#RelationshipGoals: Creating Shared Meaning in 2020

#RelationshipGoals: Creating Shared Meaning in 2020

Not to be cliché, but the beginning of the year is a great opportunity to pause and take stock of where things are at in various areas of your life and to consider how close they are to how you would like them to be. In a previous blog, we explored the concept of creating shared meaning in your relationship through discussing rituals, roles, goals and symbols.m with your partner. In this blog, we will explore creating #RelationshipGoals in 2020.


Attend our March COUPLES WORKSHOP to improve your relationship!

Like, Actual Relationship Goals?

Have you ever considered making New Year’s resolutions for your relationship? It’s not uncommon for individuals to resolve to improve their relationship with their significant other in the year ahead, as secure attachment is associated with improved overall well-being. When you can become intentional about what the improvements in your relationship would look like by creating smart goals, you can increase the likelihood of cultivating positive change.

Tip: Think SMART

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time-limited

(Psst! Learn about the Seven Principles couples workshop here.)

How Goals Fail

One reason that relationship goals might fail could be that they aren’t in line with each partner’s values. When this is the case, relationship goals are less likely to come to fruition because it does not reflect each individual’s sense of self and what is important to them. Another reason could be that your goals aren’t realistic or attainable (maybe they’re too big), or that they can’t be measured. For example, a goal to “spend more time together” is not as specific as a goal to eat dinner together four out of seven nights per week. Create short-term, intermediate-term and long-term goals in your relationship to help to enhance both the little and big picture vision for your relationship.


Click here to learn fun ways to enjoy the holidays with your partner


Choosing Your Goals

Some areas where we might make personal goals include: career, family, friendships, health, home, learning, love, money, personal development, physical and social. Considering these different categories, see if you can identify areas where you might be able to create a relationship goal. Maybe you want to improve your education to gain a certain career, which would require that your partner covers more of the expenses. Maybe you want to focus on your health and so you and your partner can practice meal planning or support one another in a regular exercise regime. Perhaps you want to pay off some debt, and you and your partner can meet with a financial advisor to discuss your joined financial goals. or maybe you want to spend less time at home, and so you might consider planning social activities with your joined group of friends, or begin to merge your social circles by hosting events.

Here Are Some Suggestions for #RelationshipGoals

Learn your love language. Showing appreciation to your partner in the way that they preferred to receive it is the superhighway to relationship satisfaction. Download the Love Nudge app or visit www.5lovelanguages.com to take the love languages quiz. share your results with your partner, and commit to doing one act per day in favour of your partner’s love language. (Do it for your partner even if your partner forgets to do it for you; it will always come back around.)
Create a couples journal. Use this to write letters or sweet little notes to one another to read each day, list and track your couples goals, and plan relationship activities.
No screen time during quality time. This can include during meals, on outings and even watching your favourite TV show together.

 

Spice up your sex life. Flip through the Salsa decks on the Gottman Card Decks app for spicy new ideas for the bedroom (or wherever you might be! 😉)
Plan a weekly activity, adventure outing or date. This can help to inspire novelty and fun in your relationship, which can be easily lost in the day to day humdrum of life.
Take a class together. Your schedules might make this difficult, however there are plenty of online classes that you can go through at your own pace. Learning something new together is an opportunity to be vulnerable, humble and to have fun.

 

Plan a road trip, vacation or staycation. Taking a trip can combine adventure, novelty and quality time in one, as well as presenting an opportunity to have a new experience together in a foreign place. A staycation can be a great opportunity to visit local restaurants you haven’t yet found the time to check out, and to take in some local tourism.
Schedule time for difficult conversations. It is not uncommon that we put off or altogether avoid having conversations about sensitive or vulnerable topics with her partner. Scheduling time to have these conversations can create a safe space to air grievances, address concerns and connect empathically with one another. I suggest to review the I Feel..., Expressing Needs, Expressing Empathy and Great Listening card decks on the Gottman Card Decks app before beginning this.
Start a book club. Take turns suggesting a self-help, relationship, fiction or nonfiction book to read together. Flip a coin to determine who gets to choose first.

You Can Do It (Together!)

When creating couples goals, it’s important that your individual and couple goals are not in conflict so that you can achieve your dreams together and support one another individually. It‘s also important to celebrate when you reach milestones and achieve goals and agreeing on some kind of reward system can help to keep you motivated. Think of a fun or creative way that you can celebrate each step you take towards your goals. Maybe you will go out for dinner or have a special treat, whether it is dessert or trading massages.

It can be difficult to stay accountable to goals, and in fact, this is one of the main causes for resolutions to fail; that, and not following the SMART goal format. psychology today suggests creating accountability to one another in order to achieve your shared goals. This might look like planning to exercise on a specific day or at a specific time, or even planning dates to check in on your goal progress with identified milestones to reach along the way.

And creating goals together is an opportunity to practice collaboration and supporting in cheerleading one another. This can strengthen your bond and improve the likelihood of sticking to and achieving your #RelationshipGoals


Register for my upcoming COUPLES WORKSHOP today!

References:

https://www.gottman.com/blog/how-to-make-and-keep-new-years-resolutions-for-your-relationship/
https://liveboldandbloom.com/12/relationships/relationship-goals
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/emotional-fitness/201010/goals-are-relationship-necessity-here-are-10-tools-help

             


[Editor's note: This blog written by Ashley Greensmyth is cross-posted at https://www.parallelwellness.ca/#relationshipgoals/]

Curious about couples therapy?

Relationship counselling can take your partnership to the next level. Contact me to book your counselling session or free consultation.