Jan 31, 2020
On this episode of The SavvyCast, my husband Zane shares how SWOT can be a useful tool for improving marriage and other important relationships.
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and the SWOT model is used in most businesses. The concept can also be applied to other entities as well, such as marriage, a business partnership, a friendship and more. The model below shows the 4 elements of SWOT.
Follow the steps below with your spouse, and be honest in your answers. When you share weaknesses, it is wise to share YOUR weaknesses in the marriage and let your spouse share his/hers. Remember that the weaknesses you are zeroing in on are the ones that directly affect your marriage.
Strengths are internal, positive attributes of your marriage. These are things that are within your control and that you and your spouse can build upon to make a strong marriage even stronger. Below are a few things that Zane and I consider strengths in our marriage. You and your spouse might have similar strengths or very different ones. This is where using SWOT is so helpful. Some questions below will help you discover specific strengths in your relationship.
Here are some of the strengths that Zane and I found in our marriage: a shared spiritual world view (Christian faith); mutual desire for personal growth; ability to use humor in conflict; mutually goal oriented and focused,; both love marriage growth and marriage ministry; mutual love of entertaining; enjoy conversation; shared philosophy of money; similar parenting philosophy. Different enneagram types (3 and 8) are helpful in building couple relationships and setting boundaries.
Weaknesses are negative factors that detract from or weaken the marriage. The weaknesses that each person brings to the marriage must first be recognized and then improved. Here are some questions to help each person discover weaknesses that he or she brings to the relationship.
Zane and I listed as some of our weaknesses: we are both driven by distractions; we are both very independent; we have different temperaments and communication styles; we have different love languages; we have different enneagram types that make for some difficulties too deep to explain here.
Opportunities are external factors in your marriage that can make the relationship better or stronger. Opportunities are often ushered in during new seasons of life or transitions in work.
Zane and I have opportunities with a soon to be empty nest. We will have more time to minister together and nurture positive relationships and couple friendships. We will also have more time to focus on each other and start a hobby together. Zane will be more involved with my business goals, and I will also start traveling more with him.
Threats are external factors that can tear your marriage down or break it apart. Recognizing the threats will help us all protect our marriages and set boundaries in place. Here are some questions to ask to help identify potential threats.
A few threats that Zane and I found in our marriage revolved around independent pursuits, not traveling together, and letting busyness and distraction make us both susceptible to outside temptation.
Once you use SWOT to assess your marriage in all 4 areas, verbalize to one another your action plan. Each of you will speak out loud to the other specific ways YOU will change or contribute to make the marriage better. Verbalizing these makes it more real, and writing them done solidifies them even more.
Some examples of plans of action might be the following:
There are many more ways we can verbalize a plan of action. Just remember that your plan of action is what YOU plan to do, so you will use "I will......." statements.
This SWOT assessment can be used in any other important relationship. Just go through the steps and plug in the relationship you are working in. Instead of marriage, it might be child. Parent. Business partner. Friend. Etc....
If you use SWOT in any of these ways, we would love to hear back from you! If you will share your thoughts, experiences or feedback in the comments below, we can all see how this works in real relationships. Relationships are hard, and they take work. But they are worth it. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!