What’s the plan?

People tend to make New Year’s resolutions or set goals for themselves in the new year. It tends to be personal goals like lose weight, get a new job, buy a house, and so on. But what about goals for your marriage or family? Have you set any goals for your marriage?

We didn’t, until a couple of years ago. On New Year’s Day 4 years ago, we sat down for the first time to write down our goals for the year. We each wrote them out separately, using the categories of Faith, Family, Friends, Finance, Marriage, Health, Travel, Personal.

Then we compared our goals and created a document that included those we chose from our two lists. Let me tell you, it was eye-opening to see how DIFFERENT our goals were in certain areas! And I was surprised at how little I knew of Steve’s true desires for the year. For example, he listed under “travel” that he really wanted a vacation away for just the two of us. At the time, we had a baby and I was still a little nervous about leaving him alone. But doing this exercise helped me to see how important this was to Steve. So, we put it as a priority goal for our year (and we accomplished it!).

At first, Steve wasn’t really into my little New Year’s goal setting fun. But when he saw that it allowed us both to express what we truly desired for our year, he was all in.

Setting goals for your family is a great way to start a new year!

Part of setting those goals was expressing our desires for our marriage. It’s a great opportunity to share with your spouse what you wish to see happen in your marriage. Do you wish that you would have more date nights? Set a reasonable goal that you both agree on. Does your spouse want you to join them in an activity you don’t normally participate in? Set that goal. Do either of you want to see a marriage counselor for a “tune up” or take a marriage bible study together? Use this time to discuss what you both will feel comfortable with.

Once you set those goals, its time for a plan!

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

You have to have a plan! It’s one thing to say “we would love more date nights.” How are you going to make that happen? What are the obstacles?

If the goal is one date night a week, an obstacle might be your busy family schedule. Another obstacle may be childcare. Spend some time identifying the obstacles and finding solutions to them. Make a plan.

Your goal-setting will feel very defeating when you don’t attach a plan to it. Don’t just wish for your marriage to get better…set some goals and make a plan to make it better!

We would love to hear from you about your goal-setting for this year!

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Book Review: The Antelope in the Living Room

Sometimes it’s nice to read a book that is marriage-related but it’s not a “how to” or “top 15 things you are not doing well in your marriage.” Can I get an AMEN?

I just read one of those books and I figured it might be nice to share that with y’all. It’s called The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle. She blogs at TheBigMamaBlog.com and also authored Sparkly Green Earrings. 

**Let me tell you now….this book is for the ladies. Sorry, guys. I mean, you COULD read it…but in my opinion, you may prefer different reading material. I actually think there is language in this book that is only translated to female ears. Just sayin’.

The Antelope in the Living Room is a memoir. Each chapter is a separate story, but there is a through-line within the entire book of the authentic, no filter, fun-loving, humorous life of the author. She openly tells us about some of the big and seemingly small challenges that we all can be faced with in a marriage, but does so with an edge of (dare I say) sarcasm and humor.

There are lovely moments, too. We get a clear picture of the love and grace in Melanie and Perry Shankle’s marriage and a clear image of the godly commitment they have made to each other. They take the covenant of marriage seriously. But they don’t take themselves too seriously.

I recommend this book if you would like to read a light, fun-hearted, transparent memoir of a marriage that is grounded in faith and still growing and maturing. If you are in your 30’s-50’s, I think you will especially enjoy the cultural details she includes. It’s a walk down memory lane for those of us in the “middle years.” Gosh, did I just admit that?

You can pick up Melanie’s book here or visit her blog at www.TheBigMamaBlog.com. (Disclosure: I have not read her blog yet!)