If You Want Your Marriage To Last, Set These 15 Goals

At your wedding, you pledged to love each other forever.

Both of you meant those words sincerely, but as time goes by, the joys and hardships of life can make spouses grow indifferent to their relationship. 

You can avoid a slow slide toward taking each other for granted.

Marriage goals can help you maintain the magical spark that ignited your romance in the first place. 

Setting marriage goals helps a husband and wife orient their lives around each other instead of drifting apart.

Your marriage goals will guide your activities and even your arguments in a positive direction.

What Are Marriage Goals?

For years, self-help gurus have told people to set personal goals. Why do they suggest this?

Because it works.

Just as individuals can lead better lives by naming their goals and working toward them, couples can nurture a stronger marriage with relationship goals.

These predefined commitments about how you should behave or what you should strive for provide your marriage clarity.

Instead of stewing with unspoken resentment about each other's failings, you and your spouse can use goals to remind you to value togetherness and love.

Although your husband and wife goals might not be entirely the same, you can agree to honor what both of you find essential. 

Your marriage goals can be whatever the two of you agree to make a priority.

Marriage goals examples range from laughing together every day to planning an annual romantic getaway.

How Do I Set Goals for My Marriage?

Setting goals for your marriage might feel overwhelming at first.

To warm up your brain to think about these things, take time to notice what's good about your marriage right now.

Then imagine what would be necessary to maintain these positive elements of your connection.

Here is a simple marriage goal-setting process:

  • Each of you takes time alone to think about goals.
  • Schedule a time to talk together about your goals.
  • Start with primary goals around chores and courtesy.
  • Explore more advanced ideas about sex, communication, and conflict.
  • Discuss how you imagine your marriage in 10 or 20 years.
  • Talk about action steps you can take to reach your goals.

After soul-searching and talking, don't skip the step of writing down your goals. The act of writing helps to make things “real” in your brain. Put your marriage goals list in a safe place and revisit it from time to time.

15 Marriage Goals for a Happy Life Together

1. Schedule Regular Date Nights

Quality time together really cannot be overemphasized.

At the start of a marriage, dates are commonplace and seem to happen effortlessly.

But life gets in the way of romance eventually. Without intervention, you could end up as roommates who only discuss your schedules or the kids. 

Whether it's weekly or monthly dates, make sure that you plan a fun activity together. Don't talk about problems during this time.

Make this time sacred because it's necessary for fueling the fire of lifelong love and intimacy.

2. Express Gratitude to Each Other

People who love each other might think that they don't need to hear a “thank you” for every little thing, but you do. Spouses can lapse into an autopilot mode where they do things for each other but never express their gratitude. 

happy couple drinking coffee marriage goals

To invite more kindness into your relationship, always show appreciation, especially for the little things.

3. Talk About Money

Fights over how to spend money or the lack of money have destroyed many marriages. Set the goal that you won’t let this become a toxic topic for the two of you. 

Make a plan to have money talks at regular intervals.

You can set goals around saving, making decisions for significant purchases, and establishing ground rules for casual spending.

4. Agree to Listen to Each Other

Marriage therapists always emphasize the importance of communication. However, good communication is more than merely talking to each other. You need to listen to each other actively. 

Real communication involves empathy, respect, and listening fully to the other person.

When you set marriage goals, frame them around listening more and validating your spouse's thoughts and feelings on any given topic.

5. Approach Problems As a Team

No one gets married with the hope of struggling through life alone. Set the goal of acting as a team. This teamwork can include identifying your individual strengths and weaknesses. 

That information can reveal the best ways for each of you to apply your talents to overcome challenges.

6. Define Your Marriage As a Connection, Not a Competition

Marriages tend to devolve when each spouse tries to score a win.

man carrying woman on his back and hiking marriage goals

It's like marriage partners long for an impartial referee who can throw a flag and decide who gets the ball. 

In reality, you need to stop trying to prove that you're better, smarter, or wiser than your spouse. Expressing disagreement is sometimes necessary, but there are no prizes for being right. Remember, you’re on the same team.

7. Always Speak Kindly About Your Spouse

Wife or husband jokes are culturally ingrained. It seems society thinks it's OK for one spouse to make fun of the other’s shortcomings in front of friends or family. 

Humor has its place in a marriage, but neither of you wants to be the butt of the other’s jokes, especially when people are around.

So set the goal of always speaking kindly and appreciatively about one another in front of other people. 

Show your spouse respect by never throwing him or her under the humor bus, no matter how witty the comment might be.

8. Pursue Peaceful Relations With Your In-Laws

Understand that your marriage is about pleasing and supporting each other, not your parents.

To varying degrees, in-laws can inject their opinions and drama into your lives together.

Spouses should set goals and boundaries around the involvement of your parents in your married life. Your personal situation will define the extent of the boundaries you create regarding in-laws. 

On a basic level, you should decide how much time you want to spend with your extended family and agree to put each other first before your parents.

9. Accept Mutual Responsibility for Household Chores 

After money, disputes about imbalances in the performance of household chores choke the life out of marriages.

happy couple looking at papers together marriage goals

Failing to do your part to keep a clean home causes resentment and loss of respect. 

By talking about these issues, you can set standards to maintain the household and establish a fair labor division. 

Setting a goal to define chore rules will end arguments related to differing standards of tidiness. A fair division of household labor reduces resentment and teaches you to work together for mutual benefit.

10. Celebrate Each Other's Successes

Life throws you many setbacks, but it also serves up plenty of successes. Even minor accomplishments deserve recognition and celebration. 

Noticing and expressing happiness for your spouse's successes makes him or her feel recognized and appreciated.

If you both focus too much on disappointments and failures, it infects the joy and sweetness of your connection. 

Avoid this negativity by highlighting the big wins as well as the small victories. 

11. Offer Loving Gestures

A goal of performing small acts of kindness for your spouse builds a lifelong habit that keeps the romance alive between you.

Opportunities pop up every day to do something loving, fun, and surprising for this person you love so much.

happy couple outside marriage goals

Fill your spouse's gas tank, or bake her favorite dessert. Surprise your husband or wife with lunch at work. Leave sweet love notes in surprising places for your mate to discover. 

12. Forgive Quickly and Repair Your Connection

You may not always forget mistakes, but you should forgive your spouse's errors whenever possible. Of course, your spouse should apologize and strive not to repeat the offending actions or words.

But a loving marriage cannot thrive when one or both of you remain fixated on issues from the past. 

You don't want to get stuck in unhappiness because you can't move on from your partner’s mistake. Your spouse may withdraw from you if you can’t forgive and keep bringing up his or her mistakes.

13. Encourage Each Other's Dreams

Although you might have dreams together as a couple, we all have individual dreams. Set a goal to be supportive of each other's aspirations. 

Don't feel upset or jealous if your spouse's goal does not include you. Support each other’s individuality, even as you are a couple. 

You may not be interested in what your spouse is doing, but you can accept and encourage it.

14. Respect Each Other's Opinions and Tastes

Married people share many of the same values and tastes, but they will not be identical. 

Agree that different opinions and preferences should not be a source of hostility or conflict. Don't let minor disagreements sabotage an otherwise happy relationship.

15. Stay Best Friends

Successful marriages are between two people who are friends. You get each other's jokes and share many of the same interests.

You like being with each other and feel safe that you have each others’ backs. 

Spouses should always remember to stay friends. This means laughing together, forgiving easily, and rushing to the rescue when problems strike.

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Marriage Goals Remind You What's Important

Marriage goals work as a compass and rudder on a boat. They make it possible for marriage partners to navigate their lives together. 

Every time that you take action toward one of your marriage goals, you'll feel like you have more control. You and your spouse will have a positive script to read from instead of falling prey to negative emotions when life gets tough. 

Marriage vows start a marriage, but marriage goals, guided by love and respect, can keep you on the path of happiness for decades.