Life Training From Goal Setting

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In what areas of your marriage do you and your spouse need to begin setting goals?

Chastening . . . yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:11

Because of our lack of goals, vision, or direction, David and I endured much chastening early in our marriage. We were, as the Word says, "cast to and fro," arguing over every imaginable decision. We had conflicts over decisions having to do with how we should invest our time, effort, and money, over participation in certain activities, and over what causes or projects we should support.

Without established goals, competing choices often bring confusion and conflict within a marriage. But with clearly defined and documented goals, decision making can be greatly simplified.

The process we came to follow is this simple one: We developed clearly written goals in eight areas of life—spiritual, personal, marital, family, ministry, educational, vocational, and financial. We then established plans to address each goal within given time frames.

We broke our plans down into quarterly objectives, then discussed our progress on selected goals at our weekly marriage staff meetings. Our progress encouraged us, and it also gave us a framework for evaluating other decisions and priorities.

We now have a framework for deciding how we will invest our time and energy. If a given "opportunity" will help us meet one of our already established goals, we have the freedom to say yes. If it will not, then we pass on the opportunity.

We often recommend that couples begin setting goals annually. Usu­ally, a series of one-year goals works best. Longer-range goals, such as buying a house, should be addressed but broken down into what can be accom­plished in a year. Many couples use the week between Christmas and New Year's as a goal-setting time. Others use the beginning of each school year as their time to set goals. The important thing is to begin setting goals.

In what areas of your marriage do you and your spouse most need to begin setting goals?

Heavenly Father, guide us in setting goals for our marriage.

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