Visioning as a Couple: Living Out Your Purpose as a Family

by | Jun 26, 2019 | Life | 17 comments

Living with purpose as a couple: a worksheet to help couples find their purpose and make goals together!

Do you have a vision for your family?

You may have an idea of what your ideal family would look like with the perfect house and the fluffy dog, but do you truly have a vision for your family’s purpose?

This month, on Wednesdays, I’ve been wanting to give you some practical tools to grow your marriage and keep it close. First we talked about using the 5 Whys exercise to help you uncover the root of the problem; last week we talked about discovering each other’s emotional needs. And today I want to talk about vision!

When Keith and I speak at marriage conferences we talk about the idea of drift in marriage. Our natural inclination, in relationships, is to drift apart. Staying close and keeping the relationship healthy takes work! And one of the ways drift happens is when you get so caught up in the daily routine that you forget to talk about where you’re actually going. So today let’s fight the drift by talking about vision in marriage: pursuing your dreams together. In many ways, this post is the closest to my heart of anything I have written about marriage on this blog, so please listen to me here. It can be summed up like this:

Are you familiar with the saying, “without vision a people perish?”

It’s from Proverbs 29:18, but I don’t think God meant that just for the nation of Israel. I think He meant it for marriages and families, too. If we have no clear idea where we are going, then we will never, ever get there.

I have heard people say, “You can tell what someone values just by looking at how they spend their time,” but I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If you look at many men, they spend more time on video games than they do talking to their kids. Does that mean they don’t love their kids? And many women spend more time on Facebook everyday than they do talking to their husbands. Does that mean they like Facebook more? No, I honestly don’t think it does.

I think what happens is LIFE. We love certain things, and we value certain things, but we’re not intentional about actually living those things out. We don’t take the time to figure out how to make those things part of our daily routine. And so, when other things threaten to crowd in, like technology, or screen time, or too many extracurricular activities, we let them. And then we wonder why we feel so unfulfilled, as if something is off, not quite right. It’s because we’re not valuing the things we value! It’s because we’re not living our lives with purpose.

And so today I want to invite you to take a journey with me first, and then with your husband.

I want to invite you to dream: to dream about what you want for your family, and what you want for your marriage, and what you want for your home.

And then I’m going to encourage you to share those dreams with your husband, listen to his, but most importantly–figure out practically how to put them into action. I’ve even got some a free worksheet you can download to help in that conversation later in this post! But first let me tell you two stories, of two families that I know. Some details  have been changed to preserve privacy, but both families are quite wealthy. In both cases the parents are totally committed to Christ. Both sets of parents serve in the church. Yet only one family is on solid footing.

The first family, and we’ll call them Sam and Betty, are both family doctors. They could have focused on making a ton of money, but they didn’t. They lived moderately, and the mom worked very part-time when the kids were small. Once the kids were big enough, they started involving them in volunteer activities, even taking them on missions trips occasionally. Whenever the kids would mention a problem or something they found was disturbing, Sam and Betty would always turn it into a challenge: What do you think God is asking you to do about it? Anything? How can you be part of the solution? How can we pray about it?

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Their attitude, in everything they did, was, “how can we shine a light here?” They taught their kids to be lights to their neighbours, and living in a really small town, with few good churches or a good youth group, they had to provide that themselves. And they worked hard to do so. Even though the parents could have been the most important people in the town, the ones everybody wanted to know, they became more beacons for those a little down and out, and to many teenagers. Even though they were wealthy, their favourite place to shop was the second hand store. They had oodles of fun trying to come up with new outfits and learning how to live by a budget. Because of that, other teens never thought Sam and Betty’s kids “were too good for me”. They were regular people. Their kids are grown now; Sam and Betty are empty nesters. And their lives are focusing more on each other as they continue to pray for their kids, who are all out in the world, asking, “how can I shine a light here?”

The second family I’ll call John and Helen. They loved their kids with a fierce love, too. Helen stayed home with them; John worked major hours in the corporate world. Helen made sure the kids always went to church and were always involved. But Helen also wanted the kids to have fun. Everytime there was a party, she’d make sure the kids had new stuff to wear. The kids were involved in all kinds of activities; because John was always at work, Helen found it easier to have the kids be busy, too. And so gradually the kids’ friends came primarily from outside the church. And as those kids entered high school, Helen was often shocked to see what was on their Facebook statuses. But “kids will be kids”, she thought. And so she did nothing about it, and the kids are really drifting.

Both families had more resources than most, yet only one had a firm vision of how they were raising their kids and who they were raising them to be. And because they had that vision, they were able to figure out how to put things into place so that their kids would pick up on the vision, too. And the kids grew up caring deeply about the things the parents also cared deeply about. I went to a family camp every summer with Betty and Sam, and I will never forget how they would use that week to do their planning for the year, pulling out their calendars, scheduling in all of their conferences and work, and then figuring out what they were going to do with their kids this year, and what they would concentrate on as a family. They spent time praying, visioning, planning together. If we don’t take time to take stock, plan, and develop a vision for our family, it’s very unlikely that we actually live out our values. Other things will creep in and steal our time.

And what is a vision?

A vision for your family, I believe, is simply a plan of how you will live out your values.

God gives us specific visions about specific things we are to do, certainly. But sometimes I think we wait too much for God, and we don’t bother to work with what He’s already given us. And so today I’d like to give you some tools to turn the values that you and your husband already share into a vision for your marriage and for your family.

Living with purpose as a couple: a worksheet to help couples find their purpose and make goals together!

Here’s how it works:

I’ve got a visioning worksheet to download that you can pray through and create an “action plan” to live out your vision.

It’s divided into three sections: Character things (like what God wants to refine in you); The “Feel” of your home (like what vibe you want your home and family to give off); and Calling things (like what role God specifically has for you as a family).

I’d suggest working through this on three different “date nights”, or nights when you set aside time to talk. Stress to your spouse that this isn’t about telling him what he is doing wrong; it’s about you both thinking and praying about where your family is heading. You both get equal input! It helps you figure out what you value–because each family will value slightly different things–and then it encourages you to break these things down into small, manageable steps that you can do to work toward this goal.

Family Visioning Worksheet

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Betty and Sam, for instance, valued service and generosity. That was their big family value, and they lived it out. Other families may have slightly different values: one may value being a host to people with less stable family situations; one may value pursuing music and self-discipline; one may value becoming self-sustaining on a farm. There isn’t a right or a wrong; it’s what you feel called to as a family. But if you both have dreams of being self-sustaining, for instance, but you’ve never learned how to can your own tomatoes and you still order pizza 3 nights a week, you likely have to work at making this dream more of a reality.

I’d encourage you to work through this sheet with your husband. I’ve tried to keep it simple and relatively short, but with enough “meat” that you can talk about the issues. I truly hope and pray this helps you. Most of us do value good things; we just have little vision of how to put that into practice. I pray that these worksheets help you do just that as you develop a true vision for what God wants to do in your family!


Your Challenge:

Download the printable on this page and make a list with your spouse about your future marriage dreams and talk about how you can work towards these dreams together. Then spend time praying over this list together.

If you could use one word to describe your family’s calling or mission, what do you think it would be? Have you ever talked about this before with your spouse? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Bethany

    Vision and calling for each of us and us as a couple has been a big theme for us lately, so it’s timely and encouraging to read this post. I’m going to download and print the sheets right now.

    We both struggle with deciding exactly what we want and with future planning (it’s always been a real struggle, though always a struggle we’ve approached as a team, for which I’m very grateful), so I’m praying we get to a point of real clarity on what we’re doing. If anyone has a moment to pray for that for us, we’d definitely appreciate it.

    • K

      I have just read your comment from last year. I am praying for you and your husband now for vision and clarity to continue to increase and for space and time to have the discussions, with prayer.

  2. Insecure

    I am a man but I think this is very good. Do you think it’s important to first find out what one wants do with ones life?

    That’s kind of a problem for me. I don’t feel I know what I want my life to be. I also don’t know what God wants. I often feel that it’s because I got married to the wrong person. I don’t know if it’s true but it has felt like that. I am a very immature person and insecure. I met my wife and I was a little confused on how to feel. I was scared of her being the wrong one because my last relationship didn’t go well. I got some warnings from a person that she wasn’t the one and others said she was. She was sure I was the one and even if she knew my insecurities she wanted to get married. Some time after we got married my faith kind of broke down. I lost all vision and all desire for God. My wife is saved but wasn’t as “spiritual as I was”. I had been saved longer. I have since then always felt like my spiritual breakdown was a consequence of marrying my wife. She often puts family before church and I started to do it to. Specially after this breakdown thing. So for years I have felt like God has been working against our marriage because it wasn’t His will from the beginning. So I haven’t really thought about a mission or vision because when I do I only feel like something is wrong. Like we can’t serve God together because it wasn’t in Gods original plan. She wants to live for God and tries and I get happy then. But we aren’t on a like “Let’s go out and save the world” level. I was before but not anymore. My anointing is gone and I feel that no matter how much I pray I will never get back because I didn’t chose the right partner. And that makes the vision thing a lot more difficult. I constantly feel guilty and I have asked God for forgiveness for getting married. I now have to live with the consequences but I just wish we could become something. I kind of wish God could change His plans a little so that we could become something.

    So that makes the vision thing really difficult.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Insecure, I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this way! Let me just say, though, that YOU ARE MARRIED NOW, which makes your wife God’s will for your life! He wants to see your marriage flourish. He really does! And God is passionate about bringing people that are far from Him closer to Him. It’s not about whether she was the wrong person or not; it’s about what God can do RIGHT NOW to bring you closer to Him. It could very well be that this exercise would be great to do with your wife, to just talk about where you’re going. I know from previous comments that she puts a lot of emphasis on the kids, but very little on you or the responsibilities that go into running a house. This may be just the exercise you need! But don’t listen to the lie that you’ve somehow lost God’s favour and now you’ll never be able to get it back. God doesn’t work that way. The whole story of the Bible is God wooing His people, and I believe that He is calling both of you now.

    • Julie

      Thank you, this is something my husband and I were discussing today. I look forward to checking out the sheets.

  3. Bethany

    Oh! I think the link to the download might be broken. I haven’t been able to open it yet.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      just working on this now, Bethany!

    • Connor Lindenbach

      Hello, Bethany. It appears that some people who are already subscribers may encounter this issue, and I am looking into potential solutions at the moment. If you would like, I can send the download link straight to your email. Thanks for brining this to our attention!

      • Bethany

        That would be great, Conner! Thanks so much!

        • Bethany

          Ah, sorry for misspelling your name!

  4. Dean

    When I met my wife, she was already on a mission: a successful academic career allowing her to help people and influence things on a bigger scale. I was lost and directionless, while she was a natural-born leader. I basically joined her on her mission, and have been supporting her in any way I can, including after my own career took off: I’ve been doing most of the housework, often traveling with her to events, moved with her to another town when it was needed for her career, brainstorming with her and providing feedback and/or proofreading, etc. I think that what she is doing is very valuable, and I am happy that I can support her.

    I see here sometimes rather toxic comments about how the wife should obey the husband, or how the wife should be responsible for the housework, etc. A woman can have a very important mission in life, and a woman can be a leader. A couple can build their common goals in many different ways.

  5. Phil

    Due to a ton of circumstances to long to get into we have had to back the train up on getting the pyramid straightened out in our lives before we could even begin to think about this. Dreams and goals and LIFE as was written. Now in our mid forties with 3 kids in teen and preteen and the marriage, job and housing thing finally settled we are at a crossroads. We have met all these goals and visions and I am feeling sort of lost. Right now I would say our family vision is not yet determined so this exercise is wonderful….we have talked about being part of a ministry or some kind of family purpose but nothing has ever stuck. I have only printed the emotional needs work sheet so the homework is piling up! I got a tell you Shiela I love this exercise. I don’t know how you do it but this is where I am at. This year has been tough – my bipolar crap and all that surrounds really throws me in a struggle. So I don’t know who is speaking here me….or some other force….but I have been feeling like this. What are we doing? What are our Goals? How Do I get out of this rat race? Yeah Church and God is a focus and we demonstrate this by how we live that out through principals. I am growing in my service at the church and Grace a little too. But yeah whats our purpose? I have been feeling like I get up, I go to work, we run around for our kids and some of it is church related and some is outside activities and then we get up and do it all over again and there is no end game or purpose. Maybe we are in mid life crisis or whatever….we have been through a ton of crap together and we have come out the other side better people and we have met physical emotional and spiritual goals and now we are working towards WHAT? Heaven is my best answer but God is not done with me or us here yet. I read some really great stuff from Rick Warren on purpose last fall and even sat and meditated on his sermon series on purpose. I guess it’s just time to take some action and reset goals and vision and focus on my family more and pray more for God’s direction. Looking forward to getting into the work sheet. Thanks …SIGH

  6. Kimberly

    I can’t find the link to this download worksheet. Can you help me?

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Hi, Kimberly!

      If you go to the box that says “Develop a Vision for Your Family” and enter your email, we’ll send you the worksheet. 🙂

      Hope this helps!

  7. Shubhi

    My husband lacks any vision to think about future or work. We have been married for a while now and live with his family. He doesn’t work or worries about any future. He spends most of the time sleeping and partying. When I try to talk to him about us and our future, he becomes abusive and tries to hurt me. I am hoping the vision sheet my help. However I don’t find any sheet attached here.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Hi Shubhi, if you fill in the little box with your email, you’ll get the sheets!

      It sounds, though, as if you need something much more. If he is trying to hurt you, that is not a safe relationship. You need to get out. Please call an abuse hotline or the police and ask for help. If he is not working; if he is not acting like an adult; if he is partying; and then if he is hurting you if you try to ask him to be responsible–that is not good. I hope you’re able to get some help!

  8. Shebu John

    Your ministry and current reading of the book have been such an answer to prayer. Also, love to grab the above worksheet. Thank you!


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