There are two types of people in this world—resolution makers and non-resolution makers. Odds are good that whichever type you are—guess what—you married the other type! Perhaps you’re the one in the marriage who thinks New Year’s resolutions are stupid. You think: I’m going to break them anyway. I’m just setting myself up for failure. This is most people. At best, you think: I’ll have one good month. Just look at the local gyms for confirmation – full in January and empty by now.
So, in a marriage, one person doesn’t make any resolutions at all and the other person makes too many and falls flat. Who’s better? If you are in the “no resolutions” camp, could you consider making a few small resolutions and sticking to them? If you are in the “I make too many resolutions” camp, how about making only a few, simple goals and not getting too aggressive? I have been in the “too-many resolutions” camp for years. Unfortunately, few, if any, of my commitments have survived until March. Here are 8 tips for making marriage goals.
8 Tips for Making Marriage Goals
So, it’s now February. Let’s break the mold, set resolutions, and have them impact all of 2022. Here are eight tips to effective resolution-making in order to start the New Year off strong and keep it going all year. You won’t find these ideas overly marriage-centric. However, as you improve in one area (past February!)—my thought is that you’ll improve your marriage.
#1 What needs the most attention?
Identify the area of your life that needs the most attention and make a resolution in that area. A small change in diet or exercise that you stick with for an entire year will pay huge dividends.
#2 Don’t be stupid.
Unrealistic resolutions set you up for quick failure. One year I decided I was going to go for a run every day of the year. Yes, 365 days in a row. It was one brutal January. My desire not to freeze ultimately prevailed over my self-will, and I quit running altogether. And, no, to answer your question, I didn’t have a treadmill.
#3 Prioritize the most important things.
First and foremost, prioritize your relationship with Christ. Spiritual health is always more important than physical health.
#4 Don’t quit even if you mess up.
A bad day doesn’t have to become a bad year. Progress is more important than perfection. God is gracious and patient. His mercies are new every morning. Even if you miss your goal one out of every three days, 243 out of 365 is probably a lot better than you did last year.
#5 Make a relational goal.
Pick one person and resolve to grow in that relationship this year. Put specific action steps in place to draw closer to your spouse, friend, or relative.
#6 Put some structure into your resolutions.
If you wait for time to build good habits, you’ll never find it. Put important things on your calendar and stick to them.
#7 Remember this principle.
Remember the Proverb: “Man makes his plans, but the Lord determines his steps.” So, if life takes an unexpected turn, don’t be discouraged—trust GOD! A big curveball doesn’t have to throw you off for the entire year. If possible, pick the resolution back up as soon as you can and keep going.
#8 Be accountable.
You don’t typically grow alone. Talk with your spouse and hold each other accountable throughout the year.
Now, it’s time to make or refine our resolutions. Try the FiSHeR Method (Financial, Spiritual, Health, Relational). Pick one financial goal, one spiritual discipline, one health habit, and one person to draw closer to in 2022. Then, make clear, practicable resolutions for each one. If four goals seem like too many, pick one or two and go with that.
You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with marriage?” Well, spouses who draw close to Jesus, take care of themselves and pursue important relationships seem to do pretty well. Great marriages are the result of pursuing Christ and getting into the right rhythms. Let’s go—and keep our goals past February!
Marilyn Rhoads is co-founder of Grace Marriage.