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We each enter marriage with an idea of what our path might look like, especially concerning our life’s work. If you married young, you may have been pursuing a degree in a chosen field or just preparing to enter it. 


Either way, now that you are married, your career decisions should not be made independent of your spouse. Instead, you need to make them together. And the best way to do that is by recognizing potential issues that may arise and making some critical determinations in advance. Whether you are just starting life together or preparing for retirement, it’s imperative to have a plan.


Focus Verse: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” – Luke 14:28-30 (ESV)

What is Success?


Before we continue, let’s examine the word “success” since it is defined differently for the Christian. Instead of associating success with wealth, position, or possessions, success by Kingdom standards means using the talents and opportunities God has given us to live a full and fruitful life. This is evident in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The servants considered faithful (and who received their reward) took what they were given and used it to their best ability for their Master’s benefit. This is true success. So, for the believer, a faithful, fruitful life is a successful life. As we sit down with our spouses to discuss our career goals, let’s keep this in mind.


Step One: Communicate Your Expectations


Though many of our expectations remain unspoken, when they aren’t met, we react negatively. When defining our career goals, it’s important to communicate them clearly. We might find that our own childhood experiences shape some of our expectations.


Whether you grew up in a single-parent household, with a stay-at-home parent, with a constantly traveling parent, or many other possibilities, your upbringing likely shaped your expectations, whether positively or negatively.


Step #2: Consider Your Finances


Of course, careers and money are intricately linked, so having regular discussions and updates about your finances is essential to you both. Though our careers generate income, they also require an investment for us to continue to grow. If you plan ahead financially, you will be ready to pursue those learning opportunities without incurring debt or relying on someone else to pay for it.


Step #3: Plan to Share the Load


Since you are equal partners in marriage, it’s important to share the load and make adjustments as your career demands change. Since we share the load, we must treat one another with equal respect regardless of who contributes more financially.


As you move forward in your career-goal planning and identify ways to help one another, let’s now look at another vital factor that will keep you working together.

Career Decisions and Transitions Require Consensus


When faced with a major career decision, evaluating the risks and rewards of the new position as a team is essential. These decisions must be made together because they impact both of you. Maybe you are offered a promotion that includes a pay increase but considerably more hours. Or maybe there’s a new position that requires a relocation. As you consider these opportunities, also consider the cost and ask yourselves the following question, “Does this align with our goals as a couple?” This is important because we need to realize that not every good opportunity is a God opportunity.

Time to Set Goals

On a sheet of paper, you should write down your short-term and long-term career goals, for example, 5, 10, 25 years, etc. (This is a valuable exercise whether you are currently working or not.) And make sure you don’t limit your goals! Then take time for each of you to share what you have written, listening carefully to the heart of your spouse. Next, consider ways you can support each other and write that down as well. This is also an excellent time to write down any areas that require compromise. We encourage you to take time to work through this exercise to define your career goals.

Like every other area in a healthy marriage, communication with our spouse about our career goals is key to moving forward together. Too often, married couples drift apart due to their work schedules and compartmentalize that time as separate. For further guidance on strengthening your marriage and family with God at the center, visit our marriage and family ministry website or explore our website at Dream City Church for additional resources.

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