Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital

The Ten Most Important Lessons after 37 Years of Marriage

Number ten: Evaluation


Most persons dread evaluation time at their work place.  The whole concept has a negative feel to it.  However, it doesn’t have to be negative when it becomes life-giving.  What do I mean?  Once a year, Mary and I take off for our evaluation weekend.  It is normally at the end of the year or in the very beginning of a new year.   We locate an inexpensive place to stay and we gather together our goals and vision for the present year, our marriage mission statement, our budget, check books, savings account and our schedule books.  Throughout the first afternoon and evening we review our past year, e.g., our jobs, our volunteer organizations, our finances, our mission statement, our goals, our children, our home projects and our schedules.  We simply talk about what was and how we are presently doing.  We review our personal lives and our lives as a couple, i.e., date nights, family gatherings, roles and responsibilities.  We then go out for a nice meal together and continue the discussion as is necessary.  The end the evening with giving thanks to God for all He has done in our lives.

The next day we begin our projections for the year ahead.  We review and re-write if necessary our mission statement.  Over the years our couple mission statement changes as our children are raised or as we reach financial goals.  We re-write our goals for the coming year.  We re-work our family budget.  (One year we had to reduce 7.5% of our income from our budget.  I was dreading this piece of the weekend, but with appropriate evaluation, prayer and communication we did it in one painless effort.)  Prayerfully we consider our schedules for work and ministry together, our trips and weekends away together.  Together we make necessary budgetary changes.  We reflect on questions like, “Do we need to save a bit more or adjust our giving?”  We take the time to pray over every area of our lives and together dream about our future.  When we leave this place, we leave on the same page, hand-in-hand and united for the year ahead.


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