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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 change. But 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?
Yes. The answer is yes.
By establishing relationships goals for couples, early on, you can prevent unpleasant surprises and heartache later in life. In this article, we will talk about 31 simple relationship goals you can use to enhance the quality of the partnership that you share with your significant other.
Let's get to it…
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…
RELATED: 21 Examples of SMART Goals
Want to set goals you can actually achieve? Then watch this video that provides a quick overview of SMART goals with 21 examples.
Relationship Goals for Couples #1: Understand Each Other’s Belief System
No two people are raised the same way.
Consider all these various viewpoints and values that different people have:
Relationships are all about finding that special someone who “gets you”… understands your unique perspective on the world and wants to build a life with you.
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. It's all about understanding your why, your core values (specifically, your relationship core values), and how your partner relates to these viewpoints.
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.
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.
If you want to understand your partner better, start a deep conversation using this list of 43 questions for couples. Or on the lighter side, here are some fun questions you can ask your boyfriend.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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 throes of a loving, committed relationship.
It’s personal choice, but one you and your potential mate should definitely talk about early on. (And if you do decide to get married, here are some questions you can ask your future spouse and these marriage SMART goals can help strengthen your relationship.)
Relationship Goals for Couples #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. (Here are some ideas for self care gifts that you can get for yourself or your partner!)
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.
Deciding where you want to live is a big deal, especially if you’re in a relationship. You need to be ready to take the plunge.
(Sidebar: If you'd like to learn more about how to improve your financial situation and build habits that help you save money, then I recommend checking out this book.)
Relationship Goals for Couples #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. (This is especially important for couples who are in a long-distance relationship.)
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 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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
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.
Quick Tip: Creating a vision board as a couple can help you stay focused on your health and fitness goals.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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. (To get started, we have over 500 bucket list ideas you can get started on today.)
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.
Talking to one another is crucial to maintaining a happy, honest and lasting relationship.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
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.
Looking for ideas on how to start a conversation? Here's our collection of personal questions to ask a guy.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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!
Engaging in an activity together brings something to the relationship that you can both relate to.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
Heck, if you can't find a local event, you can organize a couple's board game night.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
Venture out to a 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!
Relationship Goals for Couples #13: Don’t Make 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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
There will likely come a time (or two, or three) in your relationship where the bond between family and partner is put to the test.
Relationship Goals for Couples #15: Partner vs. Family… Choose Wisely
Your parents want you and your significant other to spend Thanksgiving at their house.
Your future in-laws want 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 catty 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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #17: Fight Constructively
As hard as it is… especially when you’re in the throes 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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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 workweek… 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.
If you’re running around in circles some days, it’s crucial to hit the pause button and let each other know that they are still a point of focus and interest in your life.
Relationship Goals for Couples #19: Compliment Each Other Daily
One of the easiest relationship goals for couples to execute is to compliment each other. (Here is a list of 201 compliments that can use for any occasion)
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:
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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #20: Try Something New Together (or Alone)
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.
Relationship Goals for Couples #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.
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!
Relationship Goals for Couples #22: Take A Spontaneous Vacation
Sometimes you just need a break… and while vacations can prove to be an amazing escape, they can also be super stressful to plan and pack for.
Researching location ratings, airfare, lodging, etc… can be downright exhausting.
And if you have kids… well, that’s an entirely different ballgame.
So instead of adding to your existing anxiety, why not open yourself up to the possibility of a spontaneous or last minute getaway.
Obviously, every couple’s family and financial situation is different… but if you have the flexibility and the days off from work to allow for a last minute adventure, I highly recommend taking it!
Want to spice things up a bit? Add an element of surprise and don’t tell your partner where you are headed. Maybe even pack a bag for them… and let the relaxation begin!
Relationship Goals for Couples #23: Throw Yourselves An Anniversary Party
Most couples go big when it comes to celebrating those milestone anniversaries… 25 years, 50, 75.
That is not to say couples don’t celebrate every year by going out to dinner or taking a trip someplace… but the big ones typically get all of the attention.
Why not change that?
Show your partner how much they mean to you on any given anniversary by hosting a party in honor of your love.
Make it as intimate or grand as you’d like… send out invites to family and friends, rent a space or have a party catered.
Organize a slideshow of your wedding photos.
Think about renewing or recreating your vows.
Maybe even come up with a theme, such as Murder Mystery or Hawaiian Luau?
Whichever anniversary you choose to celebrate, make it fun! It’s not the number of years that counts… but how you spend them that matters.
A party is a great way to reinforce your love for one another, saying “I would do it all again”.
Relationship Goals for Couples #24: Play Hooky From Life Once In A While
Yes, we need to work in order to pay for the things we need… like a roof over our heads, food, clothing, transportation.
We also need to work to pay for the things we want… like an inground pool, vacation, home improvements, toys (big or small).
So while work is vital to a couple’s survival, it can also be detrimental if it becomes all-consuming.
Long hours, workplace politics, deadlines, a daily commute. All of these things are par for the course when you work from someone else… and doing so can take its toll on your mindset, as well as your romantic relationship.
Try as we might, many of us are incapable of leaving work behind every day. Especially when that work is a source of stress in your life.
If you see it starting to creep into your home life, then you need to shut the door… play hookey.
That’s right, pull a Ferris Bueller and take the day off!
Let your spouse know that you’re planning to take a personal day… and that they should plan to join you.
Get your errands out of the way, hire a babysitter, plan on takeout for dinner. Whatever it takes.
Turn off your phones for a while, leave yourself nothing to worry about and just relax for a day.
Go for a hike and picnic.
Plant a garden.
Visit the beach.
Have a fancy lunch and see a matinee.
Just let your minds be quiet and enjoy the moment together.
Relationship Goals for Couples #25: Consider Counseling Before It’s Too Late
A couple is lying if they say they never argue.
All couples will fight from time to time… it’s how you fight that counts.
Is it productive and constructive? Honest?
Or is it mean, one-sided and close minded?
If your arguments seem to be rooted in a bigger problem, talking about it with each other may not be good enough.
Having an unbiased third party can help you see things more clearly… as well as allow you to gain some perspective into each other’s mindset.
Friends and family are often a person’s first choice; however, they can rarely be objective and will always side a bit more with one of you… not because they like one of you more, but perhaps they can simply relate to what one of you is feeling more than the other.
So who does that leave?
A priest or rabbi?
Sure, perhaps they can shed some light on things… and there is no harm in starting with them if you have faith.
But if anonymity is what you seek and a schedule that works for the both of you… then marriage counseling may be just what the doctor ordered. (Here's a list of 7 of the best online marriage counseling programs.)
Therapists are an excellent choice when it comes to finding someone to referee your relationship battles.
You can choose to see one in person or schedule sessions online. Websites such as Talkspace will match you with a counselor, based on your specific criteria, and work around your schedule via text message and video chat sessions… typically for a fraction of what traditional therapy costs.
If you have to ask yourself if you need couples therapy, then you likely do… and it’s better to get a jump on it before things spiral out of control.
Relationship Goals for Couples #26: Put the Blame Where it Belongs
One of the classic mistakes couples make is to displace blame in their relationship… typically by way of throwing someone or something else under the bus when things aren’t going the way you envisioned them.
When a person finds himself displeased, saddened, insecure or frustrated… they will often find a reason to be angry, and a person to be angry with.
Sadly, more times than not, the person they direct that anger towards is not even the one they are truly upset with.
Maybe this anger manifests by way of a fight with each other? Or with your child? Employer? Friend? Waitress serving your breakfast that morning?
Whatever the reason for your anger… it’s important to identify the true source before blowing up on an unsuspecting target.
For instance, if your favorite pants are suddenly a bit tight after weeks of eating three home-cooked meals a day while trying to stay home more… you shouldn’t try and blame your partner for shrinking your pants in the dryer. Likely, you’ve just put on a few pounds.
Instead of yelling at the wrong person, place the blame back onto yourself and make a point of being more active moving forward.
If work is getting you down, don’t yell at your kids for playing too loudly while you’re trying to finish a report in your home office. Instead, why not take a break and play with them? Get your spirits up and then get back to what you were doing. This will prevent an ugly situation from disfiguring a beautiful moment.
Relationship Goals for Couples #27: Make a List of Positive and Negative Qualities About Yourself… Then Compare
As I mentioned earlier, being objective isn’t an easy thing… especially if you are personally invested in an issue or situation.
But you need to try anyway.
Because if you are the type of person who believes that you are perfect and can do no wrong… it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to sustain a happy and healthy relationship.
In fact, it will likely just send you down a detour that no couple ever wants to take. One where fights are one-sided and drag on.
One where you are consumed by placing blame on one another, rather than taking the time to look inside yourself.
When you have a moment, sit down and make a list of what you view to be your positive qualities.
And then do your negatives. You have to have at least one, or two, negatives.
Be honest with yourself. Be real. Be vulnerable.
Then, exchange lists with your partner.
Letting them see the person you see will speak volumes when it comes to understanding one another… and where you are coming from.
For example, your husband’s idea of romance may completely differ from yours. (To give you some idea, ask romantic questions for couples.)
Whereas you associate chocolates and flowers with the notion, he may think that small gestures are the way to go… like folding a basket of laundry for you after a long day.
Just some food for thought.
Relationship Goals for Couples #28: Do Something Selfless for Each Other
Every couple’s dreams differ.
For some, the notion of taking an exotic vacation together sounds divine. For others, simply going on a date to their favorite restaurant once in a while is enough.
Perhaps your dreams focus on retirement… and whether you’ll spend your golden years at the beach, a city, the mountains or desert.
Or maybe, just maybe, you dream of just a little bit of time to yourself. To reconnect with the inner you.
Itch that scratch, if you will.
There is no guilt in this.
Similarly, you shouldn’t blame your spouse for needing a little space.
That being said, why not consider doing something selfless for them from time to time? Something you know you’d enjoy as well… but it may just not be in the cards to pull it off as a duo.
For instance, my husband and I both enjoy golfing. For both of us to get out during the week when it’s less crowded; however, requires a babysitter and juggling work. So, on occasion, I will take one for the team and book him a tee time solo or with a friend… while I tend to the kids and work stuff.
He is super appreciative of these gestures and, in return, will often book me a massage… or let me sleep in one morning while he makes breakfast for the kids.
Quid pro quo.
If you want to go even bigger, why not book him a weekend away with his buds? In exchange, ask him to do the same for you.
Have a conversation. Check your calendars. And get it done.
A little gesture can go a long way in the long run. It is a sign of respect and trust, which is one of the pillars of a lasting relationship.
Relationship Goals for Couples #29: Share Your Fears and Insecurities
So many times in a relationship, we catch ourselves putting on airs.
We pretend to be cool with something that we really aren’t okay with deep down.
Or we dress or act a certain way because we think that is what our partner wants or expects from us.
Maybe we lash out in jealousy or anger at our partner, when we are secretly just disappointed with ourselves.
If we clue our partner in to what bothers us, show some vulnerability, it won’t be taken as a sign of weakness… but rather strength.
Open and honest communication of our feelings should never be a cause of shame. Rather, bravery.
If you don’t like a certain aspect of your body, let your partner know.
If you aren’t comfortable with him going out with a certain friend, tell him why.
If you are scared of him only seeing you as a mother, and not a wife, let him know.
If you’d like to be intimate more, tell her.
Your spouse may know you, but she is not a mindreader. And if you don’t trust her enough to let her in, the problem may run deeper than you think.
Relationship Goals for Couples #30: Imagine You Are Meeting Your Partner for the First Time Today
Today, more than ever, online dating is where most people turn in the hopes of meeting that special someone. Chatting for hours and exchanging pics is a great start when trying to figure out whether or not you’re compatible.
Obviously, a physical connection is key in seeing if sparks will fly… but slow and steady wins the race.
After all, forging a meaningful relationship is a marathon… not a sprint.
Still, I sometimes wonder if my husband and I would have clicked the same way had we just met yesterday? Clearly, we are both different people than we were 12 years ago… and not just physically.
While the circumstances surrounding our life together has played a role in who we are now… that is not to say it was the sole factor.
Try this fun little exercise with your partner.
Sit down and write a faux online dating profile for yourself. Then read each other’s. Do you like what you’re reading? Would you “date” him again if you just met?
If the answer is yes, great!
If the answer is no, don’t panic. All it means is that your viewpoint on relationships has changed over time… it’s matured along with you. The important thing to remember is that you grew together and made a life that works for you in the here and now.
Relationship Goals for Couples #31: Pretend “It’s A Wonderful Life”
I’m sure you’ve seen the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, about a down on his luck businessman who is contemplating a world without him in it any longer. So, his guardian angel gives him a glimpse into a life where he had never been born.
After bearing witness to the pain and longing imposed by his absence, he comes to appreciate what he has… and wants it back.
Imagine a scenario where you had never met your partner.
What do you think your life would be like? What choices might you have made differently?
Would you have married someone else? Or not gotten married at all?
Chosen a different career path?
Had more kids? No kids?
What about your spouse’s choices?
Picture an alternative to your reality and ask yourself, “Would I miss my life? Would my life miss me?”.
It’s a great way of learning to appreciate what is right in front of you.
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.
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.
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.