There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1
A new year is upon us! Do you get excited about all the planning and goal-setting that so many people participate in at the start of a new year? A couple of years ago, I realized that while I loved to set personal goals and plan out my year, my husband and I never took the time to do this task together.
I heard Christy Wright share how she and her husband did a goal-setting date night, and I was hooked. You can adapt this to fit your personalities, but I wanted to share some ideas to get you thinking as we start a new year.
Plan a special date night to work on your goals -You don’t want to surprise your mate with the idea, so talk about the plan ahead of time. You can choose a favorite restaurant to eat dinner at before your talk or order food and make it a special evening at home. All good planning sessions begin with great food.
Pray together – Ask the Lord to help you honor Christ and one another through your discussion. Pray that God would reveal ways to honor Him this year through your time, resources, talents, family, and career.
We had a journal in which we each took turns writing the answers to our questions. The thought was that we would be able to add to these books each year and reflect on the ways God had changed us. You can take turns writing out your answers to each section and then take time to share your comments. Don’t rush the process.
What did you get right in 2022? What have you both been doing well over the last year? Where have you seen success in your marriage and family? After you each read your list, add to it and share some things with each other that you saw that they did right.
What did you get wrong in 2022? What lessons did you learn? What mistakes were made in your marriage and family? Make a list of things you don’t want to repeat going into the new year. Again, once your list is written and shared, take a few minutes to add to the list if there is something you want to bring up. The goal is not to have a time of spouse-bashing but to learn from each other and grow from the wins and losses.
What are your top priorities in the next three months? Choose a few things you want to see take priority in the first few months of the year. These are the things you will focus on, even if it means sacrificing something else.
What doesn’t matter right now? What do I lose time to that isn’t a priority? For example, do you need to cut down on your TV time or the bad habit of staying up late?
What boundaries do we need to set in this season to protect the things that matter? Where can you make a strategy to protect the list of things you want to accomplish and invest time into? How can you change your life to make that dream a reality?
Thinking back to your priority list, list some things you want to do this year with your time, talents, and resources. Do you want to take a family vacation or start a new hobby? You may need to plan a regularly scheduled date night. How can you budget your money differently to make some of your priorities a reality? Make a list of goals that align with the priorities you listed.
The benefit of each person taking the time to write their list and share is that one person doesn’t dominate the conversation. Every couple usually has a planner and a free spirit. The planner will love this exercise, but the free spirit may not understand why it is essential to have this discussion. Be patient with each other. Don’t get frustrated if your list is thought out and 10,000 words and your spouse only listed one-word answers. You are starting a beneficial process of communicating.
It is also important to understand that agreeing to give up something in this season of life doesn’t mean you’ll never do it again. You and your spouse are just deciding that it isn’t a priority right now.
I pray that this exercise will be something you and your spouse look forward to each year. You may even consider revisiting your list every quarter. Enjoy the moments of bragging about your spouse and expressing your gratitude for how they serve your family well.
What would you add to this list? Comment below and share your ideas.