Two things I want you to take from here today:

1.) Free Handouts to use as a tool to engage your marriage as a team and create your mission/vision statements and objectives. {Click to Tweet} We are offering some of the exercises we use in our marriage seminars for couples to use as they continually dream together, evaluate where they are individually and as a marriage team. 

2.) Thriving, not surviving, but thriving marriages, choose growth together. Allowing one another to grow and change is part of a thriving marriages. Not only should you allow others to grow and change, but we should be encouraging and empowering one another to grow.


Every One Can Thrive Living Intentionally

Not every couple is the same, but deep down inside we all want to live a “Purpose Driven Life”{by Rick Warren}. “Don’t Waste Your Life” {by John Piper}, engage your spouse… after all you are doing life together! You are a team. And just as there is a purpose for your life, there is also a purpose for your marriage.

Visioneering together {dreaming & living out your dreams intentionally} is a key ingredient to a thriving marriage. {Click to Tweet this} Creating a mission statement or vision statement for your marriage and family is great, but you need to recognize that as people grow and change… so should your vision. While the core of your mission may remain the same or similar, it is healthy for the objectives, the how to’s to change. A growing vision and mission is a “fruit” or by-product of a thriving marriage.

First it begins with introspection. I am going to add in another free handout here on The Power of Introspection, which we also teach on in the seminars and it could be an entire series. The short of it is that you need to be honest with your spouse, connect, share your heart and evaluate your life individually and together. Then discuss it, pray about it, and choose areas to “work on.” This tool should just be used as such. To get you talking. To get you thinking and evaluating your life.

Then work on allowing one another to dream. How can you, what do you believe is the greatest and highest contribution you are called to give to this world? Then try to help one another to do that! Isn’t this exciting!?

Thriving Not Surviving.

Today our standard in society for a successful marriage seems to be so low. The rates for divorce are shocking, the rates for multiple divorces are even more gloomy. Early in our marriage, Isaac and I decided we weren’t going to allow society’s low expectations of marriage to conform or even influence our standard for ourselves. We didn’t want a marriage that was “surviving.” You know the ones. Where, though they are married for 40 or 50 years, they really don’t love each other, or even like each other. When you take a moment to think on how many marriages that are “together”… how many of those 50% that stay married actually like and love each other? That is the statistic that scares me. Why? Because for us, divorce is not an option. Our faith has impacts every compartment of our lives, and we knew before marriage and decided that word, the D word, would never be a part of our vocabulary.

So how does a couple guarantee that when they get married they are going to still love and like each other when they are old? What’s the formula? Well, I don’t think there is a formula.

thriving Marriage

Of course, if you were to ask Isaac and I, we would both give all the glory to our Father in Heaven. It is because of the work His Holy Spirit has done in our hearts, transforming us, and the wisdom in His Word that we are who we are today. Unfortunantely, the stats on marriage in the church do not reflect what we so deeply desire… a thriving marriage, not a surviving one. It is important to remember that this is not a reflection of God, but of the sinners within the church. We are all sinners… all of us. And when you put one sinner in a marriage with another sinner, you are gonna get a whole lot more sin… not perfect love. God is Love. And it is His grace that sets us free from the bondage of our sins and the sins of others.

Now I have to share something with you real quick before I get started here. This past year has been amazing for me personally. Writing and publishing my first two books was and is still an amazing adventure; one I could not have ever done if it weren’t without the leadership, accountability, and belief from my husband. But because I gave it my all. I had no time to write or speak on what Isaac and I are most passionate about together–Marriage. For about 10 years we have talked about writing a book on marriage for leaders and entrepreneurs. Honestly, I have struggled over the years with writing on marriage simply because I feel so young in my own. I have only been married since 1999. To many our marriage is in the teenage years, right! I struggle with feeling inadequate to write on this topic. I feel that in order to write on anything, one needs to have the proof in the pudding so to speak. I guess that is part of why I wrote on childbirth first, I had already birthed six children. But then I am reminded of this verse: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Tim. 4:12, ESV

I share this so you understand that in my heart. I don’t think I have it all together. I make many mistakes in my marriage and my husband would admit to the same. But we are willing to talk about those things, those hard times we have walked through, and share some of what we have done over the past years as we have built our family, built businesses, and worked hard together as a team.

Team. This is a key word to remember. One of the top three words our family uses on a daily basis. We are a TEAM. So today I am going to share some of the worksheets we have created and used in our Leaders Marriage Seminars and with those we have walked through pre-marital counseling with. Feel free to print as many as you need or bookmark this page, I plan on leaving it here!

Download The Power of Introspection Handout Here:
The Power of Introspection Marriage Handouts

Download Your Free Pdf of Choosing Growth in Marriage Here:
Choosing Growth Marriage.pages-1

Download your Free Thriving Marriages Visioneering Exercises Here:
 Thriving Marriages Visioneering Handout-Blank


Choosing Growth in Marriage

{this is one of the handouts}

Make a decision not to let battles tear you or your marriage down. This is something both people in the marriage team need to commit to. In today’s culture, people do not respect the marriage union like they used to. The reality is that there are many pressures, stresses and temptations. We as a marriage team need to take responsibility and choose to fight against those stresses.

Essential Objectives in Fighting the “Good Fight”

1. Be proactive in choosing a community {friends} that are going to encourage and build up, rather than tear down. For example, many women have experienced the “pity-party” conversations. Negative conversations with other wives, that draw out the “frustrations” of the marriage relationship. They justify talking about “issues” because they just need to get them out… but really most times those conversations are not productive and do not create change. In fact most of those situations lead to tempting the women towards hurting her relationship with her husband rather than encouraging it. “We’re all influenced by who we associate with.”

2. Train yourself to evaluate the productive battles from the non-productive battles. Years ago, my husband and I decided to not to fight over things that were not eternal. Evaluating all potential arguments through this paradigm helps you to keep perspective and not make certain arguments that should be overlooked.

3. Allow the lessons, trials, hardships, and extra work that marriage can be motivate us to improve ourselves first vs. try to improve our spouse. Marriage isn’t always a honeymoon. But instead of focusing on the “hard things”– choose to let those experiences and situations grow you. We all struggle with those moments of really wanting to put ourselves, desires and needs first. Pursuing a strong thriving marriage means you’re going to try. So anticipate approaching those experiences in marriage head on, confronting those temptations in yourself to be focused on your own needs rather than putting your spouse’s needs above yours.

4. Choose to forgive. Letting go of burdens is the biggest key to moving on. Truly letting go of these things allows each of you to change and grow. Marriages that get stuck in the mindset that “my husband always” or “my wife never” rarely experience the freedom that comes from forgiveness. A marriage that can’t forgive will not survive. A marriage that chooses to forgive often and embrace growth will thrive.

5. Communicate in a way that honors your spouse. We all have a unique bent towards what makes us feel more valued. When a spouse takes the time to genuinely value his/her partner both are built up. Work as a Team focused on valuing one another, building one another up, and helping one another to give your best and highest contribution to the world.

Isn’t it exciting! Another year together. You undoubtedly have some challenges, circumstances you weren’t expecting, but you will also have another year together… Lord willing.

So engage it and grow. This is our prayer for you. That you would grow… in all areas of life.

20131005-tolpin-5541Many Blessings on this New Year!

Isaac and Angie Tolpin