A tropical holiday with a gorgeous guy.
A white wedding planned down to the tiniest details.
A house full of kids, laughter, and at least one dog.
What are yours?
Relationship goals are more than just a fun hashtag. They’re life or death.
You won’t die if your relationship doesn’t have goals, but your relationship might.
Relationships without goals are like boats with no sails or paddles. They sit there, drifting with the tides, often ending up somewhere no one wanted to be.
Goals help you set a course. They ensure you’ll get somewhere.
As fun as it might be to find a quiet moment on a boat with your beloved, soaking up the sun and nibbling canapes, it’s even more fun knowing you’re en route to somewhere wonderful. Like your own private island, perhaps?
In a minute, I’ll show you what makes a relationship goal effective (as opposed to merely aspirational).
But first let me point out something interesting. You’ve been harnessing the power of relationship goals all your life without realizing it.
Have you ever noticed how important it feels to move to that next stage in your relationship?
When you’re dating, you can’t wait until he calls you his girlfriend.
When you’re his girlfriend, you wonder when you’re going to meet his parents or move in together.
When you’re living together, you wonder when he’s going to propose.
After the wedding, you start thinking about starting a family together.
After starting a family together … well, what do you think happens next?
Is that it? Is this what you’ve waited for all your life? Can you be happy now, with no more goals to achieve?
Something happens when that forward momentum stops.
When couples achieve all their relationship goals, they don’t live happily ever after. They start to drift apart.
There’s nothing more to accomplish in their relationship. They’re married now. That should be enough…
But it isn’t.
So maybe they try for another child. Buy a bigger house. Change jobs. Do something to feel like they’re getting somewhere.
But making more money or moving somewhere new isn’t going to give your relationship direction. It’s just going to keep you busy in different ways.
Relationship goals keep your relationship focused. They add meaning and structure to your shared life story. (I talk about this in Module 8 of His Secret Obsession.)
Effective relationship goals—ones that strengthen your relationship—have 3 traits that make them different from the tongue-in-cheek #RelationshipGoals on social media.
#1. They’re mutual.
Your relationship goals aren’t just yours. They’re his, too.
So set relationship goals together. And do it explicitly. Sit down one evening and talk through what you want your life together to look like next year, in 5 years, and in 20 years.
Go over where you’d like to be living, what an ideal day would look like, what you’ll do for fun, your financial situation, and anything else that’s important to you.
You’re bound to notice places where your goals seem to be incompatible. Don’t get hung up on those, because if you keep searching you’ll find there are plenty of places where your goals do align. Focus on goals you both want and believe in.
#2. They’re actionable.
You may have relationship goals that look impossible, but don’t abandon them just yet.
Can you think of actionable steps you can take today, to move that little bit closer to your dream?
Maybe your goal is to retire at 50 so you can spend your days painting and gardening and reading poetry to each other. What would you need to achieve that goal? What might you need in terms of investments or savings? Could you talk to a financial planner to get an idea?
What you don’t want is a relationship goal that you talk a lot about … but do nothing about.
#3. They make you feel closer.
Some relationship goals aren’t worth it.
Let’s say you set a goal of starting your own home business. But the pressure of operating on a tight budget and working together in close quarters is driving you crazy. You argue all the time.
Some relationship goals sound great but don’t work. So be willing to change direction. If your goal is sending you straight into a storm that might sink your boat, look at each other and choose love instead.
The best #RelationshipGoals aren’t flashy. They don’t make a cute Instagram post. But they bring you closer together. And that was always the goal in the first place.