Going Away to Plan
The year Robert and I were married 25 years, we went away for a week on a retreat. What would the next 25 years hold? What would our mission be? We didn’t have a specific book or a plan to follow, just a grouping of ideas and instruction from various places. We looked back at our 25 years of marriage – and then looked forward to create a plan. It would have been very useful if we’d had this book – then.
The Mountaintop of Marriage: A vision retreat guidebook for couples. by Jimmy & Karen Evans
Where there is no vision, the people perish…
~ Proverbs 29:18 KJV
Jimmy & Karen Evans ministry is called Marriage Today – I follow them on Twitter. It took me a while to connect the tweets with this couple… (I was a little slow.) I’d seen ads in Christian magazines about their ministry/products. I’d flipped past their television broadcasts. I still haven’t thoroughly researched their ministry – but I like their tweets. So when there was a tweet about a sale on their products, I clicked through. The one book that jumped out at me was this one – about creating a vision as a couple. There’s a nice video of the couple explaining this book.
Preparation for the Mission and Vision
This book is really a workbook – and the first part is about how to prepare for your retreat. We can spend hours pouring over guide books, cruise-ship books, travel magazines and websites when we plan a vacation – this preparation for a vision-creating retreat is just as enjoyable and important.
They encourage you to plan for: prayer, Bible study, journaling, fun, romance, communication and worship.
During the retreat, the workbook gives pages with questions to prompt thought and discussion, then it has spaces to write down:
- a broader vision for your marriage
- goals, plans & vision
- a 12 month vision calendar
- developing an overall marriage & family vision statement
- an encouragement to follow through, track progress & victories
The authors suggest doing this yearly to stay on track.
When two people are together in any endeavor in life, it is only possible for them to remain unified and productive if they both share the same vision and purpose. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that every couple hoping to succeed take the time and energy to get God’s vision for their marriage.”
~ Jimmy Evans
This is not a text book – there’s not a lot of written content. It’s short – only 37 pages. It’s meant for the couple to write their thoughts down and plan ahead. I really appreciate the questions that are asked to create conversation – there is great value in good questions!
My final thoughts on this book:
I can see Robert and I working through this book. We’re always looking for new tools to hone our understanding of the direction God wants us to take. However, it probably wouldn’t be the only tool we’d use.
It’s never too early – or too late – to pray for, ask for and search for a vision for your future as a couple.
Do you have a mission or vision plan for you & your spouse?
Here are links to a few other resources:
A Vision Retreat Guidebook for Couples – Jimmy & Karen Evans workbook for a retreat – It’s actually called “The Mountaintop of Marriage”, but I like the subtitle better!
Developing your Differentiating Values – Robert Ferguson’s free resource to understand how your values can shape your decisions and ultimately your life. Rob’s my husband and we chose our 3 differentiating values as a couple: optimism, loyalty & discovery. We find we use our top values as a decision making tool in many areas.
Creating your Personal Life Plan – Michael Hyatt’s ebook to create a personal life plan which includes an explanation on how Michael Hyatt created his own life plan, resources and worksheets to create your own. Robert and I have gone through this a couple of times – we haven’t done it together – yet… It’s free to download from Michael Hyatt’s site.
Creating a Mission Statement – Online – Franklin Covey’s online resource for creating a mission statement for yourself, your family (no actual ‘couple’ reference, but it would be appropriate to do with husband and wife), or team. I spent a morning going through the online version for a personal mission statement. At the very least, give this a try and see what happens. It’s free & simple to try.