I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “relationship goals” at least once on social media. Maybe it was in the comments of a couple’s video in Peru or a stitched Tiktok of a man bringing his girlfriend ice cream and chocolate spontaneously.
But I want to talk about a different kind of relationship goals: the tangible kind that you and your partner can work towards. Just like you would in any other aspect of your life like your job or exercising.
Relationship goals extend well beyond a fancy trip or surprise flowers. They’re a consistent, targeted effort in areas of your relationship that you and your partner aren’t so great at. Because let’s face it: none of us are perfect, especially when it comes to loving another person.
Healthy relationships don’t accidentally happen. They’re created with effort, care, and awareness.
That’s where relationship goals come in
To start creating goals in your relationship, you’ll need a ready and willing partner. If you’re weary about how they’ll respond to the idea of relationship goals, frame it in a positive way that will only help the relationship more.
Avoid implying that the relationship needs to be fixed or is failing.
Next comes deciding what your relationship goals will be, which looks different for every couple. Personally, my boyfriend and I have a lot of goals around communication. We try to practice active listening, where we repeat what the other person says and ask each other questions. We also aim to spend more time outside our house since we live together and both work from home.
As I said, your goals won’t be the same as mine, but here are a few areas of your relationship you might want to create goals around:
Communication is the backbone of any thriving relationship, yet many people suck at it, and I’m no exception. I’ve already mentioned one of my relationship goals around communication, but another is for me to stop snapping at my boyfriend during arguments.
It’s not my best quality.
Communication goals will help you develop skills you’ll use for the rest of your relationship, so they’re a perfect place to start. As for any new goal you’re beginning, you’ll want to focus on one thing at a time.
So pinpoint specific communication habits you each want to work on.
Then start there.
Contrary to what many think, quantity of time is not the same as quality of time. You might think that watching Netflix every night counts as quality time, but your partner may not feel that way since you’re both on your phones and you’re not talking.
If one of you feels like you could work on spending quality time together, this could be a great goal to add to your list!
Decide on a specific time to focus on (a month maybe?) and come up with ways you can spend more quality time together. After that time, check in with each other and see how well you achieved your goal.
Let’s face it: arguments happen, which brings me to the point that your relationship goals should be realistic. Avoid a goal like “never arguing”. You’re just setting yourself up for failure.
On the other hand, how you handle the time after a fight could be a great relationship goal! Conflict resolution is definitely a communication skill that most people could improve.
Spending time apart
Spending all your time with your partner is tempting, especially during the first few months of dating. But it’s not the best for maintaining your sense of identity outside of the relationship. You’ll feel happiest seeing your friends, doing what you love, and working on your passions.
Might I suggest spending time apart as one of your relationship goals? It will feel like an easier goal to accomplish if you both help each other reach it. You can begin with something small like spending one night out a week with your friends.
When life gets busy and stress piles up, sex and other forms of physical intimacy are among the first things that fall through the cracks. It doesn’t mean your relationship is failing, but if you wish things were different, creating a goal around fostering intimacy in your relationship could be the perfect solution.
A simple goal could be having sex at least once a week and planning it if you both have busy schedules.
Or, small moments of physical touch throughout the day could be a better option if you want to feel more connection on a daily basis.
Prioritizing date night
No matter how long you’ve been together, date night should always be a thing. Having a night once a week or a couple of times a month where you spend time alone is something that will only help your relationship and keep you both feeling very connected.
I’m not saying you have to go out to eat every week; that can get expensive. Do whatever would be fun and feels financially comfortable for both of you. Once you decide what your date night will look like, make it a goal to stick to it for at least a few months.
After those months, check in with one another, make adjustments if needed, and revel in the fact you accomplished your goal while making new memories together.
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