Marriage, Postmarital

Steps to Taking Your Marriage on an Annual Marriage Evaluation and Vision Retreat III


Mary and I really look forward to this time every year because we feel as though we connect in the spiritual realm, the emotional realm and in the practical stuff of life realm.  We leave this weekend having a greater sense of oneness, direction and knowledge toward the year ahead of us.  Thus far we have covered prayer and finances.  Today, let’s take a look at employment, schedules and vision.

Employment:  Review and evaluate your year of employment.  Are you still called to this job or business?  Are you meeting your financial obligations through this employment?  Is there a possible change within this area of employment?  Are there possible changes to your employment?  What are your employment dreams?  We often ask ourselves this question, “If we could do anything that we desire to do without thought of finances, what would it be?”  Is there a side business you have or are interested in creating?  In all of this we are attempting to discover if our heart is still in our employment or if God is calling us to some kind of change.

Schedules:  Review your activity level from the past year.  Were you gone from home too often with employment or hobbies?  Did you enjoy a sufficient number of dates with each other and your children?  Did you have weekends away?  Did your family take a vacation?  Assess children’s activities and their schedules.  Share your anticipated schedules for the coming year.  Project time away together and family vacation.  Project this evaluation time for next year.

Vision:  Review any written or verbalized goals from the previous year.  Review your marriage mission statement and make any necessary changes.  Review any scriptures that you had recorded from the past year.  Write your new goals and vision (spiritual, financial, social, emotional and physical).  Finalize this time by dreaming ahead.  Pray and record what you see and allow your mate the freedom to project into the future because…”faith is the substance of things hoped for.”  We strongly feel this time can radically change the atmosphere of your marriage.  Take us up on this challenge and schedule it now.  You’ll be glad you did!

Marriage, Postmarital

Steps to Taking Your Marriage on an Annual Marriage Evaluation and Vision Retreat II

In part two of taking your marriage on a retreat we want to consider finances.  Because we have laid down a foundation of prayer for this time, it will be easier to talk about money and financial decisions.  The use of finances is something that most couples struggle with and for many it is their most difficult area to find agreement.  That’s because we often come into marriage with differing financial values.  For example I was a “saver” and Mary was a “spender.”  In an earlier blog I wrote about how those were actually gifts once we began to appreciate and discover what the other person’s way of thinking brought into the marriage.  But for the sake of this weekend, we want to first review our prior year financially, give God thanks and then move on to the coming year in order to make necessary changes.  Below, I have encapsulated our process for this time.

Take time to review your budget from the prior year.  Where was your budget accurate and where did it miss the mark?  Review each of your accounts, checking and savings.  Review your giving, e.g., tithe, missions, first fruits and offerings.  Review your investments, e.g., life insurance, money market, IRA’s, etc.  Review your debt and your plan to be clear of debt.  Are you in agreement with your spending, credit card charges and purchases?  Are you in agreement with your saving, life investments and giving?  Are you meeting your financial goals in all the above areas?

After evaluation turn toward the future:  What are our future financial goals?  What are we saving toward?  How are we handling our children’s higher education?  When do we update our vehicle?  What projects do we need to consider in our home in order to address ongoing maintenance and improvements?  In other words, what is our financial plan?  Most couples do not incorporate a budget or a financial plan.  It is an extremely helpful way to be in agreement and to reach those financial goals.

Why do all this?  Proverbs 3:9 tells us to honor the Lord with our wealth.  I truly believe and have experienced God’s blessing when we are operating in financial oneness.

Encouragement, Marriage, Postmarital, Prayer

Steps to Taking Your Marriage on an Annual Marriage Evaluation and Vision Retreat

You have most likely attended a woman’s retreat or a men’s retreat in your lifetime.  Have you and your spouse considered a personal marriage retreat for the purpose of evaluating the past year and then praying about vision for the forthcoming year?  My wife and I have been doing this for many years and find it to be one of the most helpful annual connections we do together.  It gets us on the same page.  We communicate thoroughly.  We take a hard look at what was and evaluate where we are.  We keep the excitement factor up by looking ahead toward the future.  In the next several weeks, we desire to share with you our process of how we do this.

I book a hotel room for 24 hours.  Yes, we get away from the normal setting because it’s conducive to what we desire to accomplish without the typical interruptions.   We check in as early as we can and begin to settle into evaluating our year after we dedicate our time to the Lord in prayer.  The first thing we do is to connect through prayer.  (We will look at other areas of this time in the coming weeks.)

Praying together as a couple is a key to this time.

Start by giving thanks for God’s provision and protection from this past year.

Pray about this time together concerning this retreat, specifically that you will hear the voice of your heavenly Father.

Pray over your marriage, your family, your employment, your finances; pray about everything and anything.

Give God praise for the positive and the not so positive.  Praise is a key factor to keep our heart attitude correct and open to this time.

Assess your prayer lives together as a couple and as a family.  Are we connecting sufficiently through the discipline of prayer as a couple?

Leadership, Marriage, Postmarital

Finding Our Co-mission as a Couple

This past weekend, Mary and I had the privilege of installing a godly couple into the position of lead pastors at a church in Massachusetts.  As little as a year ago, they might not have seen themselves in this position, but that’s the “amazing race” our Father can have us on if we are listening to Him.  They are so excited to see what God will bring about through their leadership together.  Up to this point, they have served in numerous roles within this same local church for many years in whatever area of service they could.  Imagine if they would have refused serving in a co-mission capacity along the way.  Would they have been given the greater responsibility now before them?  As we are faithful in little…

Marriage is a oneness that trumps personal selfishness.  Agreement in our mission together is vital to a long-term, successful and fulfilling marriage.  While I am not called to everything my wife is, we have found specific areas where we serve together in our co-mission.  We have written those areas down in our “marriage mission statement.”  And for 2014, this past weekend was a part of fulfilling our mission together.  How about you and your spouse?  Do you have a written marriage mission statement?  It may help you to discover the reason(s) you are married.  Next week we will look at how to build your very own personal marriage mission statement.  Until then, begin making a list of all the things you are presently involved in as a couple.