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Behind the Wheel: Do you want a great relationship that will last?


Jeff Nickles

Relationships need a well-defined purpose behind the wheel to steer them toward the desired goal. Both partners need to see and agree on this vision for the relationship to survive and thrive.

How many relationships wind up lost? Imagine this: you set out on a vacation with your spouse. You decide to drive continuously to get to your goal as soon as possible. You take turns behind the wheel so one of you drives while the other naps. You do not agree on or even discuss the intended destination. However, you both have your own ideas about how you should spend your time. You don’t discuss it because you both think the other already knows where you want to go. On your driving shift, you steer toward your desired destination and on their shift, your spouse steers toward where they want to go.

How’s this going to work out? This is exactly the way many of us handle our relationships. We never agree on or even discuss a common purpose to work toward.

We assume our spouse has the same goals in mind as we do. Bad idea! Often by the time you realize you both want different things, it is too late. The relationship is lost, or at the very least, severely off track! Define a clear purpose to steer your relationship.

Marriages and relationships that stand the test of time have a common goal that both partners agree to and work toward. This purpose is clear and well-defined. It is never assumed or presupposed. This ensures that both partners get what they want and expect. Here are some steps to help you define a common purpose:

1. CLARIFY YOUR VALUES. Identify the things that are most important to both of you. What do you value most? Is it faithfulness, kindness, availability, peace, good humor? Clarify what means the most to you individually and together. These serve as the defined boundaries for your relationship.

2. SET SOME GOALS. Establish some common goals to work toward. Knowing where you are headed reduces the likelihood of getting lost. What do you want or need to accomplish in your relationship? Do you need to work on becoming debt-free? Do you want to spend more time together? Set some goals that will serve as your common destination.

3. LOOK FOR A HIGHER PURPOSE. Seek a purpose for your relationship that is bigger than your individual desires. Find something that inspires you both to greater heights and moves you beyond any selfish desires. It could be faith in God or raising great children or saving the environment. It just needs to be something you are both passionate about. This higher purpose will give you longevity so your relationship will stand the test of time!

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