Getting married is a big step. This is something everyone knows — whether they’re married or not. And marriage takes work, from both parties involved.
As with everything, the more effort you put into something, the more fruitful it is, and marriage is no different. How can you go about this? By setting goals, together.
If you are in a serious, long term relationship and marriage is on the horizon, that is also a great time to talk to each other and set goals for your relationship and for your marriage.
Before you’ve even thought about a ring, you should be talking about your goals. If you are married and have not had a conversation yet to set goals, now’s the time to do it and this is how you can start.
Goal setting is a great way for any married couple to build a stronger foundation for happiness and love.
You don’t have to wait for a new year and you don’t have to have done this right at the start of your marriage. The first step is to start, and it is always a good time to start! The important thing is to make a conscious effort when and specific goals with your partner.
10 Goals To Set For a Strong Marriage
Have individual (and together) goals.
Of course, when you are in a relationship, you become a “we.” But that doesn’t mean that the “me” goes away. You are allowed to have dreams and personal goals, too!
You and your significant other should talk about them. By doing this, you are not letting your partner know what you want to accomplish, but you can discuss which goals you can work to achieve together. Plus you can help celebrate each other’s individual goals which always feels good.
Examples of goals you might set together:
- Buying a home
- Going a date night weekly
- Places you want to travel to
- A joint savings goal
- Renovation goals
- Health goals
- Reading goals
- Goals about your lifestyle
- Five and 10 year goal plans
These might be short term or long term goals that you help each other work towards.
Making big decisions, together.
There are so many big decisions that you’ll need to make when you get married. Where do you want to live? Will you be a dual income household or one income household? Will you have children? How many children? What religion do we want to raise children in?
All of these questions and more are big ones, and ones that you will need to be aligned on. These are all things you can even talk about before getting married, if you are in that long term relationship. They can be difficult and awkward conversations for sure, but agreeing on the big things will set the foundation to a successful marriage.
Conversations to have regarding big decisions:
- Where to live.
- How to budget.
- Places to travel.
- Five and 10 year goal plans.
- Buying a car.
- Upgrading something expensive (like a computer).
- You will and end of life plans.
Having a set date night.
Even if you’re married, you should still be dating! Date nights are so important. They give you and your spouse an opportunity to spend quality time together.
Sure, you may already have tons of alone time, especially if you don’t have children. But, odds are that when you go out to a nice dinner or sit down together for a meal you cooked together, the conversation you have will be different than the one you’ll have just sitting on the couch together watching TV.
Plus, putting the effort into a date night, shows that your marriage still continues to be a priority. A weekly date night is great, but if that isn’t feasible, make sure to have a monthly one.
What date night might look like:
- Brunch on the weekends.
- Date night on Friday.
- Watching a movie together.
- Trying something new together.
- Doing something together that one of you loves.
- Trying new restaurants every week.
- Going on a picnic.
- Weekday breakfast.
- Taking a PTO day together.
- Trying a new workout class.
Setting and working towards financial goals.
Finances can be a big stress for marriages. Heck, finances are stressful in general. But setting financial goals will not only make sure you are both aligned when it comes to all things money, but it can help you stay on track, too.
Set long term financial goals as well as short term ones. Keep each other updated on how they’re going and how close you are to reaching them. And when you do reach one of your financial goals, be sure to celebrate!
Financial goals you might set:
- Separate or joint accounts.
- Saving for a house.
- Putting money away for an investment property.
- Saving for retirement.
- Adding money to your Roth IRA.
- How you do your taxes.
- Investment types.
- Money for travel.
- Holiday spending.
- Who will pay for what.
Honesty and comfortability with each other.
Of course you shouldn’t lie to each other, but you should also be honest with each other when it comes to things more than lies. If something is bothering you and you can’t shrug it off, say it. Don’t let it fester. In order to have a happy marriage, you need to build a healthy marriage.
That’ll just result in an explosion happening. By being able to tell your significant other what’s bothering you, and by being receptive when your significant other comes to you, you can have healthy conversations about not so good things, rather than keeping them inside of you and continuing to build and build.
Evaluate how you communicate, ask each other these questions:
- Do you like to talk about things right away?
- Do you need time to calm down?
- Do you always need to say “sorry”?
- Will you say things are fine if they’re not?
- How do you express resentment?
- What red flags do we need to look out for.
- Will we talk over text or in person?
- Do we want to be confronted immediately or let our partner know we need time to talk?
- How can we not offend each other?
- How often do we need to check in?
Plan at least once a year couples trip/vacation.
If you have children, it’s okay to go on vacation just the two of you without children. If you don’t have children, it’s okay to go away just the two of you without anyone else. If finances are tight, you do not need a huge trip, go somewhere local for a night or two.
Going away together gives you both time to rejuvenate and relax, together. Ourselves on vacation tend to be different than ourselves as home. Plus, it’s fun and gives you new memories to share!
- A place neither of you has been before.
- A place 5,000 miles away from home.
- Somewhere you always thought you wouldn’t be able to afford.
- Somewhere you don’t know the language.
- A place each one of you loves.
- Somewhere from your childhood.
- A repeat place.
- A place you want to take your kids someday.
- Location you’ve always dreamed of.
- Somewhere you might want to live some day.
Compliment the little things.
It’s so easy for people to make negative comments about little things, but for some reason, it’s not as easy for us to compliment the little things. Make little, positive compliments here and there to celebrate your significant other and the little things.
Remind them of how much they’re kicking butt personally, professionally, and in the marriage. If they put on a new shirt that you like, tell them that. Do you know each other’s love language? If not, take a quiz online and talk about it, because knowing how to express things in a way that the other person understand is hugely important.
Little things to compliment:
- A haircut.
- An outfit.
- Something new.
- Something they worked on.
- Their dedication.
- Their knowledge and mind.
- Your partner’s creativity.
- Their cooking.
- Their pick of something.
- Their happiness.
Express gratitude frequently.
It may seem like it’s OK not to thank your significant other for doing things around the house — it is half of their responsibility too — but don’t you feel a bit happier when you’re thanked for doing something? Whether it’s a new relationship or you share many years of marriage between you, gratitude is always necessary.
If your partner did the dishes or emptied the dishwasher, thank them. If they stopped to pick up food on the way home, thank them. A little thank you really does go a long way.
While it isn’t always necessary, you can purchase gifts that show how much you care for each other. For example, couples could select a beautiful ring, necklace, or bracelet from Diamondère made of their partner’s birthstone.
Ways to exchange gratitude:
- Say it! A “thank you” goes a long way.
- Ask them what they need done and take care of it.
- Step in and help before they ask for it.
- Be specific when you share what you’re grateful for.
- Take a moment everyday for both of you to express gratitude everyday.
- Write down 3 things you’re grateful for about your partner each day.
- Acknowledge the small things they do.
- Ask them what they need from you.
- Intentionally exchange something with each other.
- Practice gratitude together.
Make time for intimacy.
Intimacy is an important part of marriage for many. If it was a big part of your pre-marriage days, don’t let it become obsolete post marriage. It’s so easy to forget how important it used to be when you’re exhausted with everything you need to do each day and don’t have much time for yourself.
But find time for it. Talk with your significant other about how you want to make time for it and figure out a way to keep it alive.
Always remember what you love about each other.
Fights happen. Disagreements happen. You will get annoyed with each other — that happens in all relationships and can get heightened during marriage.
But always make sure you remember what you love about each other. If you exchanged vows when you got married, remember the vows you said and that your partner said.
Anytime you fight, remember that marriage is hard work, and it takes hard work to keep it strong. It’s easy to get distracted by the here and now, which is why it’s so important for you both to remember the bigger picture. There will be hard times, but the best things in life are worth fighting for.
The great thing about setting daily goals, relationship goals, and smart goals will all help your marriage relationship and offer amazing things for both you of you for your growth, and happiness. These will help you be best friends with your partner during the tough times because you can lean on each other, and help you look forward to the next year of adventures to come.