A few weeks ago, as I started planning goals for 2018, my marriage was at the forefront of my mind. This is because so many other goals, including those related to finances, parenting, and serving others, impact and are impacted by my marriage. Moreover, I’m a firm believer that strong marriages don’t just happen—they take deliberateness and effort.
Subsequently, I’ve set five marriage goals for the coming year. Would your marriage benefit if you set these goals, too?
Marriage goals for next year
- Communicate appreciation. We all like to feel that our efforts are appreciated. However, most of us aren’t very good at communicating appreciation! This coming year, one of my marriage goals is to tell my husband every day that I appreciate him. One day this may mean thanking him for working hard as the breadwinner for our family. Another day this may mean sending a simple text message thanking him for mowing the lawn. Other days this may mean sending notes tucked in his lunchbox saying how grateful I am for certain aspects of his personality. Whatever the medium and message, I hope to communicate my appreciation each and every day.
- Cultivate a sizzling sex life. Have you ever felt so tired at the end of the day that sex was the last thing on your mind? If you’ve ever been the parent of young kids, then you’ve likely experienced this or you at least understand how it could happen. Unfortunately, it happens around here on occasion. Even when we’re not tired, sometimes our focus is so solidly on our kids that we fail to put much effort into our sex life. I want to make sure my husband and I don’t miss out on opportunities for intimacy, so my second marriage goal is to do small things to cultivate a sizzling sex life. This may mean different things to different couples, so here are a few of the specific things I’m endeavoring to do:
- Declutter the bedroom and keep it tidy
- Get new sheets to replace our raggedy ones
- Flirt with my husband regularly
- Minimize how much work needs to be done (make an easy-to-prepare meal, don’t invite guests over, etc.) on evenings when we plan to be intimate
- Communicate regularly about sex (see discussion on check-in times below)
- Read books that will help me grow as a wife. We benefit from reading together as couples, especially when we read books on the topic of marriage. These books help us grow as husbands and wives. Because they’re written for both spouses, though, sometimes the advice in these books isn’t as pointed or detailed as the advice in books that are written specifically for wives or for husbands. I want this sort of advice to stimulate my growth, so my third marriage goal this year is to read at least three books written for wives (if you have recommendations, then I’d love to hear them).
- Have regular check-in times. It’s not unusual for spouses to lose touch with one another as they become distracted by the demands of everyday life. My husband and I noticed this happening after we had our first child. We decided to be intentional about staying connected by checking in with one another each Sunday evening. This worked for a time, but when we moved across the country and had another child, we let this practice fall by the wayside. My fourth marriage goal is to reinstate our check-in times. We’ve been having a meeting each month to go over our budget and schedules, so I’m going to pull out the following check-in questions during these meetings. We’ll have to modify them a bit to reflect the fact that we’re using them monthly instead of weekly, but I believe they’ll still be very helpful.
- Read the Bible together. It’s wonderful for spouses to read the Bible together. I’m a little embarrassed to say that my husband and I don’t do this. We sometimes read Scripture together (like when we’re doing our Jesse Tree readings) and we read Christian books together regularly. However, we rarely sit down and read the Bible with one another. I really want this to change! My final marriage goal is to read the Bible with my husband. I already asked him if we could use the same Bible reading plan this year. He’s agreed, so we’ll be reading the same passages of Scripture each day. Another thing I will do is to bring a passage to our attention each month during our check-in time (see discussion on check-in times above) so we can read this aloud together.
If these five don’t strike a chord with you, then perhaps one or two of the following will be suitable. These are marriage goals that I’ve heard other wives set in past years.
- Say “I love you” every day
- Find a hobby to share
- Go on a weekend getaway
- Turn off the TV more often
- Attend a marriage retreat
- Mentor (or seek mentoring from) another couple
- Read a marriage book together
- Spend more time together
- Make date nights a priority
- Plan a budget together
- Memorize Bible verses together
- Don’t go to sleep angry or upset with each other
- Break a bad habit together
I generally feel good about my marriage, but then I see lists like these and realize how much room my husband and I have for growth! The point of these lists isn’t to make us feel overwhelmed or fretful; the point is to inspire us. If we identify a couple of areas to focus our efforts and set some realistic goals, then we can experience tremendous growth in our marriages this year!
What are your marriage goals for the coming year? What things will you do to keep yourself on track to achieve them?