One of the running jokes in the Star Wars universe is the poor aim of the bad guys when firing their weapons against the good guys. It’s almost like they’re not even aiming. It brings to mind a quote often attributed to the great artist Michelangelo: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
That perspective can leak into our marriages as well. If we aim at a low target in our goals for marriage, we will hit it. Are you aiming for average or awesome in yours? Here are 6 targets to shoot for.
Giving vs. Taking
A marriage aiming for average has two spouses who focus on taking what they can get out of the relationship. The measuring stick for how things are going is, “What am I getting out of this?” Our goals for marriage are meant to have a higher aim. In a marriage aiming for awesome, the default position is, “What does my spouse need from me?” The really cool thing about this approach is both spouses wind up getting what they need (and often also what they want) when they are first focused on giving what the other needs. In the average approach, the self-centered mindset weighs the marriage down, disappointing both.
Making Time vs. Finding Time
A marriage aiming for average is filled with busyness and family business. When schedules aren’t full, time is sucked away by the apps, social media, and entertainment that satisfy the individual but make it easy for a person to ignore the couple’s needs. But a marriage aiming for awesome makes time, intentionally, for family business, for recreation, for prayer, and for romance. In every good marriage, making time together has to be a priority.
Growing Through the Worst Times vs. Good in the Best Times
A marriage aiming for average is fun when the good times roll in. But when turbulence hits, those good memories are not always enough to carry a couple through. In a marriage aiming for awesome, the couple sees that their marriage was actually made for the tough times. This is one of the good goals for marriage. The growth and bonding and trust built during the worst times of a marriage makes future good times even sweeter. Some of the greatest storms in my marriage with Susan, from serious medical crises to parenting challenges, have created the strongest foundations for us.
The growth and bonding and trust built during the worst times of a marriage makes future good times even sweeter.
Clean Slates vs. Score-Keeping
A marriage set on average has spouses who are great at keeping score against each other. No offense is forgotten. Reconciliation can occur, but the scorecard is never empty. But the marriage aiming for awesome strives to wipe the slates clean, clearing the decks with grace and forgiveness. These couples recognize that both spouses contribute to the hurt they’ve experienced. Seeing your spouse as a teammate instead of an enemy is critical.
Beliefs vs. Behaviors
The marriage aiming for average focuses on whether the right things are being done, as if a checklist of behaviors is the way to a happy marriage. That view can be helpful, but if that’s all there is, a checklist ultimately leads to disappointment. A marriage that aims for awesome has two people who regularly check their hearts, not just their behaviors. And our hearts and behaviors follow our beliefs. What we believe about commitment and marriage is ultimately what drives our behavior by shaping us from the inside out.
Lifelong Marathon vs. Quick Sprint
At first, marriage feels like a sprint into new adventures. You can’t get there quickly enough! But that’s the view of a marriage aiming for average. The long view of marriage as more of a marathon is what you’ll find in a marriage aiming for awesome. Time reveals the need for a steady pace and rhythm to married life that handles the curves and ups and downs with some emotional and relational equilibrium.
What goals for marriage help you to aim high with your spouse? Share in a comment.