefs and practices.  By doing this you can save yourselves a lot of unnecessary problems.

If you are the parent or parent-in-law/family member or family-in-law member I encourage you to do your best to not choose sides but choose the side of promoting a healthy, loving, God-centered marriage.  Making this choice, you will not only help the marriage but you will help impact future generations.  Your support can and will make a difference.

Completely Hidden in God ~ A Woman’s Heart

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 6.48.41 AMThe best way to have a successful marriage is to have a God-centered marriage.  This only happens when both the husband and wife have God at the center of their own lives and then He can be the center of their marriage too.  I have never met a couple who truly lived a life where God was the most important thing in their lives who where headed to the courthouse to get a divorce.

Meet Michael McIntyre,Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 5.56.26 AM and his beautiful wife Tiiffany. They are the youth pastors at Faith Church in Hinton, OK. They just had their first baby, Gunner.  Michael loves to hunt and fish and is frequently seen wearing camo.  In fact, Gunner’s carseat and stroller are made of camo fabric.  It’s super cute, by the way.  So when I saw this precious picture of Michael and Gunner Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 5.41.23 AM I made the comment that I had a hard time finding Gunner because he was hidden in his Dad.  What an absolutely beautiful picture of how we should live our lives.  Colossians 3:3 says “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (MSG)  Living a life that is completely hidden in Christ ensures the best possible life.  The second thing I noticed about this wonderful pictures was the contented smile on Gunner’s little face.  I promise that even though your life will continue to have hard times when you are completely hidden in God you will be able to walk through them with this kind of contentment, trusting God to handle everything.

I love this quote, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” ~Max Lucado

I want to encourage every wife today, truly live a life that is completely hidden in God.  The rewards in your marriage will be far bigger than you could ever imagine.