Throughout the short life of this blog (5 months now, including our Weebly genesis), we have shared various tidbits of wisdom about intercultural marriage from a mentor who thus far has gone unnamed. Today we’ve asked that mentor, Pastor Anthony Odhiambo, to share a few words of encouragement for our readers. This topic is one he’s drilled into our heads many times, and it has become pivotal not only in helping us communicate as a couple, but also for the purposes of hashing out our future endeavors. We hope you’re just as blessed by what he shares as we have been.
The importance of goals in a family
As two individuals come to the agreement of sharing their lives together, the last thing on their mind is goal setting. Instead, the majority of couples will tell you how much they love each other and what they imagine marriage will be like, and they truly expect their lives to turn out that way. At this point you can clearly see that these individuals may be living in a fantasyland, because love is a choice. If they expect their lives to be that way, they better have a plan to keep it that way. You can only expect what you inspect.
A time will inevitably come when the lady who once was sweet and charming becomes a nuisance, keeping you from living a life of freedom. On the other hand, the man whom you couldn’t wait to spend all your time with has become a road block to your destiny, causing you to figure out ways to fulfill your destiny without him. This is but one of the challenges that occurs when a man and a woman determine to share their lives together.
Proverbs 29:18 states that “where there is no vision (divine revelation), the people run wild/perish/are exposed. But happy are those who follow God’s teachings.” From this verse we discover that there is a teaching which, if followed, will bring happiness and blessing to our lives and keep our marriages from destruction. So before people decide that they want to get married, the first thing they ought to do is sit down and come up with goals for their marriage—both long term and short term. These goals are simply guidelines that direct you to your destiny as a family. They give you a purpose to work towards in unity and love. These goals are not just one’s desire imposed on another, neither are they one’s dream imposed on another to fulfill, but they are the desires of both the man and the woman who have decided to share their lives together.
These goals should be:
Most people set goals that are not achievable. When they do so, they claim that they believe God will help them achieve it. The fact that we are spiritual beings does not mean that we don’t have brains. We have freewill to choose what we want, and God respects that, but you don’t have to tempt the Lord or invite unnecessary stress and worry into your life. So for the success of your marriage, take time to plan for it. The best house is the one that has a proper plan with properly laid out foundations. Likewise, a good family is one that has principles that are well understood and have been developed and nurtured along the way.
Always make your goals simple. I have talked to some people who have goals that are all over the place. They begin at one point then pause it, and then they begin the second point and pause it as well. Very soon these individuals will be burying their heads in the sand in their search for direction. Simply be directional in your goals. Let your family have a clear purpose to live for. And be sure that your family isn’t competing with other families, but that they understand what their goal is.
Never make the mistake of picking a goal that you never mean to fully accomplish. Have you ever applied for a job you didn’t really like? How did you feel waking up in the morning getting ready to go to work as opposed to how you felt when it was time to go back home? If you have a job that you are more excited to get back home from than you are excited to attend, then you are in the wrong place, and your attitude will be terribly affected. In the same way, you don’t want to be in a marriage that you dread to come home to that turns spending time with your spouse into a box to be checked off your list. Please understand that spending time with your spouse shouldn’t be something we dread, but something you love to do. Your goals shouldn’t keep you from spending time with each other, nor should they create an environment of selfishness. Any goal one is planning to achieve should be thoroughly talked over with the spouse and given their full support. Remember these goals are to make you work together effectively and draw you closer to each other having a common vision/purpose and not to cause a strain. It is the unity in the relationship that brings strength. At times there could be no desire in performing the required goal, but as long as there is support and unity both will be able to achieve it.
Always, always be very specific with your goals. There are couples who are not very specific about the amount they want to spend on a vehicle or the model of the vehicle they are looking for. As a result, they may end up with a good vehicle with a high payment or a cheap vehicle with a lot of problems. That is why they should both do their assignment of educating themselves on different kind of vehicles, their mileage, the availability of parts, etc. After you have done your assignment, then you can make a concrete decision based on knowledge and desires together.
These goals will help give you a purpose in life. I can guarantee you that those who don’t have goals will end up having a marriage that is very shaky and without peace. After coming up with the goals, make sure that you write them down. Habakkuk 2:2 tells us to “write the vision down and make it clear” so that whoever sees it may run with it. So many people have their goals in their head and most of the time, they forget about it and even begin to wonder why on earth their marriage isn’t helping them accomplish those goals. The moment you write your goals down and place them in places where you can see them, they give you a sense of direction, and as you begin to accomplish the short term goals, you begin to have security and fulfillment in your marriage. You begin to see the purpose you both were meant for unfolding before your eyes.
I would like to encourage you to make necessary adjustments to see your marriage fulfill its purpose before your eyes. For those who have not set up goals, it’s never too late to begin. You can get together and have a plan. I hope this will help some of you. Stay blessed and I wish you the best.