When it comes to setting goals, we typically focus on health goals, financial goals, personal development goals, career goals, and so on. One area we may not even consider needing to set goals in is in our relationships. If you have a life/domestic partner or spouse, there’s value in sitting down together to set goals in your relationship.
Goal setting plays a role in just about every facet of life. We set goals to improve our health, accomplish projects at work, beef up our savings accounts, and so much more. Whether it’s reading a certain number of books per year, taking a specific amount of steps per day, or getting a particular number of hours of sleep per night, goal setting keeps us on track to living a healthy and productive lifestyle.
Think about what you want to achieve in your life together. Are there certain goals that you both find important? Ones you disagree on?
Make a list of what you hope to achieve both individually and together and share your goals with one another. Some might be in opposition of each other, some might be on the same exact page, and some might be wildly random altogether.
This is a great exercise in an effort to reassess where you hope your relationship is going. If you’ve already committed to living life together, this exercise will merely ensure you’re both getting what each of you needs out of your relationship. It’s crucial to voice your wants and needs, and your partner should do the same, so that you each can bring your best selves into your relationship or marriage.
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few types of goals you might want to set with your significant other (or at least think about) to get started:
We want to save up X dollars by X date.
Finances are the source of a lot of tension between couples. Sometimes one person is a bit tighter with the purse strings than the other.
If you and your partner have differing spending and saving habits, sit down together and review your finances. Take a hard look at both of your incomes and how you’re each spending money. Is most of your money covering bills? Are there areas you can scale back?
Set a financial goal (or even a series of micro goals) that suit the lifestyle you share. That might mean going out to dinner once a month instead of once a week, for example. When you bring awareness to where your money is going, you’ll have a better idea of how you can save money for your future.
We want to live in X type of home by X date.
Maybe you and your partner do not yet live together. Perhaps you do, but you’re in a temporary apartment. Maybe you own a home but you know you’re going to outgrow it and need to upsize.
Whatever living situation you and your partner currently find yourselves in, now is as good a time as any to think about what comes next. What does your timeline look like to move? Would you stay in the same town/area, or move somewhere completely different? Do you want to rent or own?
Figuring out what your shared goal is now will only help you later. And no doubt, any goal you set around your living situation will be one that affects your finances.
We want to start a family by X date OR we don’t want to have a family.
Family planning is another biggie. Whether you know you want a family, or you’re deeply certain having a family of your own is not important to you, talking it out with your partner is a must. You need to make sure you’re on the same page.
And if you both do want a family, there is some time sensitivity around that decision, especially for women. Map out how growing your family is going to impact your finances, living situation, careers, etc. and set goals that help you make your decision happen in the best way possible.
For example, a studio or 1-bedroom apartment may not be enough space for a baby, which could change the timeline of your goal to move, which in turn would affect your financial goals. See? It’s all connected!
We want to take our careers in these directions overtime.
If you and your partner have specific career paths, you probably each have a general idea of where you want to take your careers overtime. Maybe you plan to apply for a promotion once you hit a certain milestone in your current position. Maybe your partner wants to earn a specific salary by a particular age.
And if you don’t have any clue what to do for work or where you’re going, that’s still requires goal setting and direction (e.g. finding an industry you want to grow into, a job title you want to work toward, etc.).
The point here is that sometimes a couple’s individual careers work well and sometimes they don’t. If one of you travels often for work, how does that affect your relationship/marriage? Or maybe one of you works long hours and is never home on time for dinner or to put your kids to bed, how does that affect your family values and needs?
If one of you doesn’t work often and isn’t bringing much of an income to the table, how does that impact the other person? All of these questions are meant to encourage you and your partner to reflect on what works, what doesn’t and how you can each set career goals for the greater good of your relationship/marriage/family.
Now that you have some jumping off points, consider setting time aside in the coming weeks or months to talk through some of these suggested goals and try them on for size. Maybe these fit you, maybe they don’t, but the point is to start thinking about what types of goals you and your partner or spouse need to set to have a healthy long-term relationship.
When you commit to someone forever, you have to take their wants and needs into account. It’s not just yourself anymore. However, that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of your own wants and needs.
Stay true to who you are and keep your values top of mind. If anything, this exercise is about taking your existing wants, needs, and goals and merging them with your partner’s. Your individual goals might end up being shared goals.
And if they don’t, you can still support one another. Whatever you need to do to ensure you’re meeting your personal goals and keeping your relationship goals in check at the same time is bound to work.
Start goal setting, love birds! Your relationship/marriage will be better for it.