Painting The Picture

There’s a new year approaching with new opportunity, and new challenges. Take some time to think about what got you where you are, and plan to get yourself to where you want to be. We hope you enjoy this post on one of several ways we were able to push through some of our tougher times by planning ahead…most times without even knowing it.
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It seems like it was just yesterday that I snuck out of my noisy house, got into the back of my dads truck, and had what felt like the longest conversation of my life. It was new years eve, and I was on the phone with the only person that I actually wanted to be next to…but she wasn’t there. Every year at my fathers house, we used to throw the biggest New Years’ parties.  Everyone from my direct and extended families would come to drink away the old year and cry as we all hugged and kissed each other at the turning of the clock into the new. But this year, I wasn’t a part of that mix. I was outside glued to a phone dealing with what some of my family probably thought was just some teenage problem but to me, it meant the world. I don’t remember the details of the conversation.  I only remember feeling sick to my stomach, knowing that for ever word that came out of my mouth, I would push her away more and more. I thought that we’d be done after that night. Not sure why, but I just did. That, of course, is not the case.

As I sit here enjoying a warm cup of coffee, sitting next to that same little lady that who had me so worried then, I laugh as I reminisce – I knew I had something special. It has been twelve years since that night! Some years were spent together, others were spent thousands of miles apart. But the one thing that never changed is that no matter how stressful, ugly, or even helpless that things may have gotten, there has always been something greater that kept our connection from breaking.

We have spent years attending marriage seminars, reading books, and observing other successful couples that we’d look up to. But there was something that we did unknowingly that I learned was key to our success as a couple. In fact, I even remember the conversation, where it happened, and what I was wearing.

Not yet being married by the church, I knew that this was something that would have to happen sooner or later. I was only nineteen years old. I remember sitting in the wooden phone booth, staring away at all of the crude graffiti scratched in by pens and knives of Soldiers far away from their homes. The Iraq heat had me dripping in sweat, and it was probably 0200 in the morning. I had to wait until the middle of the night to make sure my wife was awake, and able to talk. I was staring into space because I was thinking about a dream I had the night before. It was about our big church wedding. In great detail, I described to her what I saw, what we were wearing, and even what music was playing in the background. We spent the rest of that conversation playing with the details of our dream wedding. It was so elaborate, that I would dream about it multiple times throughout the rest of that twelve month deployment. It wasn’t until two years later, while on R&R from another deployment, that what we had thought up would actually come true. Though not down to the exact detail, the gist of it was there, we had made it long enough to exchange vows in front of the people who we loved.

“If you don’t paint the picture of your goals in great detail, you will not be able to create the roadmap to success.”

This would happen again several times throughout our relationship. As we approached our eight year anniversary, I remember the evening being overshadowed by the thought of planning our tenth year anniversary celebration. I remember it involving a cruise, a lot of money, and the beach. NONE OF THIS HAPPENED! However, what this did do, is carry us on over that hump. We did exactly what I teach people now when I cover goal setting, and that’s painting the picture.

I often tell people, “If you don’t paint the picture of your goals in great detail, you will not be able to create the roadmap to success.” This practice is something that I feel is greatly responsible for all of our years together as a couple. In a couple of days, as we watch this year reach its completion, we will welcome the next and many more as we paint the picture of our next milestone. Perhaps it’s 15 years, maybe 20, or maybe we’ll stretch it out further. The point is, as long as we plan for a big future, the small things that happen day to day will not be such a big deal.

Make the effort, do your part. Fight to make your family better.
Fight on Friends! – The Warrior Family


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