I’ve written about the idea of mission and mission statements many times in the past. I’ve spent thousands of hours working with companies to help define their mission and purpose, and I’ve also introduced the importance of developing a personal mission statement that guides you in life. Those clear, inspired mission statements, whether they’re being used at work or personally, are powerful. They help define our destinations and provide us with clear steps and guardrails to live by on our journeys.
If that’s true, and I believe that it is, wouldn’t it make sense that a mission statement would be just as valuable for you as a couple? As we’re building a relationship together and working toward common goals, is aligning our purpose important?
The answer, without question, is yes!
As couples, a clear mission statement that we’ve created together defines the kind of relationship we want to create and how we’ll live with one another.
Before we dive into this any deeper, let me say this. I’m far from being any kind of marriage expert or guru. Instead, I’m a guy who has been divorced, remarried, and is working every day to figure out my own marriage – hustling and looking for ways to make my relationship to Cristina stronger. Some days this is easy, and I feel like I know exactly what I need to do to be a strong husband, teammate, and best friend. Other days, especially in a blended family, things are a whole lot more challenging. Just like you, I’m a work in progress. That’s why this exercise was so important to me.
After all that work with companies to help them define their missions, as well as sharing my tools for developing your personal mission statement, I finally decided to take this one step further. My friends had shared success stories with me about using my goal setting tools with their spouses, and I realized that mission statements would also be valuable to couples. With that in mind, I reworked my Personal Mission Statement Tool and created a version just for couples.
Cristina and I sat down recently and took this new tool for a test drive, and the results were amazing. We got on the same page, aligned our purpose, and created a mission statement that we can use as a compass for our relationship. Best of all, we dove into some deep conversations about what we each need from our marriage and how we want to show up for each other, our family, and the world we live in.
This statement became something we can look at in the morning to set the tone for our marriage and how we will show up. Then, at the end of our day, it’s something we can use to measure our progress and stay aligned with one another. Will this statement eliminate challenges and disagreements? Not a chance. Will it help us stay aligned and get us back on track more quickly when we do encounter those struggles? Absolutely.
With that in mind, I want to share this tool with you, and walk you through how Cristina and I used it.
Start by defining your core values…
With a printed version of this tool in hand, and a fire going in the background, Cristina and I started creating our mission statement by defining our core values. To get there, the tool asked us to share 15-20 words with one another that capture our values – the things that matter to us and that we stand for. She shared some of hers, and I shared some of mine. It was an opening to great conversations about what really matters to each of us. We shared what we want from each other in our relationship, the values we each hold true, and words that describe how we want the world to see us. You can download my Mission Statement for Couples tool here to get started.
The next step in our process was to refine our list down to the four or five values that are the most important to us. In our conversations, we included words like fun, adventure, and a hyphenated word “trying-new-things” – yes, you can break the rules here a bit! “Adventure” was the word we ended up adding to our final five core values since it captured fun and trying-new-things as well. Narrowing down your own list by looking for these same similarities, you’ll unlock your own core values.
Next, let’s talk about our purpose…
Once we landed on our core values, it was time to dive deeper into our purpose as a couple. To help us uncover our purpose together, we used the five questions below as conversation starters. Each question opened us up to sharing our thoughts, dreams, and the things that fill us up. Here’s something important to note. We didn’t agree on every answer. We did find common ground in our answers, and that was what lit us up during this experience. It was exciting to hear Cristina share something and know I was thinking the same thing. My Mission Statement for Couples tool will do the same for you. Ready, set, go!
- What do we see as our purpose?
- What do we want to be remembered by?
- What are we passionate about?
- What makes us feel the most fulfilled?
- What do we believe in?
Finally, let’s build our mission statement.
With your core values and the answers to those five questions in mind, it’s time to distill this all down and define your mission as a couple.
Your couple’s mission statement consists of 3 parts:
- What do we want to accomplish?
- Who are we doing it for?
- How will we make their lives (and ours) better?
Capturing this in one or two sentences is the goal. Remember, your couple’s mission statement may not be perfect when you first write it down together – that’s ok! This mission statement is meant to evolve as your relationship changes and life shifts. The goal is to create a statement that you can use as a compass for your life together, something that will grow with you and guide you.
Here’s an example Cristina and I created: Our purpose is to reflect God by the way we love each other, our family, and those in our circles, to help one other become the best versions of ourselves, and to live as partners chasing new adventures together. We’re committed to forgiving quickly, communicating openly, and loving unconditionally.
Your couple’s mission statement will be an excellent tool for measuring if all of the “busy” things in your life are aligned with who you are as a team and who you want to become. It will provide you with a new level of clarity for saying “yes” and “no” to things and prioritizing what matters most amid all the distractions. Best of all, it’s something you created together that represents who you want to be as a couple.
Have you invested the time to create your mission statement as a couple? If not, my challenge for you is to create yours now. Set aside some time together, eliminate the distractions, and ask yourself the questions above using the Mission Statement for Couples tool. Enjoy the process and have fun defining your purpose together! – John
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