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Checklist for Change

Recently we were out to dinner with friends who are making a major change in their lives and careers. Our friends have thought this through well. They have been dreaming of these changes for several years. They met with their financial advisor and are on track with their new career plans.

When a new year begins, many of us face changes. We may change jobs or health plans. Maybe we start a new diet, workout plan, or even a new budget. But when it comes to making major decisions that will lead to change in our lives, how do we know if we’re making a good decision? How can we stay unified in the decision making process?

Here’s a checklist of five questions to ask to ensure we make the best decisions:

1. Have we prayed about the change as a couple?

The most successful plans have God in them. Ultimately we can make our plans but it’s the Lord who determines our steps (Proverbs 16:9). Make sure our decisions don’t contradict God’s principles. Pray for the Lord to guide you individually and as a couple. Pray for spiritual unity and insights.

2. Are we unified?

Whether it’s a move across the country or a new exercise plan, it can be difficult to incorporate change in our life if we don’t have support from our spouse. Are you and your spouse in agreement with the change? Do you have each other’s back and will you encourage each other? Satan will do everything he can to bring division to you and your spouse through change.  Don’t give him that opportunity.

3. Have we talked thoroughly about the change?

Our friends have been discussing the changes that they hope to incorporate this year for the past six years. They’ve talked about their plan and it’s been a mutual dream for them. They’ve strategized and organized many decisions over the last few years with their goals in mind. They are prepared.

How about you? Do both of you feel that you have been heard and understood? Have you considered all aspects of the issue? Have you discussed the issue completely–not just the good aspects of the change but some of the difficult implications as well?

4. Have we sought counsel from people who are experts?

Bad decisions are often made out of pride and thinking we have all the answers. Humility seeks insight from people who know more than we do about a subject. Proverbs 11:14 (NLT) says that “…there is safety in having many advisers.”

For example, if you plan on purchasing a home, have you talked with someone who knows the local area? Have you researched the new neighborhood? Have any crimes been committed in the neighborhood? Do you have an honest realtor and financial advisor who won’t encourage you to spend more than you should? Have you researched churches near where you plan to live and are there some that could be a good fit for you?

5. When things get difficult and tough do we have the stamina to persevere?

Change usually involves a sense of loss and pain while looking ahead to what is new. That’s why persevering through the change is important. Perseverance is focusing on the long term goal and not quitting when things get hard. It doesn’t mean things will be easy. Instead it means we move forward with what’s best even when it’s hard, lonely, boring, or discouraging.

You can make good decisions as couple! Follow the five questions in the checklist and you will be able to face change and Build Your Marriage.