Have you ever stopped to think about the contrasts between your work and personal lives? Why is it that we proactively work to navigate our careers while we fail to navigate our lifelong journey? Why do we spend so much time defining a mission, vision, and values for our company but fail to even think about doing it for our marriage?
Maybe I’m the only one, but it seems as though we’re not nearly as strategic outside of the office – especially when it comes to our marriage.
I work hard to be a good husband and father. I’ve come to the realization that I don’t work smart. By failing to develop a marital vision with Teresa, I have left us thrashing. My efforts have been in vain. We’re spinning our wheels, trying hard, and getting nowhere. What are we trying to accomplish? Where are we going? We have no idea what we’re working hard for – just to be happy together? – there’s got to be more.
Inevitably someone will point out that as a Christian my marital mission is rather clear – “to get your spouse to heaven”. Yes, we are all called to that, but there has to be more. Treading water in a “happy home” doesn’t sound much like the God I know – the one that had Noah build an ark, David build a kingdom, and Jesus save the world.
God clearly calls us to an active faith. We are to love, serve, and tell the world of his love. He gives each of us talents and makes it quite clear that he expects a return on them. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required”. As a married couple, we have twice as much.
So what is expected? What great thing are we going to accomplish together for God? For what purpose has he called us?
All of a sudden life is more than work, homemaking, and carpools. When you are pursuing a vision together each becomes a key initiatives or administrative necessity – part of a much larger effort. Tasks become less route. The ordinary makes more sense against the backdrop of a vision. We discover our efforts have more meaning in light of a mission.
But most of all, our marriage becomes exciting again – we are living it in the context of a great adventure. We are pursuing a vision for the sake of a specific mission and we get to do it with the person we love. Frankly, in comparison, a marriage without a strategic plan (mission, vision and values and the plan to live it out) seems rather dead.
Teresa and I have been diving deep into the heart of our marriage lately. It’s a sometimes painful, but always joyful, process. It’s hard work to have a great marriage and we’re committed to taking ours from good to great. We’re rediscovering the excitement of our dating and engagement by preparing to take on a great adventure – together.
If you’re interested in doing the same for your marriage, I encourage you to read Love and War.