Dear Sisters in Christ,
As we embark on the journey of a new year, it's time to make some resolutions towards our betterment. Many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year, observing areas where we've grown and contemplating needed areas for growth and improvement. While New Year's resolutions are common, the commitment and follow-through required to achieve them often waver. Your marriage needs to receive the same attention you pay to your career, fitness regimen, and self-care regimen.
I invite you to reflect on your role as a wife or girlfriend (if you're not married), you possess the transformative power within you to enhance your relationship by setting intentional visions for who you want to be in your relationship in exchange for your emotional and relational expectations. It is important for us to have ongoing evaluations, whether we are currently married or if we are thinking about getting married. If your single and dating or in a committed relationship, please realize that no relationship progresses towards marriage without strategic, measured and intentional efforts from both parties. And if your already married and seeking to stay happily married or even increase your level of emotional connection these same strategic, measured and intentional efforts are still required from both parties. In a world where resolutions are made and broken, let's seek lasting change guided by God's Word. With this new year, we are granted the opportunity to become intentional about the type of wife we claim to be and to make strides as we strategically mature towards her direction.
Honest Reflection on Our Resolutions:
Many of us are familiar with the tradition of making New Year's resolutions. According to YouGovAmerica.com, 'some of the most common resolutions revolve around self-improvement, healthier living, happiness, weight loss, exercise, and relationship improvement'. The desire for better relationships is evident in all, but the challenge (like anything) lies in the daily execution.
A study from the University of Scranton indicating that only 8% of people successfully achieve their New Year's resolutions. As wives, what if we applied the principles of self-evaluation and goal-setting to our marriages throughout the year to prepare for the year's annual review? It's not about waiting until the end of the year; it's about regularly assessing our progress with weekly or monthly business meetings, preventative care counseling sessions and taking whatever unique strategic steps to grow in our individual roles as spouses.
Biblical Foundations for Visionary Marriages:
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) reminds us, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Applying this wisdom to our marriages, having a vision brings unity, motivation, and a positive focus during challenging times. In our roles as wives, it's crucial to understand the biblical foundations that guide our vision for marriage.
1. Unity Through Vision:
God's intention for marriage is unity. In Genesis 2:24 (NIV), it is stated, "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." But this objective of emotional oneness will only happen through willingness, intentionality and a commitment to hard work. Having a shared vision creates a common goal, fostering unity in emotional, spiritual, financial, and intimate aspects of our marriage, which is beautifully built day-by-day.
2. Doing the Right Thing:
A vision guides our behavior in alignment with our desired marriage. And open communication with your partner allows for one to make adjustments as needed. Proverbs 3:6 (NIV) encourages us to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, and He will direct our paths. A Godly vision acts as a moral compass, helping us discern the right course in our attitudes, actions and for our marriages.
3. Focus in Troubled Times:
No lengthy relationship becomes successful without working through its challenges. It's the daily habits of the good times, that lays the foundation for the level of communication, transparency and trust that will be required in the bad times. Everything is seasonal, and it cannot be Spring and Summer at all times. During challenging moments, a vision serves as a guiding light. Psalm 119:105 (NIV) says, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." God's Word provides the foundation for our visions, giving us hope and direction in troubled times.
4. Recognizing Success:
The world will teach us to be self-serving, cut your losses and have a backup plan. Having a vision allows us to celebrate successes. Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) assures us, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." When we commit our marriages to God's guidance, we can recognize and build upon the successes in our relationships. And ask the spirit of God to cover the sensitive areas that both spouses are still growing in, until a noticeable change is made.
Crafting Your Vision for 2024:
create a practical approach to creating a yearly vision for your marriage:
Joint Vision Setting: Engage in open conversations with your spouse about individual visions and relationship goals for the marriage. Look for commonalities, shared desires and areas that you can support/serve each other.
Categorized Goals: Break down visions into categories such as spiritual, financial, lifestyle, travel, relationship, and parenting goals. This ensures a holistic approach to your marriage and a measurable way to achieve what you both desire.
Seek Divine Direction: Pray for God's guidance in shaping a personalized vision for your marriage. Explore relevant scriptures and seek wisdom from Christian resources. Be-friend another wise and mature Christian wife that you can sit at her feet and learn from.
Realistic Steps: Break down your vision into realistic, achievable steps. Consider daily or weekly actions that contribute to your shared goals. These are the same daily steps that would be suggested for a successful project plan at work and could transfer over into your relational life as well.
Regular Assessments: Schedule regular checkups to assess progress and make adjustments as needed. This ongoing evaluation fosters continuous growth and improvement. I often teach the concept of a bi-weekly or a monthly 'Couple's Business Meeting'. This meeting template can be downloaded from my Freebies page to provide you the structure needed to have a productive meeting that covers the pulse of the business, finances and emotions of your relationship. It is a dedicated time where all participants come to the table ready to talk, share and open to receiving.
Remember, becoming an excellent wife is a journey of learning, developing skills, and growing in wifely maturity. It is a process, and it doesn't just happen on the wedding day. The wedding ceremony is just the first day of class and the day that all the work begins. None of us were born as wives; it is a unique role that we learn to perfect and mature into. Proverbs 31:10 (NIV) reminds us, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." As we embark on this year with purpose and vision, let's strive to be wives who are teachable and constantly learning, while embracing God's blueprint for marriage, so we can become that wife worth far more than rubies.
I'm Praying with you Sis!
Your Sister in Wifehood,
Author Adia Dozier