When you have a VISION for your relationship, you have a guiding principle for how you act and the decisions you make. You can ask yourselves, “Does this decision align with our vision and goals for our relationship?”
Your vision can guide you away from temptations and toward a coherent and agreed-upon course of action. Of course, you can ignore your vision in the face of a wish or need, but you do so at the peril of your relationship.
Let’s look at some real-life examples of how a Vision Statement can work.
Jason and Kristin
Jason and Kristin wanted to buy a house. Now that they have two children, their “starter house” was too small, with only one bedroom and 1 bathroom. They each had a list of “must-haves” and had been looking at houses online for months. They planned to sell their current home and use that money for their down payment on a new house.
They argued vehemently about what to pay and what to eliminate from their wish lists. The concern they had was that they had quite different ideas about the amount to spend on the new place.
Jason had a large number in mind and, in general, was more relaxed when it came to expenditures. He was an optimist and was confident that they would be able to afford the price he wanted to spend.
Kristin was much more conservative about spending, in general, and thought Jason was being unrealistic about the money. She believed that his job was too dependent on the economy to be relied upon to produce the money they would need. She was a teacher and knew exactly how much money she was going to make each year and knew it was a modest, stable amount.
They had a written Vision Statement that they had worked on at the beginning of their work with me, and they decided to consult that document to see if it would provide them with guidance.
They reviewed what they wanted their lives to be like. Their vision was that they would travel with their children, provide them with private education or public education with enrichment by the parents. They had agreed in their Vision
Statement that they would give 10 % of their net income to charity, 20% to investments into a retirement fund and 10% to savings for emergencies and to fund an education fund for the children. They had included that if either parent wanted to go to graduate school, they would fund it.
After being reminded about the items in the Vision, they settled on a housing price that was about half way between Jason’s and Kristin’s figures, and they were satisfied.
They were aligned with their Vision and not solely influenced by wishes or by fears of spending.
Ellie and Martin
Another example is a couple Martin and Ellie, who had grown distant and both were very dissatisfied with their relationship. They seriously considered divorce, though they hadn’t yet consulted attorneys. They were at a stalemate. Martin wanted relationship coaching but Ellie was skeptical of that idea, thinking they were too far apart but they decided to give it a “last try” and engaged me for private relationship coaching.
They wrote a shared vision statement at the beginning of their work with me. They each wrote their individual visions, shared them with one another, then created a shared vision. That last part they dreaded, but they surprised themselves.
Ellie and Martin realized that they still had a lot of similarities in their values, common interests and dreams for the future. As they shared with me their vision they were smiling and some of the distance between was gone.
This was a breakthrough that enabled them ultimately to have hope for their relationship. Happily, after a lot of hard work, they transformed their relationship and today they are connected, loving and peaceful.
Creating a vision isn’t magic, of course. However, actually writing the vision requires you to self-reflect about what you want for yourselves and also for your relationship.
It allows you to rise above the day-to-day grievances and disappointments and think about what you want for your future, maybe 3-5 years from now. With that perspective, you have a clearer picture about your life and about your partner.
It allows you to see the positive aspects of your relationship as well as the negative. Your perspective may be altered as you elevate above your immediate feelings and project into the future.
A vision statement is able to pull you out of the darkness of the present, to ground you in your hopes and dreams and alter your perspective so that you see light ahead. It can act as your reminder, as your conscience or as a mentor for you in times of difficulty.
The vision statement is you and your partner at your best. Write one, review it as needed, lean on it in turbulent times. It can also interrupt some hasty behavior, keep you honest and ground you into actions toward your best selves and your best relationship. And that’s GOLDEN!
Be good to each other.
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