Creating A Vision Statement For Your Marriage

This is a guest post by Steve Andrus.  Steven is the Marriage and Family Pastor at Woodlawn Church ( in Columbia, MS and a National Certified Counselor by the National Board of Certified Counselors. To learn more about Steve please visit his website. You can also follow him on Twitter.

I thought I would pass out. Things began to get blurry and a trickle of sweat ran down my face. Our third minister had just said some nice things about us and we still had one to go. I lost count of the number of songs but it felt like a Kenny G and Michael Bolton concert. We were married in the 90’s.

Creating A Vision Statement (4)

It was time to recite our vows and I wasn’t sure I would be able to get the words out. My mouth was dry and my knees felt weak. I wish I could say it was because I was so in love with the girl holding my sweaty hands. It had more to do with our marathon ceremony. I’m sure we broke some sort of record.

I can’t remember our vows. They were probably traditional. Apparently they worked because Kristen is still around.

Wedding vows can be the most stressful part of the ceremony. Some couples choose to write their own. I’ve always thought that was a huge risk. Romantic, but risky. Remembering the ring is enough to overwhelm the average groom. Asking him to write and recite his own vows can be catastrophic.

Wedding vows are like a verbal contract and the internet is replete with vows gone viral…grooms passing out…brides tripping over their dress. Maybe it’s the fear of commitment. Or maybe we hold our breath hoping the air in our lungs will keep us upright.

Whatever it is, marriage ceremonies tend to get interesting at the vows.

One thing I’ve never seen is a couple reading or reciting a marriage vision statement. That’s usually how corporations, churches, and other organizations begin. They need a statement to keep them on track.

While a vision statement doesn’t sound romantic it can be an important factor in having a healthy marriage. Maybe this is why so many marriages get off course. They hit walls or tough times and lack a plan. A vision statement can get you pointed back in the right direction.

Here are three components to assist you in writing a vision statement for your marriage:

  1. Values.

Identify three to five personal core values. You can discover your values by asking questions like…

What role does spirituality play in your marriage? How will you discipline your children? What family traditions are important to you? Are you committed to making your marriage last even if it involves marriage counseling?

  1. Goals.

Clarify your personal, couple, and family goals for one to five years. Your goals should be realistic and clear. Some goals might include becoming debt free, having a child, or children, within a certain amount of time, buying a home, dating once a week, etc.

  1. Words.

If I were to ask you to describe your relationship today in one word, what would it be? What about one year from now? Who do you hope to be as a couple in ten or twenty years?

If a word, or words, doesn’t come to mind quickly it may be that you need to nurture your intimate knowledge of each other.  Click here for more info on creating intimacy in marriage.

I recently began mountain biking. It’s much different than road cycling, which I’ve done for a few years now. To road cycle you pretty much get on and pedal. It’s rare that a tree leaps out of nowhere and attempts to dismount you. That happens often mountain biking.

There’s one hill on some local trails that I have trouble climbing. It’s steep and the gravel is loose. I’m learning that climbing a hill requires just the right amount of balance. Too much weight in the front and your back tire loses traction. Too much in the back and your front tire comes off the ground.

One of the most vital elements of a good climb is momentum. If you lose it, you will go down. And once lost, it’s difficult to regain.

Writing a vision statement for your marriage can help you maintain forward momentum. It doesn’t take a lot of time and can keep you moving in the right direction.

There are plenty of things that will try to knock your marriage off balance, but keep moving forward. Create momentum.

Thanks for reading. I know your time is valuable. If you found this post helpful please like or share it via the links above.


Meet Steve Andrus

Steven is the Marriage and Family Pastor at Woodlawn Church ( in Columbia, MS and a National Certified Counselor by the National Board of Certified Counselors.

He is passionate about helping individuals, couples, and families rediscover hope through the counseling process. He obtained his Masters Degree in Marriage & Family Counseling from Mississippi College and continues his professional education by attending workshops and seminars on subjects such as trauma, parenting, couples therapy, grief, depression, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

From 2006 to 2008 he and his family served as missionaries in West Africa. He makes regular trips overseas speaking on leadership, emotional health, and spiritual growth. His experiences overseas have provided him with a broad worldview and allows him to counsel with various cultures and nationalities.

Steven speaks on marriage and family issues weekly and is available for workshops, conferences, and seminars. He and his wife Kristen enjoy speaking at marriage retreats and offer a fun and informative format.

His office is located in Columbia, MS and he is also available for counseling nationally and internationally via Skype and FaceTime.

Steven lives with his wife Kristen and their two children in Columbia, MS.


Last week I wrote a post about a special need ThumbUp Foundation was getting involved in concerning a young man that recently lost his left arm in a tragic accident. I wanted to give a quick shout out to those that have already contributed to help Saydou secure the prosthetic that he is in need of. If you haven’t read the story about Saydou and how he came to lose his arm, please read this post. Thank you for your willingness to partner with ThumbUp Foundation to make this a possibility.  If you would still like to contribute you can do so by sending your donation to:

ThumbUp Foundation

PO Box 300160

Escondido, CA. 92030

Please make the check payable to ThumbUp Foundation (Memo: Saydou)  If you have any questions you may call ThumbUp Foundation at #442-777-3192.

Here is a picture of Saydou before he had the accident that took his left arm.  As you can see this kid is full of life.  Let’s be a part of making that smile stay on his face.  Thanks again for your willingness to help.

Saydou 3



As many of you know we are actively working to get the foundation, ThumbUp Foundation Inc. up and running at full strength. Each day I am reminded of the need of reaching others that have conditions similar to what I was born with which is Amniotic Band Syndrome. However, ThumbUp Foundation desires to reach far beyond just those born with this condition and help those that are dealing with different disabilities of all kinds.

Sometime last year I was contact by a pastor friend of mine Rev. Stan Gleason​ who told me of a missionary couple out of his church who serve in the country of Burkina Faso. Their names are Ken & Ginny Cantrell​ and they are wonderful people. Along with their missions work in Burkina Faso they also oversee a non-profit called Sheltering Wings.  There is an interesting story that I will save for another time about their connection to Escondido but there is something I want to bring to your attention now.

The Cantrell’s came in contact with a young boy they were working with in their country who had a bad accident and as a result lost his left arm. His name is Saydou and his picture is below. Saydou is currently residing in an orphanage in his country.  The Cantell’s are attempting to currently raise funds to secure Saydou a prosthetic and I wanted ThumbUp Foundation to be a part of this endeavor.  This boys story has touched my heart and I believe we could provide the necessary funds to pay for the prosthetic Saydou is in need of, so ThumbUp will be partnering with Sheltering Wings to make this happen.

Here is what I am asking you to consider –

If you could help in any way at all please send the funds to:


ThumbUp Foundation Inc
PO BOX 300160
Escondido, CA 92030



I appreciate each of you considering helping Saydou!!  Let’s make this happen for him.

If you need any other information please do not hesitate to contact me @

Thanks so much.


PS. Here is a picture of Saydou:



Focus On Direction

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. – Dr. Seuss


Most people I have met spend more time planning their summer vacation, than they spend planning their life. Instead of living by design, many people end up living by default. Their lives become nothing more than reacting to what is thrown at them, instead of creating a plan and setting the direction of their life. You must understand that what is in your past is not your destiny. It is what is in front of you, the direction you are moving in, and your potential that really matter.

Our family loves road trips. In fact, a few summers ago we traveled over 4,000 miles and drove through five different states. It was a blast, even with the kids constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” It was totally worth it.

However, on one particular day of our travels, I didn’t pay attention to the signs as we pulled into a small little town in Idaho and, as a result, we ended up going 150 miles in the wrong direction. Of course this was a little frustrating when I finally discovered my mistake, but it reminded me of a valuable lesson: If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to PAY ATTENTION! The journey called life demands your attention.

There are two groups of people I have come across in this world: those who are reactive and those who are proactive. People who are REACTIVE just live their lives responding to the circumstances that life brings their way. The majority of people who are reactive just exist! They never seem to accomplish much because they spend the majority of their time and energy reacting to circumstances instead of trying to do something about what happens before things go crazy.

But then you have those people who are PROACTIVE! They seem to always be ahead of the curve; they shape the future instead of the future shaping them. These people are adaptive and visionary. The proactive group seems to see what is coming before it ever shows up. Not much surprises them because they spend the majority of their lives crafting the right direction for their lives to take.

Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players of all time, once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” This is how you should approach your life as well.

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

A great example of someone in our lifetime that has been proactive is Steve Jobs. If you haven’t read the biography of Jobs written by Walter Isaacson, you owe it to yourself to get it. People like Jobs and Bill Gates and others seem to have the ability to forecast the future and start turning long before the curve in the road.

I challenge you to quit living life defensively and start living life on the offense. Go after what you want! Set the trajectory of your life in the direction that you feel you should go and just go for it! Eventually, you are going to get there and when you do – it will be worth it!

Oh, by the way – if you haven’t read the Dr. Seuss book I quoted from at the beginning of this section on direction, go buy it right now. It is called, “Oh The Places You Go.” I promise that you will enjoy it.

PS: This post is an excerpt taken from my book; “The HandBook: Five Forces To Form Your Future.”  If you would like to read more make sure to get yourself a copy by clicking HERE.

The Big #16

It doesn’t seem possible that my girl is 16 today.  Last Friday we celebrated and had the big Sweet 16 party and it was a blast.  But today is officially her birthday and I couldn’t help but think of the blessing this young lady has been in our lives.  It also got me to thinking about the fact that she will be driving soon!  YIKES!!!!!!


Seems as if it was yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital.  That little bundle of joy that was so dependent on us as parents has grown into a beautiful, strong, talented and gifted young lady.  I know I am speaking as her dad so this will be somewhat biased but I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming.  Not a day goes by that I am not blown away by her commitment to God and her passion for life.

So today I celebrate you Ashton!  I wish I could freeze time and keep us locked in this space for awhile, just so we could enjoy more of these moments that life brings our way.  There is so many things I am proud of but one thing stands out above them all – it is your love for God!  Your mom and I have watched you grow in your talents and dedicate those talents to God.  Nothing is more important.  Keep that constant in your life and God will do amazing things with you and for you.  You are a beautiful young lady, inside and out.  Happy birthday sweetheart!!!  You are truly amazing.

I love you,


ThumbUp Foundation

I am super excited to announce that our non-profit, ThumbUp Foundation is currently active and operational!  Having been born affected by a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, that kept my left arm from growing fully, I feel the need to help others that are dealing with children born this way.

Amniotic Band Syndrome is a condition that occurs when the fetus becomes entangled in fibrous string-like amniotic bands in the womb, restricting blood flow and affecting the baby’s development.  This is often found in babies born missing limbs or digits.  ABS affects 1 in 1,200 births each year.

I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with a very strong support system throughout my life. My family and friends have helped me in so many ways and now I want to give others the opportunity to have similar support.  The purpose of this foundation is to provide resources to families dealing with children born affected by ABS.  ThumbUp Foundation will not only provide this type of support system for families across the nation, but will also be strategic in planting ThumbUp Centers in US cities for children and teens dealing with disabilities providing a place where they can be mentored, learn life skills and effective communication, along with identity reinforcement.  This is going to require a lot of energy, insight, favor and finances in order to see this dream become a reality.

Below you will find a few of the mockups we are currently considering for our identity logo along with several needs as we begin this foundation.  If you or anyone you know is willing to help in any way please do not hesitate to contact us.  You can email us at and a member of our team will get back to you ASAP.

Thanks so much for your interest and we look forward to letting you know more about ThumbUp and what it will be providing.  Keep checking in for updates and opportunities to get involved.



ThumbUp Foundation Implementation Needs:

  • Website Development
  • Grant Writing
  • Non-Profit Funding
  • Crowd Source Funding Knowledge
  • Operational Management
  • Writers/Editors/Graphic Design
  • Social Media Director