We Create A Family Mission Statement

06.19.2019 - By Marriage After God

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Having a mission statement for your family isn't required but it can be very beneficial for creating and maintaining the culture of your home. Jennifer and I have never created a mission statement before so we thought we would make one while you listen.

If you have been blessed by the Marriage After God podcast please consider supporting it by picking up a copy of our book titled Marriage After God. https://marrigeaftergod.com

[Aaron] Hey, we're Aaron and Jennifer Smith with "Marriage After God".

[Jennifer] Helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

[Aaron] And today we're gonna do something fun and we're gonna talk about creating a family mission statement. Welcome to the "Marriage After God" podcast, where we believe that marriage was meant for more than just "Happily Ever After".

[Jennifer] I'm Jennifer, also known as "Unveiled Wife".

[Aaron] And I'm Aaron, also known as "Husband Revolution".

[Jennifer] We have been married for over a decade.

[Aaron] And so far, we have four young children.

[Jennifer] We have been doing marriage ministry online for over seven years, through blogging and social media.

[Aaron] With the desire to inspire couples to keep God at the center of their marriage, encouraging them to walk in faith every day.

[Jennifer] We believe that Christian marriage should be an extraordinary one full of life.

[Aaron] Love.

[Jennifer] And power.

[Aaron] That can only be found by chasing after God.

[Jennifer] Together.

[Aaron] Thank you for joining us on this journey as we chase boldly after God's will for our life together.

[Jennifer] This is "Marriage After God". Firstly, we want to just thank everyone for joining us on this podcast today. We're super excited just to have you join us 'cause this is gonna be an interesting episode. We have a lot in store for you, but first we just wanna ask that you would take a minute to leave us a review. It's easy, you just scroll to the bottom of the app and just leave us a star rating review or comment review. This is one way to support the podcast "Marriage After God" because it allows other people to find the podcast, and we wanna do that. So, please take a moment to help us out there and thank you.

[Aaron] Also, our book's out. Our new book, "Marriage After God", is available. It's been such and awesome ride seeing the response we've been getting, and if you have not picked up a copy yet, we'd love for you to go to shop.marriageaftergod.com, and pick up a copy today. One of the most powerful ways you can support us, is by buying our book, and it also supports your marriage and your life. We wrote the book for you. We wrote it to encourage you in the ministry that God has for you and your spouse, so go grab a copy today.

[Jennifer] Okay, so we are going to start off here with an ice-breaker question, and Aaron came up with this question, so I'm hoping he has an answer. What is the ideal family trip or vacation?

[Aaron] I actually didn't think about it when I said it, so I don't have... Okay, let me think. Ideal family trip. So, I can look back on something we have done that I really enjoyed, when we went to the East Coast, but we did like a plane-drive, plane-drive.

[Jennifer] It was over a period of a week and a half, two weeks.

[Aaron] Yeah, and I thought that was a lot of fun 'cause we got to fly the portions that I thought would've been boring, maybe. Get to a new area and then drive around, stay for a day or two, go to the next place--

[Jennifer] And here, you said, "Ideal family trip". That doesn't sound ideal for any family.

[Aaron] For me! Oh, are you saying ideal for everyone?

[Jennifer] Yeah, I don't know if that was your question, but I'm just thinking everyone listening right now is probably shaking their heads, no.

[Aaron] I thought that was a fun trip for us.

[Jennifer] I think the majority of families, especially with young children, would say flying and driving multiple times in one trip would be a difficult challenge.

[Aaron] Okay, I didn't know it "ideal for everyone". Ideal for everyone would be like, going somewhere awesome and staying there for a while. Like, with a house that's comfortable and you have all your family with you, and there's a pool or a beach.

[Jennifer] Where would that place be, Aaron?

[Aaron] Maui? I don't know.

[Jennifer] Awesome.

[Aaron] What's ideal for you? What would that be?

[Jennifer] So, I think you and me just like adventure because I really had fun that time too, that we went to the East Coast, but I think an ideal family trip is visiting family in California. I think that's just because I know it's something the kids enjoy. We usually hit up the beach. We stay there all day.

[Aaron] Yeah, that is fun.

[Jennifer] I think it's just an easy, kind of, go-to is when you're visiting family somewhere, you're staying with them, and you're just doing something simple.

[Aaron] All right, that's good answer.

[Jennifer] Relaxing.

[Aaron] I'm sure everyone listening has their own ideal. Like, staying home. Eating ice cream, that sounds ideal.

[Jennifer] Now that it's summertime, I'm sure there's a lot of people traveling and doing, you know, maybe family vacations or summer trips.

[Aaron] Camping. So, we hope you guys are, and we hope that if you can spend that time with your family and doing something fun, even if it's local, like camping in the backyard, you're doing it, 'cause those are memories that your kids will love forever.

[Aaron] Oh yeah. So, I just wanna, before we get into the main topic, I'm gonna read a quote from the book "Marriage After God", and it's about this idea. It's from Chapter 13 of "Marriage After God".

[Jennifer] About what idea? Just that you clarify.

[Aaron] Yeah, it's about the idea of creating a vision statement or mission statement for your marriage. It says this, "Casting a vision together for the future "of your marriage is an intimate experience "where hope for the future "stimulates perseverance for today." What's awesome about that is, when we create a vision for the future, it doesn't mean we're necessarily planning to the "T" everything that's going to happen in the future, it's just saying like, "This is where we'd like to be."

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] "This is what, you know, "the trajectory we want to be on as a family." It helps in those moments when it's tedious; when it's hard; when you're going through something and you say, "Well, we're in this together. "We're going the same direction. "We know where we wanna be, and even if we never get "to that exact point in time, or ideal situation, "we're going there together."

[Jennifer] Yeah, and in Chapter 13 of "Marriage After God" we really, you know, drive home this idea that this is an intimate experience that you guys get to do together, and it's something to look forward to casting a vision together and having hope for your marriage and hope for your future together and for your family. This is something that we've kept as a valuable thing in our marriage for years, and I enjoy it. I enjoy the process with you, and so even though in "Marriage After God" we don't strictly talk about creating a family mission statement, we do talk about casting a vision together.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] And in the back of "Marriage After God" we even list some questions for you to sit down and have one of those date-night conversations and be mindful of the next five years, the next 25 years and what that looks like, because when we look to the future of things, there is hope there.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] I think that's important.

[Aaron] And we have, like you said, we've always cast vision, planned for the next 60 days, next six months, next year, five years.

[Jennifer] We kinda do seasons.

[Aaron] We do seasons of that, but we've never sat down and actually wrote down a family vision statement.

[Jennifer] Yeah, so even thought we kind of operate out of this same understanding, we've never sat down to do it, and it was actually because of the "Marriage After God" podcast series, which if you guys haven't checked that out, we've been going through--

[Aaron] Yeah just--

[Jennifer] Yeah, 16, 17 episodes about this idea of 'Marriage After God' but several people who we interviewed brought up this idea of creating a family mission statement, and how it has impacted their marriage. I know people share about it online too. So, we just kinda wanted to use this time to, first, encourage you guys in your marriage.

[Aaron] Mm-hmm.

[Jennifer] Encourage you guys to have hope for the future as you vision plan together, but even more so create a family mission statement. That's our challenge for you at the end of this episode and because Aaron and I have never officially done this before or wrote it down, we thought it would be fun to--

[Aaron] We're gonna do it with you.

[Jennifer] Do it with you, so--

[Aaron] We're just gonna start talkin' about it in this podcast episode, and we're gonna start coming up with kinda the foundational ideas for our own mission statement.

[Jennifer] This was an idea that I had after having those interviews and being encouraged by people because I thought, "So often we hear people say, "'We did this thing. "'We created this family mission statement "'and here it is, or it's still a work in progress.'"

[Aaron] That sounds wonderful. Good for them.

[Jennifer] That's awesome, but where's the example of doing it? Which I don't know if everybody needs an example of that but sometimes it's helpful to go, what does that actually look like in a conversation?

[Aaron] Yeah, how do you have that conversation with you spouse? I feel like every time a couple that we interviewed brought it up, we looked at each other and we're like, "We need to do that!" We wave our hands like, yeah, we just need to do that.

[Jennifer] So, the unique part of this episode today is actually that we're gonna be jumping in here in a bit to kind of experience it with you guys. This is like a behind the scenes kind of--

[Aaron] We have not talked about this before recording this.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] So, you'll hear the candid conversation about how we see our family, where we see we're gonna go, yeah. So, you're gonna join us on this little adventure with us.

[Jennifer] Okay, so--

[Aaron] Before we start, why don't you read that quote from "Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Family" by Stephen Covey.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] 'Cause it's in his whole book about creating a mission statement.

[Jennifer] So, I will let you guys know that we actually haven't read this book, but I just jumped on really quick and I typed in Google and said, "family mission statement".

[Aaron] This is a part of the process.

[Jennifer] Yeah, I encourage you guys to do that too. So, we haven't read this book. We probably will in the future, but there was several people who were quoting this from his book, and it says, "A family mission statement "is a combined unified expression from all family members "of what your family is all about, "what it is you really want to do and be, "and the principles you choose to govern your family life."

[Aaron] That's cool, and that's essentially what we're doing. We're not doing it with our kids this time. Our kids are, I think, too young. They'll eventually get older and then what we'll do is we'll probably sit down with them and invite them in and we'll adjust 'cause maybe our kids will have other perspectives they wanna bring in. I know that we have families that they have large families, lots of kids, and they bring their kids in, their older kids, and invite 'em to be a part of this vision planning and mission statement.

[Jennifer] So, two things, since we're being candid here.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] The first one being, I don't think our children are too small to be incorporated, even at this stage of the game because it's not finalized yet, right?

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] This is our initial go at it. And so I think--

[Aaron] And Elliott is pretty smart.

[Jennifer] Yeah, Elliott's smart.

[Aaron] He'll be like, "Why don't we..."

[Jennifer] But I think... Okay, so our kids are six and a half, four, two, and eight months. So obviously, Truit's not gonna say much.

[Aaron] I don't know.

[Jennifer] But having a family fun meeting, where we're saying, "Okay guys, here are some questions "mommy and daddy have for you", and getting them involved. Maybe even if some of the questions are over their head, it'll still be a fun time to spend together and maybe we'll be surprised."

[Aaron] Let's write down the funny answers and then we'll keep those for the future and say, "This is what you said when you were four."

[Jennifer] Maybe we'll be surprised by them.

[Aaron] That's probably true.

[Jennifer] So, I do--

[Aaron] I concede.

[Jennifer] The second thing is I wanna encourage those listening, if you do have children, that you do find a way to incorporate them in this process because they are a part of the family; and if you're doing it and you don't have kids yet, that's okay too. You and your spouse--

[Aaron] And I guess it's gonna give them more ownership and be like, "Hey, you are members of this family, "not just people that are in it."

[Jennifer] Right.

[Aaron] "You're part of it."

[Jennifer] Yeah, and I think what I've gathered from trying to understand this family mission statement saying, is that it's not something that is like, "here are the rules", you know. It's more of something that's supposed to encourage the family unit to be in agreeance and have the same understanding of what those family core values are. So, even though this quote up here says "to govern your family life", I think there's freedom in that. It's not like a list of rules, but it's something creative, a creative way to establish standards and core values.

[Aaron] Okay. So, should we do it?

[Jennifer] I think we should jump in, yeah.

[Aaron] Should we start working on this? I know our kids aren't here but we're gonna start at least with the foundational stuff, maybe?

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Answer some questions.

[Jennifer] And just again to preface, this is not something that's... There's not a final answer to. We're kinda just jumping in to show you guys how the conversation could go.

[Aaron] Well, it's gonna go.

[Jennifer] Well, it's gonna go. This is it.

[Aaron] This is our legitimate conversation that we're gonna talk about our mission statement as a family.

[Jennifer] Okay. You might hear keyboard typing 'cause I'm taking notes. That's how I'm doin' it.

[Aaron] Yeah, so you have a question there, but I guess I wanna start with the first one. I know we kind of hit it up, but when you hear "mission statement"... 'Cause I'm sure everyone has their own little definition of it, and you even had to Google it, like, "What's everyone do?" Everyone's got a little different take on it. When you think mission statement, what do you think? Like, is this our one word phrase or few words phrase? Like, when we are out and about we say, "This is who we are!"

[Jennifer] Yeah, we get t-shirts made, right?

[Aaron] Yeah, we can get some t-shirts made.

[Jennifer] That's not a bad idea. The word that comes to my mind is it's a motto. It's a way of being. It's a way of doing life together, and I do think it is something that should be shortened and concise so that it's easy to remember.

[Aaron] I agree.

[Jennifer] There might be portions of it that are expanded upon, but I think it should be something that is easy to remember.

[Aaron] Okay, it's almost like a statement of faith on our website

[Jennifer] Exactly!

[Aaron] It's like, "This is what we believe, "this is who we are."

[Jennifer] Exactly.

[Aaron] Yeah, and this is how we're gonna live. Of course, because we're believers and we love the Lord and we love the Bible, that's probably gonna be a big part of this.

[Jennifer] Well, yeah. I would assume that Christians who create a family mission statement, it's built upon the Word.

[Aaron] Right. Okay, so we're gonna have to have some verses and we'll get to that probably.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] So, here's the first question. What are some words that describe our family or what we want our family to be?

[Jennifer] Hmm.

[Aaron] I'm just gonna throw out the first thing--

[Jennifer] Okay, go.

[Aaron] I thought of is generous.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] And for those listening, a lot of the things we're gonna say, because we kind of have just walked in certain things over the last 12 years that we've been married and even before then. I think there's just gonna be some natural things that come out of us.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] But now it's gonna be solidified as, "This is who we are." So, generosity is something I believe has been a mark of our marriage for a long time.

[Jennifer] I like that. A word that comes to my mind is, I think I already said it, but "adventurous". Meaning that we find the fun in things.

[Aaron] Write that down, "we find the fun in thing", 'cause there could be lot's of different "adventurous." Adventurous like, we like to take financial risks. Or adventurous like--

[Jennifer] No, more like, we do fun things.

[Aaron] Okay, that's a different kind of adventur--

[Jennifer] We like to explore. We like to eat. We like to go--

[Aaron] We love change.

[Jennifer] We love change.

[Aaron] Not too much change but we like new environments. We like--

[Jennifer] Yeah, I would say, not change so much to our rhythms and routines, because those are important but more so just experiential. I don't know how to explain it.

[Aaron] Like new environments.

[Jennifer] New environments.

[Aaron] It goes into the adventurous side of... We like to go to new places. We like to be around new people.

[Jennifer] I don't know if we've shared this before but we've kind of done these Saturday adventure days with the kids throughout the summer time.

[Aaron] Mm-hmm.

[Jennifer] 'Cause we go through seasons where it's just easier.

[Aaron] We did a podcast about the adventure days.

[Jennifer] Okay. So, that's an important thing. When I think of adventure, I think time set aside where we know we're gonna be doing something with the kids, whether it's local or maybe a--

[Aaron] Out of the norm. So, like, we have our normal flow. We have our normal rhythm, and then we're gonna go do something 'not'.

[Jennifer] Go on a hike.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] Go look at the river. Go whatever it is.

[Aaron] Go for a long drive to a new place through a rose garden or apples.

[Jennifer] I do, I make... You guys don't know this about me. I make Aaron go out of his way for me all the time because--

[Aaron] She's like, "I found this orchard "on the other side of the mountain. "Can we go?" And then like, it's not open or... I'm just kidding. No, we've actually had a lot of cool adventures just 'cause you Google and find a cool place to go see.

[Jennifer] Yeah, even like, we were in Portland this time last year. I remember it was hot and only Elliot was awake, the other kids were napping. I was like, "Will you just pull over and let me go see "the rose garden? "I've been wanting to see it." You know, but it was a fun little detour and it worked out for everyone. I like that kind of stuff.

[Aaron] So, adventurous in the fun kind of way, in the environmental kind of way, the experiential kind of way.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] I would say another word I think of is community.

[Jennifer] Mmm.

[Aaron] I know it's like an easy buzz word for Christians.

[Jennifer] No, it's good.

[Aaron] We've made big decisions in our life and one of the main criteria in that decision was community.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Often.

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] When moving, our prayer was, "Well, we can't move until something changes "in our community because we have these relationships, "we have these connections. "God has us here."

[Jennifer] So, being loyal.

[Aaron] Yeah, I like that word, loyal. We walk with people and we don't just say, "Well, "they'll get over it, we're gonna move on "and find new friends."

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Not that we've been perfect at this, but community's been a huge part of how we make decisions. Even now we think, "If we ever had to move, "who's are we gonna convince to move with us?" And it's not that we don't like being... Like we couldn't do it on our own. We know that community is so important and we want to take it with us.

[Jennifer] Yeah. So, I would say a part of that is also walking in light, and we've done this time and time again where it's just being transparent, being able to communicate--

[Aaron] Oh, put that word, that's a good word, transparent.

[Jennifer] Okay.

[Aaron] I guess it is tied to community, but it's transparent in other things too 'cause our online communities we are transparent with and we don't know any of them.

[Jennifer] If nobody knows what he's talking about, we have these online communities who are amazing people.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] Who have been following us

[Aaron] Facebook, Instagram.

[Jennifer] For eight years now.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] It's so awesome.

[Aaron] Yeah. So, we try and be the same person to every person we meet. Would that be like--

[Jennifer] Integrity?

[Aaron] Integrity.

[Jennifer] I like that.

[Aaron] I don't know if that's in-Integrity's like being the same person when no one's around. Right?

[Jennifer] But also when different people are around. It's all the time.

[Aaron] Right, okay. Say like, I'm not showing this person that face, and then that person this face.

[Jennifer] I only show you different faces.

[Aaron] Okay.

[Jennifer] I used to have to work on this.

[Aaron] Showing me like... I'd be like, "Why do you give everyone the 'good' face?" And then when you get home I get that face.

[Jennifer] Yeah, you said, "I want the best of you."

[Aaron] Yeah, that was--

[Jennifer] 'cause I had a problem with showing you too much--

[Aaron] Well, I think it's normal. Just as a little tangent. It's easy to let down the face you have on for everyone else, when you're around the person you know loves you.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] But we should really say, "No, I'm actually gonna work harder to give the best "to my closest neighbor, my spouse." It doesn't mean we give the worst to our other neighbors.

[Jennifer] Everybody else.

[Aaron] Yeah, I guess it's just--

[Jennifer] I needed balance in my life when it came to that.

[Aaron] Yeah, it's learning how to be real. Like, when you're around someone, you could at least be real and say, "I'm not feeling good right now" or "I'm not"... Anyways, that was a tangent. So, transparent, I like. That's a good word. That's something that's always been, we've always prided ourselves in... I don't wanna say "prided ourselves". Just being transparent. Not wanting to hide things, be open. Integrity is a good word. So, I think community, transparency, generous, let's think...

[Jennifer] I would say faithfulness to our Christian walk, to being obedient to God's Word. Our faith is foundational.

[Aaron] I like faithfulness though as the word, because it's easy to say faith. Faith's important, but faithfulness means to our faith and to the Word, and to God.

[Jennifer] It's like active.

[Aaron] Yeah, it's like a movement word. Is that a verb? It's an action word. What are some... I feel like there's other words that we often say.

[Jennifer] Just real quick as a side note to those listening.

[Aaron] Extraordinary. I just wanted to say before I forgot it.

[Jennifer] Okay. That's fine.

[Aaron] Extraordinary is a big word for us.

[Jennifer] Yes. Do you wanna explain why?

[Aaron] Well, we talk about it a lot in the book "Marriage After God".

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] But it's this idea that we've always had a heart to not just be normal.

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] And that doesn't mean that our goal was to be special and like how we wanted to have this... 'Cause starting this ministry online wasn't even an idea in our hearts when we first got married, but our idea was like, "Well, let's just do what God wants "and that's going to be extraordinary."

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] We went to the mission field for a while and then we went to Canada, and we went to Florida, and we did all these different little things.

[Jennifer] I can actually see how even smaller decisions in our life, like buying this house, that wasn't a small decision, but--

[Aaron] It was at--

[Jennifer] But I just think of decisions that we've made together and we've even out-loud said to ourselves, "Well, that's extraordinary", or "That's not the normal way!"

[Aaron] Right, well we could do the ordinary or we could do it the extraordinary way.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] And the reason you brought up this house, for those that don't know, they can actually find a YouTube video about us doing the house process. We bought a, I wanna say a fixer-upper.

[Jennifer] Decrepit.

[Aaron] But it was a beater-upper. It was really bad. We had to tear down most of the house to fix it back up, but when we thought about it we were like, "Well, this is how we're gonna get what we can afford."

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] "And then we can make it ours." Which, lot's of people do that, but it was extraordinary in my mind. So, extraordinary is a good word for us.

[Jennifer] Yeah. So, when you paused back there I was just gonna note that that's okay when you're doing this process together. There's gonna be times when something might be on your heart or right at the tip of your tongue, and you don't know how to explain it. I think that's why the majority of people will say, "You don't just sit down and write a mission statement. "It's a process, and the process is what counts. "The process is the important part "because you're actually communicating with each other "on what matters most to you."

[Aaron] Good tip.

[Jennifer] Yeah. So, you just mull it over and come back to the drawing board over and over and over again until you narrow it down.

[Aaron] Yeah, and I think after we go through this, we'll be able to see these words and think of better words.

[Jennifer] Probably. Or use the good old dictionary!

[Aaron] Or just the thesaurus.

[Jennifer] Thanks, Google.

[Aaron] Thesaurus.

[Jennifer] Okay, so are there any phrases that we repeat often or say?

[Aaron] Yeah, there's a--

[Jennifer] I know one! Go ahead, what were you gonna say?

[Aaron] We do hard things.

[Jennifer] Yes! That was what I was gonna say!

[Aaron] That was... But you know what? That's a phrase that we only started saying when our kids started getting older.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] But--

[Jennifer] To encourage them we would say things "We're the Smiths and we do hard things."

[Aaron] And so they own it, and they say, "Oh, okay. "This thing that I said is hard, we do those things."

[Jennifer] Yeah. What's cool is they've recognized when we're doing Bible time, certain stories in the Bible of people doing hard things they'll recognize and go, "Hey, David does hard things!"

[Aaron] Yeah! So, I think "We do hard things" is a important phrase, and we didn't come up with that of course.

[Jennifer] But we use it.

[Aaron] We use it often.

[Jennifer] I don't know where it came from.

[Aaron] And it doesn't just remind our kids, it reminds us because how many times a day do we get to this point of like, "Ugh, I don't wanna do this right now." And they're like, "Ugh, we do hard things."

[Jennifer] It's the fight against the flesh.

[Aaron] Yeah, we just did our lawns for the first time this season, and I just kept wanting to quit. I was like, "I did enough. Next week I'll finish the weeds." And I'm like . And then I go through and I'm like, "Oh, I'm just gonna go "a little bit further and make this look nice. Then I'm like, "Ugh, I just wanna give up." And then I go a little bit further, and I just kept telling myself, "No, I can finish this. "It's like my first time ever doing this, I should be fine."

[Jennifer] That same conversation happens to me every single time I go to work out. It's like, you have ten squats on the list to do and you get through four and you're like, "Ahh!"

[Aaron] "I should be able to do this."

[Jennifer] "Okay, I'll do one more." And then you want to bail out but then you just keep going, you keep going, you keep going.

[Aaron] I think it's a good phrase. What's another phrase that we say? Oh, it's kind of a word but we use it as a phrase.

[Jennifer] What?

[Aaron] "Gotta have self-control."

[Jennifer] Oh, self-control.

[Aaron] So, it's a word but--

[Jennifer] Self-control.

[Aaron] We use it in a sense that we say it probably a million and a half times a day to our kids. "Are you having self-control? "You need to have self-control. "Remember self-control!"

[Jennifer] We say it to each other now, too, because in conjunction with "We're setting the example. "We're setting the example".

[Aaron] One of us will be having an attitude about something, just tired or exhausted or frustrated; and I'll be like, "Okay, are you self-controlled right now?" We say it a little quieter to each other.

[Jennifer] Okay. So, what--

[Aaron] Is there any other phrases? We say other things.

[Jennifer] I'm sure there are and we can come back to this if we think about it, but I was gonna ask, "What is it that we value? "What are some things that we really value?"

[Aaron] The Word of God. We have to start with that. I know that sounds like the default answer, but it has to be the number one thing we value. It's what we tell our kids is the most important thing, it's what we try and teach them, we try and live it. So, I think the Word of God is... Now, I will say this, and it's something I've been convicted on recently and something that God's been convicting me on for my whole life, probably. I think this, and then I'm like, "But do I actually show this?" Am I in my Word as much as I could be? I don't want to say "should be" because I don't think there's a number or how many chapters or how many words or how many verses, or whatever; but I know in my heart when I'm in and out of it. I know when I'm giving God's Word the attention it deserves in my life. We could feel it.

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] Recently you've been kind of just overwhelmed with the book launch that--

[Jennifer] Lots of stuff to do.

[Aaron] Lots of stuff to do and I was just thinking to myself, I'm like, "I wonder what-I didn't say this to you, but I was wondering when you were in the Word.

[Jennifer] It's so funny, it's not funny, it's... Wow, this is really convicting because I know exactly the moment in that conversation where I had this thought that, "I wouldn't be feeling this way "if I was in the Word", and--

[Aaron] When was it? 'cause I was thinking about it. I didn't say it to you, I was just... 'Cause I was just encouraging you and comforting you and letting you know it was gonna be okay.

[Jennifer] No, it was really impactful for me, and I've been in the Word since. I think sometimes we just get in these ruts or seasons where we're busy or we're going strong on certain areas of our life, and we don't realize when another area have kind of--

[Aaron] Yeah, we've neglected an area.

[Jennifer] Been neglected, and that was happening with me for a couple days. I'd say about a week and a half.

[Aaron] Well, me too, and I was feeling... Remember I told you how I was feeling?

[Jennifer] Yeah, I think it was compiling.

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] I think the Lord is good.

[Aaron] Well, I was just thinking on Sunday, the message was about... Actually the message wasn't about it, but Matt said, "Hey, we can't know all of this in one sitting. "We have to just go line by line, verse by verse, "chapter by chapter, over years of reading and reading, "and re-reading and re-reading, and re-memorizing "and re-stating, and chewing it over." Then this morning, I was listening to J. Vernon McGee, and he was in Isaiah and he was bringing up the scripture that talks about "precept upon precept, line by line", and he was saying... You know, it took five years for J. Vernon McGee to teach through the Bible. That was just him going through one time.

[Jennifer] Mm-hmm.

[Aaron] Five years. How much do we go 'precept by precept'? Are we just reading through it? Laying on the knowledge that we're getting out of it. That was another good tangent, but Word of God I think is the most valuable thing. It needs to be--

[Jennifer] Bolded?

[Aaron] Yeah, bolded and--

[Jennifer] Italicized?

[Aaron] Italicized, highlighted in green, but I think it needs to be more evident in our own lives for our kids sake and for our own sake.

[Jennifer] Yeah. What a great tool, this mission statement, to remind us to do that. If this is gonna be a foundational thing that is in front of us by maybe putting it on a plaque in our house or however we're gonna display this once we do finalize it. To be reminded of that, you know, every single day.

[Aaron] Yeah, "Let's go back to the Word of God. "What does the Word say about this situation."

[Jennifer] So, what other things do we value? I feel like we value--

[Aaron] Stewardship?

[Jennifer] Stewardship.

[Aaron] Is that a good word?

[Jennifer] That's good.

[Aaron] Like we value--

[Jennifer] I'm gonna write that down.

[Aaron] Being good stewards, which we talk a ton about in 'Marriage after God'.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Because of how important it is to our ministries.

[Jennifer] It's like the whole book's message, really.

[Aaron] "Are you stewarding the way God's given you well?" That's the whole book actually.

[Jennifer] I guess part of what I was gonna say goes along with this. I don't know if you would agree, but recognizing our need verses want in minimalism. Not that we're minimalist people because we have stuff. We have stuff, but I don't feel like we exaggerate and go outside of what we need. Does that make sense?

[Aaron] I would agree. I think there's been seasons in our life that, because of discontentment or dissatisfaction or whatever, we've chased after things.

[Jennifer] Or acquired.

[Aaron] Collecting things, or buying things that we don't need. That's rarer, I would say. I'm not gonna say, "It's not super rare", but we tend to get what we need and not much more. Again, there's plenty of things that we have.

[Jennifer] I think we've been good over time of challenging each other or encouraging each other, you know, "Maybe we don't need that thing right now", or "Hey, if you are gonna go get that, think about this."

[Aaron] Right.

[Jennifer] You've done it with me with kids clothes before. "Hey, instead of buying off that website "can we just try and"--

[Aaron] "Because they're not gonna fit in it "in six weeks."

[Jennifer] "Or they're gonna be stained up."

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] Or whatever the reasoning's were. That was just the first thing off the top of my head. I think that...

[Aaron] Stewardship minimalist. Yeah, I agree. We're not minimalist, but we definitely think on a more, "What do we need verses what do we want? "And what do we want, is it something we need, "and is it something we can use and is it gonna be"--

[Jennifer] We're willing to be confronted by that, for sure.

[Aaron] Right. What is other things we value? Relationships?

[Jennifer] I was gonna say people.

[Aaron] People, yeah. I would say this goes up higher.

[Jennifer] You can even see this in our kids because Olive really values relationships.

[Aaron] Mm-hmm.

[Jennifer] All of our kids do, but I could just see it in them.

[Aaron] Yeah. Well, it's of course, the Word of God points us to--

[Jennifer] God's relationship.

[Aaron] I would say that's almost the number one message in the Bible, other than Jesus Christ and him crucified, which everything points to that, is why he died for us is to give us relationship with the Father, and then through that gives us relationship with other people, right? Like, John 17, which we should put down because the next thing we're gonna talk about is scripture, but John 17 is a major one, which is the high priestly prayer Jesus prays for his disciples and for everyone who believes in the message that the disciples bring to the world; is that we would be one. That we'd be unified just as Christ and God are unified.

[Jennifer] Yeah, but before we move on to the scripture section, I had some things I wanted to share about the values. So, 'cause this is all about brain-dumping and just getting out of our minds and heart what we believe to be true about our family, to build up this mission statement. So, words like 'creativity'. I feel like we value. Inspiring each other towards greatness.

[Aaron] Can I throw in a word? Creating.

[Jennifer] Creating, okay.

[Aaron] I mean, we've done the self-publishing thing, the blogging, the social media. It's just kind of been a part of what we do. So, creativity, inspiring, but we also create. It's part of us.

[Jennifer] Mmm, that's good.

[Aaron] Elliot loves to draw, Olive loves to paint.

[Jennifer] Yeah. That's good, lots of Lego building.

[Aaron] Lots of Lego building! By the way the Lego thing you built yesterday is awesome. It's like this huge city.

[Jennifer] It was supposed to be Bleecker St. in New York.

[Aaron] Okay.

[Jennifer] I just didn't get to finish it.

[Aaron] I didn't see the signs.

[Jennifer] Oh, go back and look at it. So yeah, some of the things that we value are experiences where, being able to go to a museum if we're near one, or--

[Aaron] I feel like that falls under adventure, adventurous, right?

[Jennifer] Okay. Yeah, but it's like learning experiences.

[Aaron] Well, put learning then. That's a good word.

[Jennifer] Learning. So, whether that's--

[Aaron] Learning is a big thing--

[Jennifer] Experiences or books, resources, pretty much anything I can get my hands on for us or for the kids that encourages growth and investment.

[Aaron] All the educational films like Marvels, Avengers, and Iron Man, those are really for us.

[Jennifer] For us.

[Aaron] For us, yeah. Yeah, I think learning is a great word. So, under value...

[Jennifer] Does food count?

[Aaron] Oh, you know, can I say wisdom?

[Jennifer] Wisdom, yeah.

[Aaron] And you actually should put food on there because that is a huge thing for us. Food. We love food!

[Jennifer] Not just food.

[Aaron] God loved food.

[Jennifer] I know but the experience of food, like the actual tasting good and figuring out what flavors are there, but then the experience of eating with people.

[Aaron] Yeah, so actually food kinda encompasses all these.

[Jennifer] Okay so, on our family mission statement it's gonna say, "The Smith family", and then in bold right beneath that--

[Aaron] "Food."

[Jennifer] 'Food'.

[Aaron] That'll be our... It's short.

[Jennifer] Semi-calling Gods word. So, it's like both, right? It's like the Word of Life.

[Aaron] Well, God's Word is the bread of life. So, it just literally all fits in. Everyone here that's listening, our mission statement is [Jennifer And Aaron] Food.

[Jennifer] This is how our conversations really go in real life, to you guys. We're not makin' this up for you.

[Aaron] I'm pretty sure I can fit every single one of those things into food.

[Jennifer] We'll figure it out.

[Aaron] Yeah. Wisdom, what I mean by wisdom is, wisdom is the application of knowledge.

[Jennifer] Yup.

[Aaron] 'Cause you can know lots of things and do nothing with it.

[Jennifer] Not ever implement it.

[Aaron] Yeah, wisdom is like, "Oh, I actually know how "to navigate this kind of relationship, "therefore I'm going to navigate it that way." Or, "I know that I should keep my mouth shut "in this situation", so I could choose to act on the knowledge or not. So, wisdom is taking the Word of God, taking life experiences and letting it teach us and then saying, "Oh, last time we experienced that. "Let's make a different decision this time."

[Jennifer] Mmm.

[Aaron] We were actually just talking about this in the car. All the experiences the God's given us, hard ones that have taught us things.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] That a lot of people won't ever experience.

[Jennifer] Right, but everyone listening has their own set of experiences that--

[Aaron] That no one else will have.

[Jennifer] No one else will have.

[Aaron] That God wants to use to teach them wisdom.

[Jennifer] Yeah, but wisdom is saying, "Okay, I'm going "to learn from that, and not just learn from it, but"--

[Jennifer] Apply it.

[Aaron] "I'm gonna apply the knowledge to my life now "regardless of how easy it is or how it feels to my flesh."

[Jennifer] Right.

[Aaron] Right.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] So, wisdom is a big one.

[Jennifer] Okay, cool. So, moving on, were there any more scriptures that you wanted to share?

[Aaron] Think of some scriptures...

[Jennifer] One, you brought up generosity earlier, and so one of the scriptures that came to my mind was 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, it says, "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly "will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully "will also reap bountifully. "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, "not reluctantly or under compulsion, "for God loves a cheerful giver." So, I just thought about that.

[Aaron] That's a great one. Cheerful giver.

[Jennifer] I think it defines how we give, which I love.

[Aaron] Yeah we don't ever, I mean we try not to give out of compulsion. As in, "Oh, we must do this!" No, we'd be like, "We want to do this."

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] So, that's a good one. Another one I think of is the Great Commission in Mathew 28, where Jesus literally tells the church what it's job is. It says, Mathew 28:18, "And Jesus came and said to them, ""All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son "and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe "all that I have commanded you. "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

[Jennifer] I love that last portion.

[Aaron] Yeah, and we can take this as our individual mandates, but really it's the mandate for the church as a whole, 'cause there's all these different functioning parts.

[Jennifer] Right.

[Aaron] Discipling, evangelism, teaching--

[Jennifer] Baptizing.

[Aaron] Baptizing, all these different things, and we sometimes get to do all of them, and sometimes get to just play at planting or watering.

[Jennifer] A portion of it, mm-hmm.

[Aaron] It's what the church's job is and I think it should be what our job is.

[Jennifer] I feel like if I could summarize that whole verse, it would say, "to make Him known", you know?

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] Like, to know Him and to make Him known. That's such a big--

[Aaron] Put that down. That's a awesome thing, make Him known. I think that should definitely be in our statement because that is our life. We want our children to do that.

[Jennifer] Right.

[Aaron] We want our children to know Him.

[Jennifer] Right.

[Aaron] And then we want our children to make Him known.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] Is our desire.

[Jennifer] Okay, so we want to encourage you guys that as you do jump into experiencing this process of creating a family mission statement, to go to scripture, to see where your family values line up according to His Word, because it is foundational to how we live our lives and do what we do. This was just to give you guys a glimpse into the behind the scenes, Aaron and Jen, and how we communicate through things like this. Being able to share your vision for your family and life, being able to come up with, and create a family mission statement. It's supposed to be a unifying experience of togetherness, intimacy, understanding one another, identifying "who are we" and "what are we doing"?

[Aaron] Yeah, "Who are the Smiths?"

[Jennifer] Well, "who are they listening, who are you?" And kinda just build this missions statement to look forward to sharing it with your family.

[Aaron] Yeah, and we're not done with this. We are going to on our own, now, finish this up; but this was our getting started.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] We started it out. We're glad that you got to join us on this candid conversation of us trying to think out "who we are and what we're about".

[Jennifer] Yeah. I did want to share a couple practical things. When you do do a family mission statement, based off of what I've seen and you guys have probably seen too. Some fun ways to have this experience and share it with each other is use a whiteboard, or get some poster paper, or a pen and paper, or like we just did, use your computer, your phone, whatever it takes to make those notes. You can brain-dump and then cross stuff out as you go, but have fun with it. Also, some examples of making it visible in the home. I have some people say, "In this house", and then they list all their words.

[Aaron] So, once we're done with it we can put this up somewhere so we're always seeing, "Hey, look what we... "We're not acting the way we say we're gonna act."

[Jennifer] Exactly. Some people do the last name in bold at the top and then share the core values or the mission statement. Some people put it in a frame. Some people put it on script, on canvas. There's so many different ways that you can visibly show it in your home and the great thing about that is--

[Aaron] Tattoos, that's a really good one, right?

[Jennifer] Just tattoo it on our backs?

[Aaron] Yeah.

[Jennifer] No, but this is a great thing, like you said, to be mindful of how we operate as a family. We can even share as our kids get older, and teach them through it like, "Hey, we're the Smith's and we do hard things. "See it says it right there." So, those are just some things and we wanted to encourage you guys in that.

[Aaron] Yeah, and I hope you had fun with us, too. We had fun. We're gonna finish it up, we'll probably do it on a date night or over the next... It doesn't have to be done right away, right. It's something that we can evolve with us.

[Jennifer] It's a work in progress and so many people who have shared theirs with ours have said, "It's still a work in progress, "and you can change it and alter it as you go." Remember, you can incorporate your family, your kids and everyone to participate in it, but we did wanna challenge you guys with doing it. Even if it's just the initial go at it like we just did.

[Aaron] Start it on your next date night.

[Jennifer] Yeah.

[Aaron] That's the reason, you're like, "Oh, we have to go "do our mission statement. "Oh, we'll need a babysitter! "Let's go do this."

[Jennifer] Have fun, have fun, have fun!

[Aaron] Yeah, and then invite your kids into it also. Not on date night. Go to date night, start it, come home, invite them in afterwards, or on another day.

[Jennifer] And you guys don't need a specific set of questions to figure out. What we just did is we just said, "What are some phrases "and words that define our family, "of what we know of our family already?"

[Aaron] We just started.

[Jennifer] We just did it. Ask each other hard questions.

[Aaron] Cool, so we like to end our episodes with a prayer, and so, Jennifer, would you pray for us?

[Jennifer] Sure. Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of marriage. May we continue to walk in obedience to Your Word as we seek to fulfill Your will for our lives and our marriage. We pray, we would consider the purpose You have for our marriage and we pray we will work together to communicate what our family mission statement is. We pray we would humbly submit it before You and that it would become a pillar in our family and in our life, that reminds us what we are doing and where we are headed. May this family mission statement build up according to Your core values, be an anchor for our marriage and family, motivating us to live our lives on purpose. May the experience of considering and building our family mission statement be a time of togetherness intimacy and understanding. Thank you for the hope You give us every day. May we honor You with our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

[Aaron] Amen. So, we just want to thank every one for joining us this week and listening to this episode. I hope you had fun with us. It was a lot of fun for us, as I said earlier. But go, start a mission statement with your spouse and with your family, and see what happens. See how it focuses you. You might end up finding out that you're participating in things that don't even line up with what you guys believe as a family. That might be cool. Or you might realize that there's opportunities out there that you could be tapping into because of it. We just wanted to thank you. We look forward to having you next week, and if you have not yet went to shop.marriageaftergod,com and picked up a copy of our new book, "Marriage After God", we'd love to invite you to do so. We thank you for everything. You guys are awesome. All the reviews, all of the comments and stuff we get on our social media, and just all the listens. You guys listening to these podcasts, we just so appreciate you guys. We look forward to having you next week. See you later. Did you enjoy today's show? If you did, it would mean the world to us if you could leave us a review on iTunes, also, if you're interested, you can find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com, and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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