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julie portrait3BW[From Julie] I hope everyone has had a great start to the New Year.  We thought it might be fun to ask several couples who read the blog if they would consider a marriage goal for 2012 that they can work on together.  Something that would bring them closer together as a couple and strengthen their covenant.  Since we were asking others to do this Noel and I thought we would make a few goals as well and then we would post the responses from others in hopes that it would spark renewed commitment for all our readers.  Well let me tell ya, it’s hard.  We received some wonderful feedback from two of the couples we asked to contribute so their responses will go up this week.  Hats off to you guys and thank you for being so transparent with all of us.

Noel and I were working at what to focus on in 2012.  A busy looking year is ahead and I really don’t want to put any additional stress on my stretched to the max husband.  We may have to delay our start date till after his thesis is complete and next semester’s classes are over.  However I still have a goal.  I would like us to develop more comfort in studying together and praying together.  We each do our own Bible study, especially Noel who always has lessons to prepare and school work to complete but we don’t have anything that we study or work through together in any structured way.  I think it would be fun and since I did a review of the Love and Respect Experience, I think it would be great to actually go through it as a couple.  I would also like to be more comfortable praying together.  We both have mentioned in the past about how difficult it seems to pray in front of each other.  I have no idea why this would be since both of us have active prayer lives and we pray often with the boys.  For some reason it just seems awkward.  So I would like to work on together developing a deeper spiritual center for our marriage.  How could that be anything other than good?

[From Noel]  I like Julie’s goal and I would like to add another personal one. I would like to resolve to be more tender and gentle in my conversations with Julie. noel portrait1BWI can sometimes respond to her in a less than gentle way and I have realized recently that we have listeners all over the house now. For a while the boys were easily spotted and easily avoided.   If Julie and I wanted to have a relatively private conversation in the middle of the day all I had to do is keep away from the video game noise or general ruckus. Now with older children who read in the living room or sit at the kitchen table with iPods I have to be more careful. Without meaning to, I am in danger of being overheard almost all the time now. Julie is gracious to me when I am short or dismissive but will my sons be? Will they resent my harsh tone when I am speaking out of the stress of a hard work day or worse, will they model this behaviour years later with their own spouses?  I resolve to enhance my sentences with less overly emotional language.

I heard on the radio this week that people spend more time planning a one week vacation than they do on the 51 other weeks of the year.  That shouldn’t be.  Like my Grandma used to say, “when you fail to plan you plan to fail.”  Well, my Grandma didn’t actually say that but it’s still true.  Ask yourself this week, what can you work on with your spouse that will make 2012 the best year of your marriage.