Start S.M.A.R.T. With Your Wife In 2017

“In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23

The saying goes, “Marriage may be the closest thing to heaven or hell any of us will know on this earth.” I don’t know about you, but my desire is to have a TRUE relationship with my wife — one that is full of love, joy, peace, happiness, etc. I desire to laugh together, cry together and communicate honestly with each other. I don’t want to “just exist” in marriage together. I want to be best friends with my wife. Best friends are committed to one another, regardless of circumstances. Best friends go out of their way for each other, willingly and consistently serving the other person. Best friends are at peace with one another.  

Marriage is hard. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It takes a lot of work, which is why the lifelong commitment should not be taken lightly. But like anything else that is hard, the reward is so great. The ‘ROI’ on the relationship with your wife is directly correlated to the amount of investment you put into the relationship. The greater the investment, the greater the return. The more labor you put into your marriage, the greater the profit.

King Solomon reiterates this promise in Proverbs 14:23 where he says, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Author Steven K. Scott says, “Apply that labor to your marriage, and your profit will be measured by the amount of fulfillment you and your wife gain. Mere talk, on the other hand, Solomon warns, is cheap and easy, and leads only to poverty.” (1)

He goes on to say, “Diligent labor is demanding. It requires vision, creativity, commitment and effective partnering. Essentially, Solomon is telling us that if you are not profitable in your career, or if your marriage isn’t as fulfilling as you wish, you are probably not working diligently enough.” (2)

I read that sentence several weeks ago, and I realized the diligent labor I was putting forth in my marriage was nonexistent. My wife and I had been irritable with each other. There was very little joy and happiness oozing from our relationship, and I decided to take responsibility and make some changes.

In my previous blog, I shared a model to help you ‘Start S.M.A.R.T. in 2017’ . Below is a step-by-step model to Start S.M.A.R.T. With Your Wife in 2017.

After realizing I needed to put forth more diligent labor in my marriage, I sat down, wrote out a plan and executed it. I’ve noticed a big change in my marriage since, and I want to encourage all of us to start your marriage out with a bang in 2017. Here’s the plan…

1. Schedule a day to personally get away – Use this day to establish your personal 2017 goals. Keep it simple by using the 5F Model (Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, Finances). IMPORTANT — this day is for you. Don’t invite anyone else. Turn your phone off, limit distractions, etc.

2. Schedule a day to get away with your wife – Don’t let her know about it until you’ve handled all the details — lunch and dinner plans, babysitting, a fun activity, etc.

3. Text your wife the details – “Hey hun, I planned a day away for just me and you. Please block out the entire day next Thursday. I’ve already made babysitting arrangements and have lunch and dinner reservations. Be ready to leave the house at 9 am.

4. Start your day out light – Do something fun together. Take her shopping, grab coffee, etc.

5. Share the why and take responsibility – When the moment is right, share with her why you planned this day. For me, I had to be honest.  I said, “I planned this day because I felt like we are going through the motions in our marriage. It’s not what it could be, and I take full responsibility for this. I want to use this day to get things back on track and to share my goals and plans with you.”

6. Recap the year with vulnerability – Share a summary of your year. Tell her about your personal successes, failures, disappointments, etc. Take it one step further by sharing your feelings on the marriage. Let her know how you appreciate her, what you love about her, etc. Go even further by sharing where you have failed her and what your desires are.

7. Share your personal 5F goals – Give her permission to hold you accountable. Encourage her to check in with you (Recommendation – make sure one of your family goals is focused on diligently loving her more effectively).

8. Encourage her – Ask her to consider establishing a 5F plan for 2017. Set a time the following week to sit down together after the kids are in bed to review them.

9. Schedule monthly check-ups – Schedule a consistent day, time and location to check-in with each other. Review your goals, talk about your marriage and be diligent!

Garret Barbush, Executive Director


1 – Steven K. Scott, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth & Happiness, page 17.
2 – Steven K. Scott, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth & Happiness, page 17.

Hit the Shot

I love the game of golf. It has a rich tradition, and the history is fascinating. If you’ve ever played the game, then you understand how challenging it is. Many avid golfers will argue the “perfect round” can never be obtained. While a golfer may never be able to play the “perfect round,” I would argue that a golfer can experience the “perfect finish.”

In 2012, the golf world witnessed Bubba Watson win the 2012 Masters in dramatic fashion. If you don’t know Bubba, then do some research. He’s known for his unorthodox swing and for his long ball off the tee. His style of golf would never be found in any type of swing manual, however, it’s gained so much popularity that it’s been given its own name – BubbaGolf! Furthermore, Bubba is a normal guy – a down to earth, southern boy who loves to joke around and have fun.

Watson’s shot from the trees on the 2nd playoff hole at Augusta National will go down as one of the best shots in Masters history. Jack Nicklaus was even quoted as saying, “That will go down as one of the greatest shots ever played in the game.” The average person doesn’t realize how crazy of a shot it was. Just when it looked like Bubba’s chances were coming to a halt, he shocked the world with his 40-yard hook from the middle of the trees that stopped ever so graciously on the green. To put it simply, it looked like Bubba was down for the count. However, he took a risk, did something that no average man can do, and it paid off for him (See ESPN’s Sport Science Video Here).

While I sat on the edge of my seat, screaming at the television, Bubba took his time to tap in his 8-inch putt. What came next was something that I will never forget. As his caddy embraced Watson with a hug, Bubba wept. It was an uncontrollable sob. As he let go of his caddy, Bubba’s mother approached the green. More hugs and tears transpired. Then, something took place that I have never seen in professional golf. Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Aaron Baddeley and Ben Crane all approached the green and smothered Bubba with hugs.

It wasn’t just the hugging that caught my attention. It was the fact that Bubba had these four men in his corner, and when they each hugged him, I could tell they were genuine hugs – not just “bro hugs.” In all my years of watching golf, I never witnessed four other players celebrate with the champion on the final hole. As I sat and dwelled on that for a bit, tears came to my eyes.

“That’s what it’s all about,” I thought to myself. I knew right then that Bubba had a huge part of life figured out. Golf doesn’t define Bubba Watson. Genuine relationships are what Bubba’s life is all about, and the men fighting with him in his corner proved it that day.

I think Bubba’s experience at Augusta National can be compared to what we face in life on a regular basis. Don’t we often feel beat down? Don’t we get to the point where it seems like we don’t have the energy to keep battling? We may struggle with our marriages, raising our children, battling addictions, living for Christ, etc. In those moments, most of us take the easy route – we give up or give in. If we were in Bubba Watson’s shoes on that Sunday evening, we would have played it safe by punching out to the middle of the fairway, hoping to make bogey, and we would have settled for a runner-up finish.

However, Bubba Watson took a different approach. He did what most of us don’t have the courage to do. He took a risk by trusting in himself and following after his dream. Why?

I believe he took the risk because he knew that his identity wasn’t in the game of golf. He took the risk because he knew whether he won or lost, he still had his team of men in his corner. He knew that no matter what took place, he still had Jesus Christ to lean on.

Men – I encourage each of you to take a risk. Do not fall victim to the “norm.” Follow your dreams. Hit the shot. I know each of you have it in your bag. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Remember, you’ll never play the “perfect round,” but you can certainly experience the perfect finish. Your “caddy” encourages you every day. Are you listening?

Play well today, sir. I’ll be one of the guys hugging you on the 18th green when you win.

Garret Barbush, Executive Director