Our Life on Christ

Sunday, November 27, 2011

7 Steps to Creating Life Goals With Your Spouse

Happily Wedded Wednesdays

We attend Courageous Church in Atlanta. Right now, we are at the end of a four-part series called 100 Life Goals. My husband’s and my respective lists thus far have been our own individual goals. We started thinking in the last few days, “Hey, we are kind of going to be doing this marriage thing for a long time. Maybe we should have goals together.”

People definitely need to have their own, personal goals because outside of our spouses, we are still individuals. As a couple, though, it will strengthen your relationship to have goals together; this will give you a focus--a purpose.

7  Steps to Accomplish Your Goals

I adapted this process from what we are learning at church, which is from a handbook authored by Mark Batterson. It is very simple but not necessarily easy—there are only a few steps but it will take some time and effort to work through the steps. With your spouse, follow these steps:

1.    Pray: Ask God to reveal how you can use the talents He has given you. Pray that you are not confined by the limits you have placed on yourself. Some of your goals should be so crazy that you can only accomplish them if God strengthens you!

Pray and think big!

2.    Know why: Are you going after your goals for the right reasons? Are you motivated by money? Are you hoping to honor God, looking to make a difference in the world, be happy, or maximize your potential? As you are putting your list together, know why you want to accomplish each goal.

3.    Use other people: It can be hard to come up with a long list of goals for your whole life. If you read things that other people aspire to, it can remind you of things that you once dreamed. You can also copy other people’s goals! It may seem weird but it is perfectly fine. We will post our goals in the weeks to come. You can also do a search online for “100 Life Goals” to get some good ideas.

4.    Categorize: Thinking in terms of categories can make it easier to generate your list. Categorizing will add variety to your lists and, in turn, your life! The categories we will use for our marriage are: travel, influence, charity, experience, and finances. For our individual lists, we will use additional categories like physical goals and skills goals.

As much as possible, try to include others (children, friends, strangers) in your goals. It’s more fun to take other people along for the journey.

5.    Be specific: You cannot simply say “We want to travel” or “We want to win people to Christ.” Set dates or ages and make the goals quantifiable. For example, “We want to go to Greece by the time we are 31” or “We want to mentor 12 people every year and see them accept Jesus” are better, more measurable goals.

Be sure to make long-term goals—10, 20, even 50 years in the future! What you do today or tomorrow can and will shape how your life will be when you are old and gray.

6.    Write it all down: Keep a goal journal, create a long checklist, make a copy on your computer, start a blog—however you want to do it, just make sure that the goals are not just in your brain. As you begin putting everything on paper, you may realize that to achieve one goal you need learn a new skill. Gaining this skill then becomes another goal.

I learned a new term recently: “structural tension.” Structural tension is the energy that is created to move you from your current reality to wherever you have your sights set. Writing your goals down creates this tension in the brain, which will help you to achieve your goals.

Making a vision board is good way to keep your goals top-of-the-mind.

7.    Do it! Now is the time when the rubber hits the road (cliché but true) and you put everything into action. Celebrate your victories along the way and never stop dreaming! Revise your goals as needed.


Put the marriage first. Originally, I thought that a person should create his or her individual goals first and make common marriage goals second. Now I think it is important that husbands and wives make sure they come to an agreement about the direction of their life before individual lists are created. So, after you make a list as a couple, get away by yourself and continue a goal list for yourself.

Compare notes and make sure your goals are not at each others throats. Your individual goals should never contradict. It would be pretty bad, for example, if one of your goals is to home school your daughter for high school and your spouse aspires to save enough money to send her to the most prestigious high school in your state.

Talk through your lists. See if you can compromise in any way.

Do you already have a list of goals? What are some additional steps you took?

We would love to hear about your process as you are taking the steps above! Leave a comment or send us a message!


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anji Mabon, Anji Mabon. Anji Mabon said: The new year is almost here! Sit down w/ ur spouse & create life goals. 7 steps to do it here: http://ow.ly/3frLk [...]

  2. [...] weeks ago, we talked about creating goals with your spouse. We gave a list of seven steps to do so here. We are now posting our goals for two reasons: 1) to help you with ideas and 2) so that the whole [...]

  3. I love this article you help guide me with staying positive in my marriage. You two are an inspiration!!!!

  4. That's great Maria, marriage is such a beautiful thing. We wish the best for you, hopefully we will write more on subjects that you identify with in the near future.