Recently I pondered this question: What is the vision of my marriage?
Mission statements and vision statements in businesses and nonprofits give direction to the company. Shouldn’t our marriages have one?
This is not a new idea to me or my husband. In fact, my husband and I used to go away for several days and focus on formulating our vision.
However, with the birth of our last child, life seems to have thrown a curveball. From colic to the purchase of diapers, the energy and money required for a vision retreat always seems distant.
With the realization that my marriage is a top priority came the determination to press through, pick a date, and embark on another vision retreat (after four years).
Thankfully Jimmy Evans has a resource to guide us through the process. In his small handbook titled, “Mountain Top of Marriage: Vision Retreat Guidebook,” Mr. Evans outlines the questions to ignite conversations between us and our spouse. From finances to children, he lays out the foundation for us to build our marriage vision on.
Of course, you can come up with your questions. But, to me, it seems less threatening when asking my spouse questions that challenge our current circumstances when they are written by someone else.
Your retreat should cover questions like, “Where are we now?” “Where are we going?” and “What is our vision?”
To have a successful vision retreat, you need a few days alone. Preferably you will go away together. Staying home allows distractions and interruptions.
You will not just be talking the entire time. There is time for recreational fun such as mini golf, concerts, or whatever else you mutually enjoy. To save money, consider bringing board games. As an alternative to a hotel, pack your tent and go camping.
One of the biggest distractions is technology. Unless watching a movie together, keep the TV off. Stay off your cellphones and computers. Facebook and online games will still be there when your retreat is over.
A few days before your retreat, spend time looking over your questions.
This allows you to process any areas that could be hard to talk through. As a couple, be prepared to not agree on everything. The goal is not to agree. The goal is to find common ground to build on.
On Visionretreatjourney.com, Jimmy Evans outlines the process. First is the preparation phase where you plan and prepare for your getaway.
The next phase is when you are on your vision retreat. This phase allows you to discuss and dissect areas of stress or frustration in your marriage.
After that, you will talk through and set goals for your marriage and family for the next year. This is my favorite phase of the process. When my husband and I look ahead together, unity and emotional intimacy develop.
The final phase of your vision retreat is to define a vision for your marriage and each of your children.
You may also use this time to set a date for the next retreat.
I hope you enjoy your vision retreat.
Don’t forget to check back in annually to see how you are doing.
Until next time, start planning your retreat!
Kindra Warner is a marriage group facilitator at Grace Christian Center in Killeen and a Herald correspondent.