Success is more than economic gains, titles, and degrees. One can plan for success in just about any aspect of life. You can map out a plan even for your marriage. Similar to a map that you actually take with you on a journey, you will need to define a few details. For example you will need to define you origin, your destination, your vehicle, your backpack, your landmarks, and your route. One may ask, Coach Debbie how is life mapping going to work for a successful marriage. I am glad you asked. Let’s jump right into this topic and find out just how easy it is to map out a successful marriage.
Starting Point: Where you are right now
A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now. Most couples when asked to introduce themselves would say, “Hi, we’re the Kessler’s, we live in Georgia and have been married for 12 years. This does not tell you about who the couple really is; it only tells you their present status of marriage. It does not tell us anything about who Debbie is or what she values in a marriage.
Let’s apply this to your marriage, to gain insights about yourself, you need to look closely at your beliefs, values, and principles that you have toward marriage. Also, you can reflect on your experiences to give you insights on your good and not-so-good traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses. Upon introspection, a couple could realize that they have a few good characteristics and doing so they each found out about them selves. Jill was highly positive, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Eddie was loyal, trustworthy, and passionate, but was controlling. They both were inclined to want a happy marriage. And they both believed that life must serve a purpose, and that their marriage could be a good example in the community,church and with friends.
Destination: A vision of who you want to be
“Who do you want to be?” this is your vision. Now it is important that you know yourself so that you would have a clearer idea of who you want to be; and the things you want to change whether they are attitudes, habits, or points of view. If you hardly know yourself, then your vision and targets for the future would also be unclear. Your destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Continuing with Jill’s story, after she defined her beliefs, values, and principles in life, she decided that she wanted to have a life dedicated in being a godly wife and mother.
Vehicle: The Mission
A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can be analogized to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Based on the couple’s self-assessment, they decided that their marriage should honor Christ. They were both suited to become a godly husband and wife and wanted to become that. So this is how their marriage mission state would read:
Our mission is to be devoted as a family, to living our lives as a Christian family, focusing on the teachings of Christ. We will work together to strengthen our community through our active involvement in charities and Christian outreach programs. We will set strong examples for our children and will raise them with the proper amounts of nurturing and discipline. We are committed to considering each others feelings always and putting their needs above our own. We will give praise to the Lord each day for bringing us together.
Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude
Food, drinks, medicines, and other traveling necessities are contained in a bag. Applying this concept to your marriage map, you also bring with you certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These determine your competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at present and what you need to gain along the way. This two-fold assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of success. The wife in our example realized that she needed to gain more knowledge and skills on her temperament and that of her husband. That way she would better understand his needs and meet his needs. She knew that she was a bit impatient with him so she realized that this was something she wanted to change. The husband knew he wanted to learn more about how to let go of some of the control.
Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives
Landmarks confirm if you are on the right track while the route determines the travel time. Thus, in planning out your marriage, you also need to have landmarks and a route. These landmarks are your measures of success. These measures must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound.Remember, especially when you are first starting out, don't set your goals too high. Make your short term goals achievable rather quickly. This will set you, as a couple, into the habit of achieving your goals. Set goals both together and separately. For example, a husband who has never cooked a meal in his life might have the short term goal of learning how to cook something nice for his wife, or how to launder her sweaters without shrinking them. A wife might have the short term goal of learning the difference between a power forward and a shooting guard. Together, you might have the short term goal of planting a flower bed or painting the bathroom.
One couple set a goal for learning each other’s temperament and we put together little changes they could implement. Our couple identified the following landmarks in their marriage map: completing a temperament test, working with their marriage coach to understand their own temperament, and then each other’s temperament. Their goal was to bring harmony into their marriage. They would be getting along better. They also realized their need to learn better communication and conflict skills.
Your long term goals could be more involved. Paying off a loan, making a career change or planning the ultimate vacation. Write these things down and go over them often. Adjust your goals as your lives change. This will also help you both keep the lines of communication open and you will find the reward in helping your beloved achieve a personal goal can be just as powerful as achieving one of your own goals in life.
Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes
Back to our example. As Jill and Eddie's marriage coach I encouraged them to not get discouraged if and when they hit a pothole or had to make a detour. The purpose of a marriage map/mission statement is to minimize hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But oftentimes our plans are modified along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. Like in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes thus; we must anticipate them and adjust accordingly. As their marriage coach I am able to help Jill overcome any setback in her vision to be a godly wife and mother. Again, I must stress, keep your marriage mission statement and marriage plan flexible. Be prepared to make adjustments when necessary and make sure your partner is aware when the need arises for you to take on more responsibilities for your marriage together.
I hope that you are able to see how even having a marriage map for your marriage is beneficial. When you ask for my coaching I will take you through a process that will allow you to identify your marriage mission. You will learn how to map out a successful vision and mission statement even for your marriage.
Let me encourage you with these verses. “The Lord…will bless the home of those who do right.” And “the Lord hears the prayers of those who do right.” Even more, “the Lord supports those, who do right,” and “the wishes of those who do right will come true.”Pro. 3:33, Pro 15:29 Ps 37:17 and Pro 11:23
Always remember to schedule your free consultation with your Marriage Coach Debbie Kessler
Debbie Kessler loves her husband, Wally Kessler. She is a southern girl who loves Jesus and loves building up people to do Good Works of Love.