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Day 13: Setting goals as a family

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor" Ecclesiastes 4:9


Marriage or relationships, in general, have received a bad rep - especially now in our generation. Many wonder if marriage is where people go to die because they have seen and observed how their married friends and family members give up on themselves and their dreams as soon as they tie the knot. This was my fear before getting married. I felt that we (women) were being sold the idea that our role is to meet someone, find out their dreams, and spend our life-supporting them in achieving those dreams at the compromise of ours. I couldn't buy into that. I already felt God awakening my purpose in me as a single person, and I was beginning to function in my gifts. I couldn’t imagine that one day, when I got married, I I would be expected to fold these gifts up neatly and shove them under the bed to take up whatever role my husband would expect me to play in service on his dreams. Even back then I believed that marriage should be a place where two people can thrive.


When I listened to Lisa Bevere, I finally found someone whose idea of marriage resonated with me. Lisa shares how she lost her eye at five years old and ended up exempted from typing and public speaking in class. Many years later, as a married woman, Lisa's husband John encouraged and challenged her to start preaching in church and helped her discover herself as a world-renowned Christian speaker and a published author. Marriage created a space where Lisa faced her fears and tapped into her potential. In their book, The Story of Marriage, Lisa and John share the idea that in marriage, people should "allow for each other's strengths to build rather than to tear down."

The challenge that couples face when it comes to goal-setting is being able to strike a balance between pursuing personal individual goals and the broader family’s goals. At the core of this challenge is our ability to learn how to hold space for one another as individuals and while being able to function one unit. Even before marriage, there is power in couples tackling life goals together and helping each other grow into our highest potential.




Firstly, we need to establish that Become One doesn't mean we stop existing as individuals and have to let go of our dreams, desires, and ambitions. Instead, Becoming One means leveraging off each other's strengths and overcoming our weaknesses with the help of our "other wholes (not halves)). So the first thing is that we need to function as individuals even when in a union. We need to set aside time to develop our vision of ourselves in every dimension of our lives and then to communicate this vision to our partners for input, critique, and improvement.

Secondly, we need to discuss how we will support one another in achieving our goals. If I am a mother who wants to go back to school full-time, then we have to talk about our family's childcare dynamics. We need to think about what compromises we will make as a family to ensure that I am successful in my goal (e.g., settling for store-bought meals instead of home-cooked meals if that's what I was providing while not in school full-time). If this means I will be giving up an income for a while, and we are used to living in a double-income household, what financial sacrifices will we as a couple have to make in that year to compensate for the loss of income?


Thirdly, we need to understand that there is more power in us functioning as a collective than just as individuals. In their book: Money Problems, Marriage Solutions; Chuck and Ann Bentley make a case for why married couples should do better financially than when they are single. There are many reasons for this, and I believe the main one is the ability for two people to leverage on each other’s strengths and to use them for the benefit of their union. However, this doesn’t work if we are unable to get our individual goals to yield to our collective goals and vision. Therefore, we also need review how our individual goals serve us as a collective. The reality is when we pursue goals that either don't serve the family structure that we are trying to build as couples or that compromises what we are trying to develop, then that can cause trouble for us as couples and result in us having to choose between our goals and our families. Therefore, if there are goals that we have as individuals that don't serve our collective purpose, then we need to interrogate if it is worth pursuing.


Married people experience per-person net worth increases of 77% over single respondents. Additionally, their wealth increases on average 16% for each year of marriage. - Chuck Bentley

Of course, this means that the greater collective goal(s) should have been developed in agreement by a couple. The greater collective goal should authentically serve everyone in the family and should not be about making the more dominant member of the family happy at the expense of others. The broader family goal/vision should be OURS. In patriarchal homes or communities, this is one of the most significant challenges because women live a version of life that belongs to the husband, who controls the vision and the resources. This is a social construct and not the rule of how relationships thrive. My observation is that where women have had to compromise themselves disproportionately, they are filled with bitterness and regret in their old age.


We also have to consider our children and their needs and wants in our family goal-setting process. Our kids need us to think for their futures and to develop a vision on their behalf as we continue to help them discover themselves. However, it is not up to us to dictate who our children will be, but it is to immerse them in a wealth of experiences and provide them with the relevant resources to help them discover their potential and grow into who they want to be. Therefore, as we goal-set for them, we need to keep this in mind, and we need to involve them as much as possible depending on how old they are. We need to ask them what their interests are and to keep an eye of their gifts and talents and their emotional, social and spiritual needs. So many of our parents were so focused on us achieving in one area – academically – that many other areas were neglected. We need to make sure that it’s different for our kids.


Finally, once the goals are set, and the action plans are put into place, then we need to be equally committed as a family to seeing that we develop habits, rituals and behaviours (I will do a separate blog on this) that will help us achieve our desired goals.

 

Journal Reflections

  1. We've spent the past few days setting some individual goals. Set time aside to discuss your individual goals as a family.

  2. Write down ways in which you will support each other's goals.

  3. Develop a collective family vision and review the ways in which the individual goals don't align with the collective vision.

  4. Set goals for the kids in the family - if they are old enough let them set their own goals, share the collective vision of the family and discuss how the family can support them.

 

Tools and Resources


Podcast:

Listen to Tiisetso and Nsizwa Mutasa talk about "Aligning your dreams to your love journey in their podcast"




Video:

Watch Mpoomy and Brenden Ledwaba talk about the importance of a family vision board.

Books:



Kommentare


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a passionate leader, accomplished professional and a mentor. I believe that nation-building depends on how well we build people. Therefore, my mission is to contribute to the personal, professional and leadership development of people to empower them to reach their highest potential.

I do this through a mentorship program that I founded and through this blog where I share principles I've applied and insights I've gained in the past twelve years of my career and leadership journey.

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