Amos 3:3 contains a vital message that applies to married couples. It says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Often a couple will marry without first discussing important topics, such as money, sex, children, employment, etc. When these issues surface later in the relationship, couples may find their views differ greatly. The resulting tension and arguments place unnecessary strain on a marriage relationship.
Can these disagreements be avoided? How can couples resolve their differences on such important issues? The answer lies in one simple word: vision. Couples who are able to define a clear vision for their marriages find that the arguing and fighting over key issues is greatly minimized.
In the April Rock Solid Marriage resource, Jimmy Evans is joined by his wife, Karen, and David and Linda Smith, to discuss the importance of vision in a marriage. They also offer practical steps to help couples define and implement that vision. Here are excerpts from this helpful teaching: Where Are You Going?
“Proverbs 29:18 says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ The word ‘vision’ there means ‘mental sight – the ability to see a goal or a destination.’ When you don’t have a clear vision of where you’re going, it’s impossible to stay together. If you have no idea about your destination, then how do you know when you’ve arrived? How do you know when you’re on the wrong path? The point is, you don’t know.”
Seeing Eye to Eye
“When you have a clear vision for your marriage, first of all it brings unity into the marriage. You first agree. But you have to have a vision in order to agree. If one person has one vision and another person has another vision, it might be that you shouldn’t get married, because you’re going two different directions and there’s going to be a constant battle. You need to have a vision that brings you together in marriage. Where there is a vision, you can yoke together and stay together.”
Do the Right Thing
“The other thing about a vision is it motivates positive behavior. When you have a vision, it naturally motivates you to do the right thing. When you have a vision of success before you, you naturally behave in such a way that causes that to happen. When you have a vision for your finances, when you have a vision for your children, when you have a vision for what your marriage stands for and what it is going to produce in thirty years, it automatically causes you to behave in such a way that will bring that about.”
Weathering the Storms
“Having a vision encourages you in difficult times. Every couple goes through difficult times. A vision is like a lighthouse on a troubled sea. A vision stands before you, and it is the stable thing when nothing else is stable. It’s the constant thing when nothing else is constant. When God gives you a vision, He never changes His mind. The great thing about going to the Lord and getting His vision for your marriage is that it’s absolutely stable. You go through a discouraging or difficult time, and that vision stays before you as a motivator and also as a testimony that God has a purpose for your life and that you’re going to be able to get through this troubled time.” Straight from the Source
“There are three sources of vision for your marriage, and the first is the Word of God. God’s Word is the universal place of vision that God has given all of us. The second source is the Holy Spirit. When we pray and seek the Holy Spirit for direction, He gives us personalized vision, specific vision. The third way you get God’s vision is through godly examples. People don’t succeed by accident. When someone is successful, it’s because they’re doing something right. Use them as your example.”
“When I first began in the ministry, I knew I had to have a vision for the church if we were ever going to go anywhere. It’s amazing, though, as a pastor and leader of a large church, I did not apply that principle to my home. I never even thought about Karen and I having a vision. One day David Smith, a dear friend of mine from Orlando, Florida, began telling me that he and his wife go on a vision retreat every year, a time that they take every year to go and get God’s vision for their marriage. So about ten years ago, Karen and I did our first vision retreat. It absolutely transformed our marriage in about a three-day period of time.”
David Smith: “We go out of town for a minimum of three days, and we start praying and asking God about goals that He wants for us, really almost like a prayer list. You use the word ‘goals’ and some people kind of check out, but really it’s kind of a focused prayer list for each one of us as a family. We go through the calendar and we schedule the entire year, because if we don’t, we won’t have family nights, we won’t have date nights, we won’t have our retreat times, we won’t have vacation. If I let the calendar crowd out all that stuff, we’ll never end up doing it.”
Grow on Purpose
David: “What happens is, you let all these other areas that really aren’t priorities take over what really is priority. We believe you’ve got to grow your family and marriage on purpose, not by mistake. To us, that means you have a vision for it, you plan toward it, you carry it out, you accomplish that. If you don’t do that, you’re going to end up just letting everything else crowd out anything that’s really important to you, and you don’t accomplish what you really want.”
Karen Evans: “I remember when we finished our first vision retreat, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of us. There’s just this oneness that’s light; it’s not heavy. There’s a peace in knowing that we agree.”
To learn more about the importance of vision in your marriage and how to have a vision retreat, order the tape series “How to Build Lasting Romance, Intimacy and Sexual Pleasure in Marriage.” In this series, David and Linda Smith teach a session about “The Power of Vision for Your Marriage.”
Rock Solid Marriage is a monthly resource designed to help couples keep their marriages growing and their relationships strong. Each month’s teaching covers another valuable and vital topic to improve and build a marriage. To find out more about the Rock Solid Marriage monthly resource or to subscribe, call (800) 353-5963.
Copyright © 2005 Jimmy Evans, Used by Permission.
Author & one of America’s leading authorities on family and marriage relationships, Jimmy Evans is Founder & CEO of MarriageToday. He and his wife, Karen, host MarriageTodayTM, a national television program. Jimmy is the author of many resources including the books Marriage on the Rock, Freedom From Your Past, 7 Secrets of Successful Families, and Resolving Stress in Your Marriage. He also travels nationwide presenting life-changing truths for couples through his marriage seminars and conferences. Jimmy and Karen have two children and two grandchildren.