What does it mean to have an impact on your corner of the world?
At FamilyLife, we desire to equip families, like yours, to grow together and impact their corner of the world. You may be newly married, or you may have a few decades of marriage behind you. You may be parents to a young family, or you may be navigating your home as empty nesters right now. You may have a deep desire to have kids, but for whatever reason, are unable to. Whatever the make-up of your family, I want to encourage you that you were designed to have an impact on others.
We believe that families are the greatest untapped resource to bring about good in this world. At the core of a family is marriage. A healthy marriage is the bedrock of a healthy family, a healthy community, neighbourhood, city, and world.
Your marriage matters, and your marriage has a mission. We’ve been exploring the journey of marriage through the lens of the Dream, Fall, and Hope of marriage. Today we look at the Mission of marriage.
The first mission of marriage is towards your family. The second mission for your marriage is towards other people or families in your corner of the world. It’s about developing a marriage on mission identity. It requires a shift in thinking about us alone and growing your identity as being responsible for bringing good to the world around you.
The best way to grow is by taking responsibility
I can still remember as I left the parking area of the hospital, almost feeling like I shouldn’t be allowed to drive with this precious cargo on the back seat. Every intersection was taken with caution. I probably drove 10 or 20 km/h under the already low-speed limit. Our son, Jonah, entered our world and this was the first trip with him in the car. This fragile little human life with no ability to fend for himself, entrusted to my care.
Was I ready to be a dad? Was I adequately prepared? No, and yes. There’s no school for being a dad, yet God gave me everything I needed to be Jonah’s dad; with a lot of help and dependency on God as my Father of course. By virtue of the fact that I became a dad, I grew the capacity I needed to live up to that high calling. Responsibility has a profound way of shaping us.
In the same way, what we are responsible for as a couple will develop us. Who we are responsible for will propel us. When we take responsibility for someone else, or realise that we actually are responsible for more than our own happiness, we are filled with purpose.
Your kids (if you have kids), your colleagues, your friends, or extended family all have an impact on your life; and you do on theirs. The question isn’t about whether or not you’ll have an impact, but rather what kind of impact you will have on these people?
“Legacy is not leaving something for people, it’s leaving something in people.” – Peter Strople
We are all a work-in-progress. We are all on a journey. Many of us probably don’t think of ourselves as “good enough” to be of help or example to others, but the truth is that you can have a positive impact on the world around you by sharing who you are and how you are growing.
Will you take responsibility for the way your life shapes those around you? Being a marriage on mission is all about taking responsibility for how you interact with the world around you.
Here are a few ideas on how to become a marriage on mission:
- Start developing a unified vision.
- Talk about how your marriage can serve others.
- Take the next step – do something.
1. Start developing a unified vision
Your vision for your marriage might currently be limited to a desire to be together in a healthy way. You may even have a vision that sounds something like: “We want to love each other well in our marriage and create the type of environment in our home where our kids get to grow up knowing they are loved, secure in their identity, and learn the hard and soft skills for life”.
Though it’s great to have this vision for your home, it’s limited by the fact that it fails to reach beyond the walls of your home. Our homes has the power to be a transformational, life-giving environment if it’s the base for mission. When we are serving a greater purpose beyond the four walls of our home, we tap into the power of being a team on a mission.
You do not have to be in the same line of work to have a unified vision as a couple. You simply need to start thinking intentionally about how you can have an impact on the world around you. Uniting around something that you can work towards together will draw you closer as a team.
Maybe it’s time to get together in your marriage and develop some type of unified vision beyond your home.
2. Talk about how your marriage can serve others
You don’t need to have the perfect marriage to help others grow. Take some time to talk about your lives together and the initiatives and relationships you are involved in as a couple.
Here’s a short practical, yet not extensive list of ways you can help others:
- Volunteer together for an organisation with a good cause.
- Invite single friends or other couples over for a meal and discussion about being missional.
- Attend a FamilyLife event and invite another couple to join you. Keep in touch about the growth journey.
- Start or join a marriage (or other) small-group where you can both learn from and fuel each other’s’ growth.
- Become a mentor to someone in a different stage of life from you.
3. Take the next step in doing something
So what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and book a “date” with your spouse to start the discussion. You don’t need to have the whole pathway mapped out, simply start by having a conversation to explore your first steps.
Your marriage has a mission and you can have a lasting impact on the world around you. Decide that you will commit to living beyond yourself and test the smallest step of intentional influence you can take. You’ll be so glad you did.
May you grow together as a marriage on mission and be filled with the joy that comes with bringing good to your corner of the world.
This article was originally written for Manna Christian Stores’ community site.