21 Relationship Goals: What Couples Use to Grow Their Love
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Whether you are in the early stages of dating… engaged… newlyweds… or been married for 25 years… you are likely thinking about the future.
A future alongside someone you love.
Someone who shares similar interests, dreams, beliefs, desires, hopes and fears.
But a relationship is only as good the communication it is based on.
External beauty will fade.
Situations will change.
Relationship goals for couples should not.
Sidebar: If you'd like to learn additional strategies to enhance your relationship, then I suggest checking out this book, which has 25 habits to build a deeper connection with your loved one.
Discussing and establishing these relationship goals early on is key if you want the relationship to last.
While it is true that couples should strive for compromise, it may not always work in their favor.
If you are too eager to give up on something you truly believe in or want, you will eventually breed some level of resentment for your partner.
Maybe not today.
Maybe not tomorrow.
But you will.
And it will likely escalate into something worse.
No relationship is worth you pretending to be someone you’re not.
It will end badly.
95% of the time, it will end badly.
There are few things worse than waking up one morning, only to find out that the person you’ve committed your time and love to has been harboring animosity.
Animosity over something you thought you were on the same page about.
How could this happen?
Could it have been prevented?
The answer is yes.
By establishing relationships goals for couples, early on, you can prevent unpleasant surprises and heartache later in life.
What are Relationship Goals?
A quick definition: A relationship goal is a mutual value, outcome or viewpoint that you share with your partner. Instead of individual goals, you can use a relationship goal to inspire relationship and create something that you BOTH look forward to experiencing. Not only does it enhance your relationship, it also gives you something to talk and dream about.
If you're interested in developing a few of these goals with your partner, then here is a list of 21 ideas with examples you can use...
Goal #1: Understand Each Other’s Belief System
No two people are raised the same way.
Church on Sunday.
Husband works, wife stays home with kids.
The working mom.
The stay at home dad.
The single parent.
The gay couple.
A big family.
The two mom (or two dad) family.
Blue collar family in a middle class neighborhood.
Harvard educated CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, with the big house and fancy car.
Vote in every election.
Relationships are all about finding that special someone who “gets you”... and building a life with that person.
For instance, if you are a bleeding heart liberal and your potential mate is a staunch republican, how do you think this will play out?
Especially when and if the time comes for you to have children.
Maybe one of those children turns out to be gay?
Maybe one of them wishes to serve their country in the armed forces?
Maybe one of them falls in love with someone of another race or religion?
Your beliefs will play a crucial role in how you raise children.
And the best thing you can do as a parent, besides love your children unconditionally, is to be on the same page with your spouse when it comes to guiding and supporting them through life.
After all, we grown-ups don’t like mixed signals… do you think a child does?
When I think about setting relationship goals for couples, discussing your beliefs is right at the top.
In some cases, couples with different beliefs can live in harmony.
But in most cases, it gets old fast. Especially when the day comes to put those beliefs to the test.
It’s often better to respectfully agree to disagree… and walk away.
Before someone gets hurt.
Goal #2: Decide on Kids or No Kids
This is a biggy.
The mac daddy of relationship goals for couples, if you will.
We live in a society where it is often assumed, expected even, that all married couples want children.
Not all couples want children.
And if they are in utter and total agreement on that before they decide to pursue a relationship with each other… that is fantastic!
May they stand fast together on a united front when asked the question.
And they will be asked.
“When are you two having kids?”
Family will ask.
Co-workers will ask.
Friends will ask.
Strangers will ask.
But here’s the truth.
Not all couples are being honest with each other, or themselves, when the discussion first comes up.
Perhaps that is unintentional.
Perhaps they think the other person is worth changing their mind for.
Maybe you feel guilty because this woman is perfect for you in every single way… except for the fact that she wants two kids.
Why are we willing to make exceptions, especially so early on in a relationship.
Are our own feelings not valid?
I mean, maybe you never really thought about having kids.
You like your freedom.
You want to take your wife kayaking and to concerts on the weekends… not to pee wee soccer games and dance recitals.
There is nothing wrong with that.
But trying to convince yourself that you’re okay without that… well, that is wrong.
You will only hurt her in the long run.
When you’re married three years and you just can’t seem to give in.
You deny her children, when she has always been upfront about wanting them.
And now she denies you affection.
It’s a top reason for divorce.
The inability or refusal to give another person the children they want rarely ends well.
If you want children and your potential mate does not… cut your losses and move on.
Goal #3: To Wed or Not to Wed… That is the Question
Many people live happy, fulfilling, committed lives with another person… without ever being married.
There’s even a term for it... common law marriage, which is recognized in a number of states in the US.
That’s how common it is.
People living together for a certain number of years are entitled to tax breaks, shared health benefits and other perks… same as a traditional married couple would be.
In states where the law is not recognized, it is not uncommon for people to get married in order to take advantage of those same benefits.
For some couples, this is after dating for many years.
Marriage is not always about the storybook romance…
Sometimes it’s about finances.
It’s a practical decision, rather than an emotional one, for some people.
Conversely, there are people who choose to never marry because they simply enjoy the essence of maintaining their freedom… even while in the throws of a loving, committed relationship.
It’s personal choice, but one you and your potential mate should definitely talk about early on.
Goal #4: Bringing Home the Bacon… And How to Spend It
They say that money changes everything.
And when you find yourself going from being single, to being a cohabiting couple, there are many questions that come up.
Questions such as:
Should we open a joint checking account?
Who is going to pay for what?
Will we be a one or two income household?
It’s always a good idea early on to educate yourself with practicing good money habits.
You don’t want to live so far above your means, that you find yourself getting into trouble later on... which can be a big stressor on a relationship.
Putting money aside is always a good idea. And a “rainy day” fund should be factored into your monthly budget.
Whether you are disciplined enough for a debit/credit card lifestyle, or you prefer a tangible cash method, you need to prioritize your finances with your significant other.
Not to say this has to be all work and no play... budgeting in some fun (trips, sporting events, date night, etc...) is perfectly acceptable.
A joint checking account cements your financial commitment to one another… and is a good idea.
Transparency is all the rage… in case you haven’t heard.
But having an account of your own for things like gifts, surprises, a pampering spa treatment… that is a good idea as well.
Especially if you decide that one partner is to stay home with the kids, while the other works outside the home.
I have witnessed many arguments among my parents friends about this.
Ones in which the husband (typically) makes his wife feel as if she needs to ask permission to buy a new pair of shoes because it’s technically “his” money.
Well, I have news for you… it’s not.
Sadly, the cost of living today has made staying at home with children more about saving money than about wanting to raise them.
Of course, that is a bonus!
And I by no means am implicating that most parents wouldn’t want to be home with their kids.
But nothing comes free, or cheap.
Daycare is a fortune.
My friends tell me.
I’ve looked into it.
I stay at home.
My husband and I ran the numbers for 3 children in daycare at one time, versus the income I would generate outside the home.
For us, my staying home made sense.
And I love it.
But it is work.
And your partner needs to view it as such… like when you feel you need to “ask” for those shoes.
I guarantee that after just one day in your stay-at-home parents shoes… he (or she) will be trying to give you a raise!
Or at least a matching clutch for those shoes.
Goal #5: Deciding Where to Put Down Roots
Deciding where you want to live is a big deal! Especially when someone else is coming along for the ride.
It’s no longer just about you.
If you’re in a relationship, it’s about proximity to work, access to restaurants or nightlife, ease of transportation, good schools, land, and square footage.
It all comes into play.
And it has to work for the both of you.
Many factors will come into play here, like:
- Your age
- Your current job situation
- Your social circle
- Whether or not you plan to raise kids
- Your finances
- Resale Value or Rental Income Potential
To name a few.
You need to hash these things out, do your research… and then be ready to take the plunge.
Goal #6: Set Fitness & Health Goals
When you’re in a relationship, you’re often thinking… acting… exercising… even eating, for two.
You now have another person who depends on you.
Depends on you to be there.
Depends on you to support them.
Depends on you to dream with them.
From now on, every decision you make will affect that person. And he, or she, has to be okay with it.
That is why being the healthiest version of yourself is so important.
In some ways, it’s everything.
Because if you aren’t well, you run the risk of losing everything.
I’ve seen people lose their livelihood, their jobs, their loved ones… all because of poor health decisions.
Sure, we can’t always control the things that happen to us.
Healthy people have been known to get cancer.
But you can do your part by leading a clean lifestyle... give yourself a fighting chance.
Whether that means committing to an exercise routine you can stick with (walking and biking are excellent starts).
Or eating better.
There are meal delivery services that will deliver healthy, prepackaged meals right to your door… so there really are no excuses for take out.
Well, none other than you had a craving for Thai one night.
It’s ok. Your secret is safe with me.
Or you can make a date night of sitting down to create an exercise and meal plan for the week.
Or you can print recipes and shopping lists right from your inbox… and make simple meals from scratch.
At the end of the day… whether you need to lose weight, or your partner has high cholesterol, if you support each other on the road to fitness… you’ll be prepared for whatever lies on the road ahead.
Goal #7: Create a Bucket List
There may be times in a relationship when you feel as if you’ve lost, or sacrificed, a part of who you are.
Who you were...
Do not feel ashamed.
It happens to most of us.
I’ve been there.
My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years… and have four children ages 8, 6, 4, and 3-years-old.
And while we were on the same page from Day 1 regarding wanting three or more children… there are days when we look back on the time before.
Not with regret… never with regret… but with a sense of awe.
How did we get here?
Where has the time gone?
When is the last time we went to a concert alone together?
Or just threw a duffle bag and tent in the trunk of our car on a Saturday morning and drove… with no particular place to go.
Those things aren’t possible now without quite a bit of planning.
Planning kills spontaneity, but it also opens the door to new adventures.
Sure, we have our days when the kids test our limits.
When they leave us frazzled and exhausted…
Where’s the wine?
Got anything stronger?
But we also can’t picture ourselves anywhere else. They have made us who we are today.
And where we are today is in a place where we can dream.
Dream about our bucket list of adventures we will take.
Some with the kids… some without.
But we will see those pyramids...
Climb that peak…
Go on that South African safari...
Cage dive with sharks...
Dreaming together keeps you focused on not only where you are, but where you want to go.
Goal #8: Talk to One Another
I cannot stress enough the importance of communication.
Talking to one another is crucial to maintaining a happy, honest and lasting relationship.
We all get busy.
And our days have a tendency to fly by.
But you need to make time to check in with your partner on a daily basis.
Put it on your calendar, if you have to.
Whatever it takes.
If you don’t make time to talk to one another, you’ll never know what’s going on… good or bad.
Your loved one wants you to feel happy for them, take pride, when something positive happens in their life. Even small victories deserve a celebration (or high five, at least).
As for the bad things… well, if you don’t nip them in the bud early on… they can spiral into something worse.
That leads to no good.
No couple wants that.
Even if it’s for ten minutes every night.
You’ll be glad you did.
Goal #9: Get On the Same Page with Discipline
“But dad said I could go to the party!”
“Mom said I could stay up late!”
“What do you mean I can’t go to the movie with my friends?”
Ah… the joyful sounds of kids playing both sides.
Dad said no, ask mom.
Mom said no, ask dad.
It’s a game kids play early on… and it only gets worse.
The sooner you and your partner get on the same page with disciple, the less power your children will have over you.
The less likely you’ll be to “give in”.
Sure, it’s easy to cave and let them watch tv for 1 hour when you just want a moment’s peace after a long day.
But that is a mistake.
They will take advantage.
Instead, when your children warrant discipline, send them to their rooms for a few minutes while you and yours take that time to discuss things.
Discuss how you want to handle it.
Maybe you need more time.
Let your kids know that.
Let them know a punishment is coming.
Let them sweat a bit.
Let your kids know that you are a unified front when it comes to discipline... and that you’ll decide together what is appropriate.
Goal #10: Schedule Regular Date Nights
There is a common theme among all of the suggested relationship goals for couples… and that is communication.
And sometimes the best way to communicate in on a date.
Yes, a date.
Make it happen.
Whether it is once a week, or once per month, date nights are a fantastic way to escape the day-to-day muckety muck that can build up in your relationship.
Yes, I said muckety muck.
It’s a chance to take a breath and remember who you are… and that you are stronger together.
You’ve got this!
Goal #11: Join a Couples Activity, Group, Class, etc.
So besides setting aside a date night, why not consider spicing things up by signing up for a yoga class... volunteer group… acting workshop… co-ed softball league?
Whatever floats your boat.
Engaging in an activity together brings something to the relationship that you can both relate to.
And that means more conversations.
Goal #12: Establish Some Personal Space
When you are head over heels in love with someone… it’s natural to want to spend as much time with them as possible.
I mean, you like them.
Love them, even.
This is good.
But is it healthy?
To some degree, yes.
After all, if you live with someone, I would certainly hope that you enjoy being around them.
Conversely, if you were to ask most couples, they would admit to enjoying the occasional time alone as well.
Or with friends.
Time to just read a book.
Go for a run.
Venture out to happy hour.
Golf a few holes.
Go to a movie.
Sit in the man (or woman) cave and binge watch the game.
It doesn’t mean your partner is growing tired of you.
It simply means they want to recharge... so that they can return to their regularly scheduled program a little bit more relaxed and appreciative of what they have.
And what they have is you!
Goal #13: Don’t Make Excuses
I hate excuses.
It’s not even a fun word to say.
If you are in a relationship, and you promise your partner something… word is bond.
Your word is everything when it comes to trust.
Just as some of you promised to have and to hold… in good times and bad.
If you promise you’ll be home early to catch your son’s ball game, or take your wife to see that movie on opening night… you better be there.
There is no good excuse for letting down loved ones.
Broken promises breed unhappiness.
Unhappiness leads to resentment.
Always be upfront and your relationship will be the better for it.
Goal #14: Never Go to Bed Angry
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before.
And I’m sure that if you’re in a serious relationship, you’ve been guilty of this… at least once.
Haven’t we all?
Not all relationship goals for couples are rocket science.
Obviously, if you are going to bed angry… that means you’re either:
- Keeping your feelings hidden (aka, holding them hostage from your partner)
- Refusing to talk about your feelings (for fear of opening a can of worms)
- Afraid to argue (because you’re just too tired)
All I can say to that is…
To the first point, if you’re mad and your partner has no idea why… that’s just unfair. Every person deserves the chance to explain their side, defend themselves if necessary.
Next, if you’re refusing to talk with your partner after he or she voiced some discontent… you’re closing the lines of communication.
Which, say it with me now, is the cornerstone of a good relationship!
Do not walk away. Hear them out. State your case.
Finally, if you’re afraid that the discussion will escalate into a marathon argument… deal with it. You can sleep when you’re dead.
Yes, I went there.
After all, we’ve all stayed up late having drinks with friends or binge watching Netflix… I’m pretty sure it’s only fair to do the same for the person you love.
Who is trying to get something off their chest.
You may need an extra cup of coffee in the morning… but you won’t have this looming over your head unnecessarily all day long.
And your mood will thank you for it.
Goal #15: Partner vs. Family... Choose Wisely
Your parents want you and your significant other to spend Thanksgiving at their house.
Your future in-laws wants the same.
More often than not, the male partner will succumb to his fiance’s wishes.
And when that does happen, in some cases, his parents may become resentful of the fiance.
Maybe they even say something caddy about her that upsets you, like “she’s controlling”.
This example is fairly minor as far as incidents go... yet as we all know, there will likely come a time (or two, or three) in our relationship where the bond between family and partner is put to the test.
Maybe it is about where you spend holidays.
Maybe it’s the job you choose.
Maybe it’s where you choose to live.
Maybe it’s how you want to raise your children.
Maybe it’s who gets to babysit more.
But as stressful as it is, you can’t possibly choose.
You shouldn’t choose (unless of course you’re in a self-destructive or dangerous relationship).
If you are happy and confident in your relationship with your lover… nothing should make you question that. Or the decisions you make together.
As long as the two of you have each other’s best interest at heart, you’ll land on your feet. And that is all the support you need.
Family is family.
Guilt trip or not, they will always love you.
Goal #16: Steer Clear of Words like “Always” and “Never”
So when you fight with your partner… and you will… be very careful to stay away from the relationship drainers.
What are relationship drainers, you ask?
In layman's terms, it’s basically the behaviors and words one may use to negatively impact or strain the relationship.
When you fight, using words like “always” and “never” is not only typically untrue… but it makes your partner feel awful about themselves.
It’s a drainer.
And then they question themselves.
Once they do that, they may start to question you.
But at that point, you may have just crossed a line of negativity you can’t come back from.
Being positive is one of the best ways to keep a relationship going strong.
Goal #17: Fight Constructively
As hard as it is… especially when you’re in the throws of a good ol’ fashioned argument, you need to try and fight constructively.
What I mean by that is this…
Don’t just blast them with hurtful words and negativity.
Instead, try and also compliment them.
Wait. Hear me out. It’s possible.
For instance, if you’re fighting about the late hours your spouse puts in at the office… be sure to include the fact that you love their work ethic.
And how much you appreciate that he or she wants to contribute financially to the family.
Then also tell them that you feel overwhelmed running the kids around to all of their different activities… and could use a break now and again.
It’s not that hard.
Goal #18: Always Be Thinking for Two
Before you say yes to your buddies about that ski trip…
Or yes to the girls about a wine tasting weekend…
Remember that it’s not just about you getting away for some R&R… but it’s also about your partner having to take on the household duties solo.
Many times, it’s the married people with children that quarrel the most about this.
Like when a wife is running the kids around all week long... but her husband wants the weekend off to go golfing.
Or a husband has put in an 80-hour work week... and his wife decides to treat herself to the local spa with her sister overnight so he’s on soccer duty in the morning.
Everyone deserves a break.
A quick escape.
But what your partner doesn’t deserve is to not be consulted with first.
That’s how relationship works.
I mean, you wouldn’t buy a new car without running it by your husband.
You can’t just skip town either.
Common sense, people.
Goal #19: Compliment Each Other Daily
One of the easiest relationship goals for couples to execute is to compliment each other.
I mean, you like each other… so this should not be too hard.
What can be hard, however, is making sure you stop whatever it is that you are doing in order to pay the love of your life a heartfelt compliment.
When life gets busy, the two of you may find yourselves like passing ships in the night.
If you’re running around in circles some days, with barely a chance to speak two words to each other, it’s crucial to hit the pause button. It can be as simple as:
- Saying heartfelt good morning messages
- Grabbing your spouse’s hand in the kitchen and saying, “You look nice today”
- Leaving a note in their Bento box
- Sending a text
- Whispering in their ear before bed
- Giving them a quick call at work, or leaving a voicemail
- It doesn’t take much to make each other happy.
And letting each other know that they are still a point of focus and interest in your life will help to keep the spark alive… not matter how busy you get.
Goal #20: Try Something New
Relationships, like anything else, can grow stale after a while.
We all hit our walls.
It doesn’t mean you want out, or that you don’t love each other, it simply means you need to mix things up a bit.
And as far as relationship goals for couples go… this is a pretty easy one.
The best way to mix it up is to try something new.
Together, or apart… it doesn’t really matter.
But find something that interests you.
That scares you a little.
Go outside of your comfort zone to find something that incites passion in you… other than your partner.
Whatever you decide, I promise you this: you will come home feeling a renewed sense of purpose and that will cause your significant other to see you in a new light.
Which is kinda sexy.
Goal #21: View the Positives & Count Your Blessings
All relationships have their ups and downs.
Those times that really try us.
Wear on us.
And it is easy to sit back and feel sorry for yourself when things aren’t going as planned.
But at the end of the day, there is always a silver lining if you look hard enough.
So make it a point every day to start off listing all of the positives in your life. The things you are grateful for.
Take a few minutes before you get out of bed in the morning (or before falling asleep at night) to focus on all that you have… rather than all that you want or wish you had.
Trust me, you’ll start to see the world, and your relationship, differently.
Full of possibility.
And what a beautiful thing that can be!
Final Thoughts on Relationship Goals for Couples
Every relationship, like every person, is not the same.
They are unique.
They require care and attention.
They have good days… and bad.
Some days they are easy.
Some days they are hard.
But if you set goals for the relationship early on… and make it a point to stick by those goals… you are never alone.
Remember that you are stronger together.
Think of relationship goals for couples as a road map.
A road map for navigating through life with someone amazing and supportive by your side.
Someone who makes you better.
Always keep talking.
It all boils down to that.
Love for yourself allows you to love another.
And the love of another is one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive.
Finally, if you'd like to learn additional strategies to enhance your relationship, then I suggest checking out this book, which has 25 habits to build a deeper connection with your loved one.