It’s true to say that the majority of us rate relationships as one of our top priorities in life. Having said that it’s surprising just how little effort we put into maintaining them. This is where working towards relationship goals can help.
Relationship goals can help whether you are in a short-term relationship, married or you’ve just started dating. Consider other parts of your life. Just think of the hours spent on hobbies, work, children, your friends, and even social media? What would happen if we spent a fraction of that precious time on our relationships?
The problem is that at the start of a new relationship we are all on our best behavior. We show our most attractive sides because we want to impress our potential partners.
Once we’ve snagged them, however, we let things slide. And this is where misunderstandings, frustrations, differences of opinions and clashes can occur.
It’s usually at this point couples either break-up or goes on to have an affair. This is because they are not sure how to move forward. The way to get through any discord is to work on relationship goals.
Here are 12 things that will help your relationship evolve:
1. Make your relationship a priority
The very first thing you should do as a couple is to acknowledge your relationship is in trouble and that you both need to work on it. It’s no good taking each other for granted or taken the relationship as a given. Both of you should acknowledge it is not guaranteed.
It is easier to prioritize it if you remember that there is you, your partner, and the relationship. So the relationship goals need to come before you or your partner, or work, hobbies, family, anything else that gets in the way. Because if your relationship doesn’t work, the rest won’t either.
2. Practice open communication
After recognizing that your relationship is your top priority, your next step is to practice open communication. There’s no point knowing something’s wrong if you don’t talk about it.
So pack in posting those sickly couples photographs on social media and actually sit down and talk. And I don’t mean the kind of talk on Facebook where you declare undying love. You should be able to tell your partner anything.
3. Be honest with your partner
Being open with your partner also means being honest. There’s no need to be hurtful or nasty, however. If you need to tell a little white lie, then do so. But for the big things in life honesty is always the best policy. Even if it puts you in a bad position.
4. Communicate with kindness
Just because you are being honest doesn’t mean you have a get-out-of-jail card to be cruel and nasty. I remember my ex-boyfriend once said to me: “God you’re ****ing ugly!” He wouldn’t dream of saying that to anyone else. Yet, he felt he could say such a horrible thing to me.
When we feel hurt, it’s natural to want to hurt someone back. Typically that person is our nearest and dearest. Words can be deeply wounding. Use kindness and obviously you’ll get a lot further.
5. Spend one-on-one time together
This seems pretty obvious but you’d be surprised the number of couples that pass like proverbial ships in the night. Spending time with each other keeps you connected.
When you do decide on a time to spend together, make sure there are no distractions. So, you might want to send the kids to their grandparents, or make sure the TV is switched off. And when you are together, be present with each other. So no phones, no chores, just the pair of you.
6. Work as a team
When you first got together did you feel like it was you and your partner against the world? Grab onto that feeling by working as a team. When you work together you both succeed, you both accomplish things in life, and you both do well.
Moreover, you help your partner achieve their goals. That’s a proper relationship.
7. Create a couple-bubble
The easiest way to create a couple-bubble is to think ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. It’s kind of creating a protective shield around the pair of you. The bubble safeguards your relationship.
You can create the bubble by setting up a range of agreements together. For instance, ‘I will always treat you with respect’, ‘I will never disrespect your family’, or ‘I will always be sympathetic to your needs’.
8. Care about your partner’s safety
If you care about the safety and wellbeing of your partner, you are concerned about their life. This is essential for a healthy and happy relationship. If you didn’t care about them and didn’t worry if they were safe or not, how can you possibly even love them?
This is a real marker of whether a relationship is worth saving or not.
9. Embrace your partner’s vulnerability
Another marker of a relationship worth saving is how you view your partner’s vulnerabilities. Do they annoy you? Do you get irritated by them? Are you ashamed of them? Or do you feel like you want to protect your partner and help them?
We all have baggage, it’s how our partner’s cope with it that matters. If you can show your true vulnerability to your partner you can build a wonderful bond and create a deeper intimacy.
10. Care about your partner’s happiness more than yours
Remember that old song – ‘If you love someone – set them free.’? True love is valuing someone else’s happiness over yours. This doesn’t mean letting them go off with all and sundry!
It could be something as simple as sacrificing an evening so your partner can watch the footie or their favorite soap opera. It could be something more serious as moving away because one of you has a great job miles away from family.
11. Learn your partner’s love language
My partner and I would often argue because we had different ways of expressing our love. He was very practical and would buy me useful things, I was tactile and wanted affection.
If you really want a close and fulfilling relationship, one of your relationship goals must be to work out which of the five ways your partner expresses their love.
The five ways are:
- Gift giving
- Physical touch
- Quality time
- Words of affirmation
- Actions of service
12. Maintain a satisfying intimate relationship
Finally, it doesn’t matter how great you are at communicating. If your intimate relationship is suffering, so will the rest of your relationship. The problem is that quite often men and women want different things as a relationship progresses.
Men like variety and visual stimulation, whereas women need to feel secure and valued. If women are not satisfied, they can start to view physical intimacy as just another chore. Men can then feel rejected when their partner’s keep putting them off.
Communication is key, as with most things in life. Being able to openly talk about what your body needs will only increase the sense of intimacy with your partner.
Do you have any relationship goals that have worked for you and your partner you’d like to share with us? Let us know!
By Janey D.
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