Celebrating 27 years of marriage is not something to take lightly – not these days.
According to different studies, depending on who’s done the study, you’ll find that the average married couple in America last less than 10 years of marriage. The rates in other countries are not too far off except in the Middle East with an astounding 4 years or less. Divorce is on the rise and for different reasons.
There are various reasons why marriages don’t hang together “til death do us part.” I’ve heard of a ton of reasons – like: falling out of love, financial problems, boredom, infidelity, physical or verbal abuse, etc. Many reasons! What amazes me is that most of the reasons known to man for a lack stick-to-it-ness in their marriage is often a lack of vision. Yes, a marriage vision. As much as people want to fulfill their dreams, yet you can’t fulfill your dreams without a vision.
Think of a vision as your big garden. In that garden you plan to plant all kinds of veggie and fruit plants. So your vision encompasses your entire gardening operation – your dreams, on the other hand, relate to how you will enjoy the benefits of the garden. So you focus with a dream for certain places of the garden. When harvest season comes, you will enjoy your dreams that came from the vision.
In this way your dreams have a solid foundation and you’ll sure reach every one of them because you didn’t just go after “a dream” you worked the vision and enjoyed the dreams within the vision. I wrote more extensively about this in my book. You can get it in Amazon if you’d like.
Check this out. Have you been involved in a company where its vision has died, or never communicated by its leadership? Have you noticed the symptoms and the end-result?
Well, let me give you the results: Often, what you have in a company that has lost its vision or that doesn’t have a vision implemented into and engraved in the workers’ hearts is discouragement, no ambition for growth, no advancement – just plain existence.
How about this - workers begin to look elsewhere for better and more exiting jobs with purpose. Often the discouragement and lack of purpose drive others to abuse the benefits of the company. Eventually, the company’s sales plummet and they go under financially.
Do you see the picture? Do you think a marriage would also need a vision? Absolutely!
I believe that because of lack of vision, marriages don’t sustain their commitment, and lose their foundation – love. I’m not saying that this is 100% the case each time, but by-and-large it is.
This is why my wife and I have implemented our Family Vision. Basically we use a cheat sheet that we created to help us navigate through our marriage, our family, our businesses, and our ministry. It works for us real good.
Every decision we make has to be held within the confinements of our vision. If not, we’d be traveling every road of opportunity getting nowhere fast.
In addition to our vision, we’ve also made some commitments that have helped us stay within the perimeters of our decision in our marriage and our family’s standards. Ron Edmondson has written some great posts on marriage that compliment this post - read them here.
We have followed these commitments nearly religiously. We have stuck with our promises and this is part of the reason why we are successfully married- on our way to 27 more years.
Every decision we make has to be held within the confinements of our vision.
Oh did I mention that we just celebrated our 27th year anniversary recently? (July 9th) Yeah buddy! Big time! Every year our anniversary comes around is a big time deal! This year I decided to get us matching shirts (pink doesn't look good on me) that say: I Love My Awesome Wife (Husband). Like the pic above?
Let me share with you 7 values we committed ourselves to do before and after marriage:
1. Pray together. I learned years before I got married, that a family that prays together stays together. By praying I don’t mean just shooting requests up to God, or just reciting the Lord’s Prayer, but also listening together for God’s voice of direction and submitting ourselves to his will.
2. Work together. We serve each other. We help each other in every possible way we can. I never wanted my wife to feel like she was the “slave” in the house, and neither did she want me to feel like the “unneeded servant” either. So we’ve made it a point to work together on everything we can to make our marriage and our family function smoothly. Our marriage is about each other – not about us. Did you get that? My marriage is not about me – it’s about her! And vice-versa.
3. Play together. We’re not the best at this one – but we do try. We play cards and table games together. Sometimes we rough-house with each other and with the kids. But I usually win, so she doesn’t like that too much. So, yeah, we’re still working on playing together more. If all you do is work (and I’m a workaholic) you will fail in the game of life. Playing together brings an element of strength and greatness that nothing else will.
4. Never bring up or even consider the “D” word, on any discussion or argument. It’s not an option. Do I need say more? Moving on.
5. Go on weekly dates. I know that going out can cost a lot of money in today’s economy. Sometimes, though, our dates are rather inexpensive – actually, cheap! One of our “dates” is our Walmart dates. This is when we go together to do our grocery shopping at Walmart (it’s the closest and only place to shop where we live unless we drive ½ hour away to Kroger’s grocery store – which we often do).
So we get our groceries done and then (or before) we go out for ice cream. I know, it’s cheap, but for a measly $5.80 we both eat a nice quality double scoop of Cookies n Cream, or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, or Coconut Chocolate Chip ice cream. And we enjoy each other–building the relationship and sometimes planning our schedules.
We also go on our daily walks. This helps us stay in shape a little (though not very successful these days) and talk at the same time while enjoying the scenery. Dates are vital to your marriage.
6. Stay together – for better or for worse. Not sure why I put this one here except to remind you that this is the commitment we made at an altar one Saturday afternoon. For better or for worse – we will stay married. It’s our commitment and it’s our promise.
7. We follow our marriage vision that we wrote on the cheat sheet. We customize a vision for our marriage, each one of our kids, our ministry and our business. Sounds like a lot to you? We often do this on our Anniversary celebration. We go away on a long weekend and we take an entire day to craft our vision. The time is well spent – trust me – you’ll never go without it again. It works!
So we follow these principles and our marriage has been very successful; our family is successful and happy. Oh we still have struggles, but the benefits of our vision outdo the little struggles we face along the way. Yeah, we're still pretty crazy about each other - even after 27 years.
Here are two more points I want to make:
1. If you have gone through a divorce yourself or if you know of somebody that has or is in the process of one, please keep in mind that there are other legitimate reasons for divorce – all kinds. This doesn’t mean that you have failed either. Life happens and decisions need to be made. So I understand. Having said that, I happen to know that there are countless of couples that have gone through a divorce that didn’t want to in the first place. If they would have just implemented a vision along with other important factors, they would have made it. Unfortunately, many didn’t know what to do but separate.
2. If you want a copy of the Cheat Sheet that we use to customize our Marriage, Family, Business and Ministry Vision, you can download it here.
3. Be sure to share this post with your friends – only if you enjoyed it. Thanks!
About the Author
Alex Colón, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Teacher, Pastor, Blogger and best of all, Husband and Father of 4. Living the re-Branded life