It’s the day after Christmas. I don’t know about you, but every year on this day I start looking forward. A new year stretches out before me like a blank page and that excites me.

At the end of 1999, we were living in Iowa and wondering, like everyone else, if the world was going to end with Y2K. Really, we both felt pretty confident that nothing would happen, but do you remember the hype? It was CRAZY. Anyway, Kevin was gearing up for all the beginning-of-the-year stuff at the office, not the least of which was his “annual plan” with his management team. Over a two-day period, they would get away from the office, and sit around a big table (often in my dining room) to define goals, trouble-shoot, and plan for the year ahead.

That year, I had an idea. What if Kevin and I got away, over night, and did our own annual plan for our marriage and family? Deciding that it would be really great, I made a reservation at a favorite inn about an hour away, then made up a list of questions for us to use as a guide. The only request I made of Kevin is that he bring his computer.

After we were settled into our room, we both answered the questions I brought, then traded them to read each others’ answers. It was really enlightening, and sparked great conversation. After we finished that, we took out our laptops and took time to sync our calendars for the year, marking off vacation time so we would actually plan it. The whole thing was a huge success.

We’ve continued this tradition every year since, and while we don’t achieve everything we set out to do, it keeps us focused and moving in the same direction. We don’t have to wonder about what’s important to the other because we’ve already talked about it.

If you’re looking for something to help bring you and your spouse to the same page, give it a try. You’ll find the questions we use in the “annual plan” link below, but feel free to change it to fit your relationship and family. The sky’s the limit! You don’t have to get away over night, but I strongly suggest a date night, or at the very least, making arrangements for the kids to be gone for a few hours. It’s an investment in your marriage, and it’s a lot of fun, too.

It’s healthy to chart a course together, keeping in mind that God is at the helm. Things may not go exactly according to plan, but you can better weather any storms that crop up if you start out on the journey together.

Annual Plan


Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. ~ Proverbs 16:3 ESV

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. ~ Proverbs 19:21 ESV