Relationship goals are not only for new couples but also for those who are in long-term couplings that have since lost their spark. Maybe all you need is to revisit your goals or create new ones to reignite the spark between you. Whatever stage you’re in your relationship, it’s never too late to set your relationship goals and commit to pursuing them intentionally. Here are a few to place at the top of your list.
- Master healthy communication. While good communication alone doesn’t translate to eternal happiness, unsurprisingly, research has found that couples who communicate well are more satisfied than those who struggle in this area. Good communication is especially important in tense moments when emotions are running high. Being able to express yourself clearly and calmly will go a long way to resolving conflict. In these moments, you can work on sharing what you are feeling and observing in a calm way. You can learn to co-regulate and de-escalate the situation,” says Katie Ziskind, LMFT, therapist and owner of Wisdom Within Counseling.
- Prioritize intimacy. Sounds obvious, but shockingly, about 15% of couples in a long-term relationship are also in a sexless one? And yet, intimacy is among the main ingredients of satisfied couples. Sure, life gets hectic/stressful sometimes and you won’t always be in the mood to connect in this way, but make it one of your relationship goals to prioritize sexual closeness with your partner. Without it, your relationship is much more likely to burn out.
- Have each other’s backs no matter what. What’s the point of having a partner who can’t (or won’t) support you in all areas of your life? Yes, your friends and family are there for you, but the least a partner can do in a relationship is to be your biggest cheerleader and stand by you when you need them. Whether it’s in your spiritual life, business, work, or health goals, you should support each other in a relationship. It hits different when they’re happy even for your smallest wins and pushes you to achieve more.
- Get on the same financial page. If you’re in a long-term relationship, make sure you outline your financial goals a couple and strategize on how you will achieve them. These goals could include saving up to buy a home, planning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, or even starting your own business together. And don’t just dream about it. Come up with concrete plans on how you’ll get there and work on it together.
- Always treat one another with respect. Of all the goals you can set for your relationship, this is one of the most important because without respect, there’s no way you can stay together. Never is this tested more than when there are issues in the relationship, but that’s exactly when you should focus on solving the problem rather than tearing each other down. “Remember: You are on the same side and the issue is the enemy – not your partner. When couples can keep this in mind, they will be better able to navigate challenges that arise in the relationship,” explains Janika Veasley, LMFT, therapist and owner of Amavi Therapy Center.
More relationship goals to set with your partner
- Practice forgiveness. Since we aren’t perfect, we’re bound to make mistakes and at times, hurt our partners unintentionally. Realizing this makes it easier to forgive each other and offer one another grace when it’s needed. While there are certain things you may not be able to forgive, such as infidelity, it’s important not to hold grudges when it comes to smaller things that really are no big deal in the grand scheme of things.
- Maintain your individual lives. Yes, you’re in a relationship, but you’re two different people with different personalities, interests, hobbies, thoughts… you get the picture. In a healthy relationship, every party is allowed (and encouraged) to be themselves unapologetically. You don’t have to like what your partner likes all the time and vice-versa. Don’t lose sight of who you were before you were part of a couple.
- Place your relationship at the top of your priority list. With busy work schedules and everything else that’s screaming for your attention on a daily basis, it’s easy to put your relationship on the backburner and to start taking it (and your partner) for granted. Prioritizing your partner and your relationship is definitely among the top relationship goals you should have. This might mean remembering their special days and treating them to something nice or even creating time to be with your partner when things are especially hectic.
- Grow and evolve together. You’re not going to be the same person you were when you got together forever and neither are they — and that’s a good thing. It’s important to continue to grow and evolve as individuals and as a couple. You can and should work together to accomplish this. A 2016 study found that couples who had similar goals and values in mind were much happier not only in their relationships but as individual people.
- Let go of comparisons. On social media, all couples seem perfect, like they never argue nor disagree. They seem to have it all figured out. No struggles, just unending sunshine. If you see this enough, you might even start to believe it’s true. Don’t be duped into comparing your partner or relationship with other people. They, too, have imperfections. They just don’t parade their ugly side online. Focus on your relationship, not on everyone else’s.
- Live in the moment. Isn’t everyone’s desire to be happy in this life? So often, we get wrapped up in what we want to happen or what will happen or what should have happened and it keeps us from enjoying what is happening right now, right this very second. Then we inevitably look back and wish we’d have just enjoyed what we had before it was gone. Don’t make this mistake. When setting goals for your relationship, move the ability to live in the moment right to the top of the list.