If you work for a company, are a part of a social group, club, or even a church they all undoubtedly have a mission statement. Every successful business or group has a singular set of guiding principles that their actions and decisions are wrapped around. It is that document that outlines their purpose and the end goal of their existence.
So if corporations and your church know that they need to specify what drives them, what then about your marriage? Is there any value in having a mission statement for your marriage? Would there be any benefit to spelling out guiding principles and values that the two of you share and the rest of the household follow?
I ask, because last week a twitter friend ask me, kind of matter of fact, about my marriage mission statement. It was a reminder to me, that this is something that every marriage should have. My wife and I did create a marriage mission statement and write it into our goals when we got married, but that was a few years ago. And we need to go back and update our own mission statement. In the early years, having a clear, defined, measurable mission really gave shape to our relationship…So I think you know what my wife and I will be doing in the near future. But how about you, would it help for you and your spouse to spell out what the mission of your marriage relationship is? Well, as I look back over my own marriage mission statement from the early years and think about what needs to be updated, here are four key ares that you may want to consider in your own marriage mission statement.
- What guiding principles shape your relationship? One key element that you may want to include in your mission is the things that matter the most, to the two of you. The more specific the better. Think of areas like communication, money, trust, parenting – life. For example: “We will honor Christ in how we speak to each other, even and especially in times of conflict. We will seek to build each other up and not use words to tear each other down. We will listen to learn of each other’s feelings, not listen to win an argument”.
- What marriage legacy do you want to leave? Secondly, a marriage mission statement should include where you want to end up. At some point God is going to call one of you home and what will remain will be the blessed memories and the love that your marriage has sown into the lives of others. So an example may be, “It is the mission of this marriage to be an example of love to our children, those that enter our house and those that we call our friends and family.”.
- What Scriptures will guide your marriage? In many ways the message of the Bible is our mission statement. So Scripture has to be the backbone of the direction of our marriage. For example, when thinking about how to handle money, the words of the Lord, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”, may be helpful. There is not shortage of guidance from the word of God.
- What do you need to do and how do you need to treat each other, daily, to achieve #1 & #2? Simply, writing our mission on paper does not move or shape our relationship. Rather, it is the action that we put behind the mission. The points of our mission statement call us to consider our individual and collective actions toward each other. For example, “We will set aside one hour a week to talk about our goals and our future together.”, or “In order to bridge our communication gaps, I will set aside 10 minutes out of every day just to listen to his/her feelings or needs”.
Having a marriage mission statement is personal. So have fun, think of it as a working document. Look at it daily and update it annually. The point is to write the vision and stay on a mission to build healthy points of connection between the two of you. I pray that it will bless your marriage in many ways.