When couples work together to reach mutual goals, the level of intimacy increases in the marriage. A great deal of satisfaction comes from accomplishments made as a team. Look at the excitement and energy on display when a baseball team wins an important game. They train, struggle, and sweat together to take that championship. Listen to the guys sharing about their last backpacking trip and the satisfaction expressed that in spite of fatigue, terrain, or weather conditions, they made it to their destination together. Observe the young couple who scrimped and saved prior to getting married just so they would have enough money to make a down payment on their first home. The joy of accomplishment is beyond words!
Working together toward a common goal creates a sense of belonging, teamwork, and accomplishment, there is no doubt. It is important to benchmark goals and have smaller intermediary goals on the way to the grand finale of goals. By doing so, momentum will remain high because we can see our efforts beginning to pay off, thus increasing the likelihood of attaining our end goal.
Setting Goals Together An acronym that helps to summarize the basics of goal setting is as follows. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T. You may have heard this acronym or something close to it in one form or another, but it bears repeating.
Goals should be Specific. The problem with the goals many people set is that they are so vague it is difficult to determine the direction the goal setting is headed. Leave for your destination without a map and only a vague idea of where you’re headed and you will end up traveling all over town and wasting a great deal of gasoline and time in the process—to say nothing of the frustration and anger that will result. A map shows us exactly where we are headed, and we’ll know when we arrive.
Goals should be Measurable. It is helpful to have a way to benchmark our productivity as we move toward a goal. In this way we can assess from time to time and see if we are indeed moving along the right road. When a goal is measurable we are also encouraged by the small plateaus we hit in striving toward the desired end.
Goals should be Achievable. We should not set financial goals so high that we will never meet the mark. A family with a combined annual income of $50,000 should probably not decide to start saving $2000 a month toward a down payment for a new home. They will become disheartened by the second month and give up the goal entirely.
Goals should be Realistic. It’s great to be a visionary, but if you set your goals too lofty you will never be able to attain them. You will simply become frustrated and give up.
Goals should be Time Sensitive. We should make sure that we designate a certain amount of time for accomplishing our goals. This too will help us to benchmark our progress. Short-term goals are usually ones that you can successfully accomplish in six months to one year’s time. Longer-term goals will usually range from one to five years.
Again, your goals can be personal ones, something you would like to accomplish. Maybe the completion of that college degree you have been working on, or joining the gym to take off those last ten pounds. They can be goals focused on you and your mate—perhaps saving some money so that you can attend an upcoming marriage retreat your church is sponsoring. Goals can also be family oriented, such as putting together a big family vacation. When we are working toward the same goals as a couple or family, we get to share in the benefits of accomplishment.
I pray blessing on you and that God give you the strength to do what’s right.
©2017 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
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