23 Of The Best Relationship Goals To Nurture Intimacy
Have you ever considered creating real relationship goals to protect and enhance your love with your spouse or partner?
Ask anyone who is married or in a committed relationship what their number one priority is, and the majority of people will say, “My relationship.”
According to social psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary in a groundbreaking report, humans have an inherent motivation to belong with others in close and intimate relationships.
They theorize that we are “naturally driven toward establishing and sustaining belongingness.”
Belongingness is more than a superficial connection or a casual sexual relationship.
It is a need for deep and meaningful bonding with another person.
Baumeister and Leary argue that this bonding is essential for our well-being, and without it, we can suffer mental and physical illness.
But as important as our love relationships are to our health and happiness, it is curious how little time we spend taking care of them.
We'll spend hours at our jobs, pursuing our hobbies, shuffling children to various activities, and hanging out on social media. But how much time do we spend nurturing and improving our love relationships?
If you are married or in a committed relationship, stop for a moment and consider the amount of time you spend actively working to strengthen it. If it's not much, you certainly aren't alone.
When we enter a romantic relationship, it feels like the intoxicating fuel of infatuation will power the relationship forever. But over time, that fuel runs low, and the connection begins to hobble along on vapors.
This is the time when miscommunication, conflicts, frustrations, and boredom can sabotage the closeness and undermine the intimacy and joy of both partners.
Many couples aren't sure what to do at this point, so they don't do much of anything to revive their connection.
How can they enjoy the profound satisfaction that is possible in a committed, long-term relationship?
The answer is by understanding the stages of a relationship and setting mutual couple goals.
This requires a commitment to daily actions to reach the best relationship goals for you and your spouse or partner.
What are couples relationship goals?
You have goals for your career or for your personal life. You may have goals for your own personal development and self-improvement.
Just as you have personal or professional goals, you and your partner can mindfully consider what your best relationship goals will be and how you're going to achieve it.
Your love partnership or marriage is a dynamic and evolving connection. But if you don't think proactively about what your future together should look like and how you can grow and evolve together, you may just grow apart.
Individuals and couples change over time, and these changes can lead to disconnection, conflicts, and unhappiness.
But when the two of you work together toward a common vision, while remaining flexible and nimble as life changes arise, you can protect your bond and enjoy all of the benefits of relationship goals.
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Here is a list of 23 relationship goals for couples to nurture and protect your bond:
Relationship goal #1- Prioritize your relationship.
Let's be honest — most of us talk a big game about the importance of our marriage or love relationship, but when the rubber meets the road, we aren't really putting the relationship first.
Over time, you begin to take one another for granted. You get busy and distracted with your own stuff and neglect to tune in to the needs and desires of your partner. You view the relationship as a given, something that's just a byproduct of your connection to this other person.
But the relationship is an entity on its own. There's you. There's your partner. And there's the relationship.
Of these three, the relationship should be in first place. In fact, it should be in first place over everything else in your life, including your children, work, hobbies, or extended family.
So the goal here must be a mutual one. You both must embrace the relationship as the centerpiece of your life. How do you do that? It's a commitment you have to reinforce every single day in all of your decisions and actions.
It requires constant recalibration based on the needs of each partner and what is going on in your lives. Take a moment every day to ask yourself and each other, “Are we putting our relationship first today? What do we need to do today to nurture it?”
Relationship goal #2- Create a couple bubble.
In a previous post, guest writer and relationship therapist Harriet Pappenheim, LCSW, wrote about the importance of creating a “couple bubble.”
A couple bubble reinforces the goal of prioritizing your connection by thinking in terms of “we” rather than “me.” This is hard for most couples because it requires viewing yourself as part of a team first, above your independent needs and habits.
But rather than this inter-dependence weakening you, it strengthens you because each person feels safe and cherished.
Creating this couple's goal requires some time and dedication, but the payoff is enormous, as you are building a protective sphere around your relationship.
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The first step toward reaching this goal is making a series of agreements together that reinforce your care and protection of the relationship. An example of this might be stating, “I will never intentionally frighten you or leave you,” or “I will treat your vulnerabilities with dignity and care.”
A couple bubble goal also involves becoming experts on each other's needs, desires, and fears; repairing damage to the relationship quickly; building up a reservoir of happy memories to counter any difficulties and being each other's rock during difficult times.
Relationship goal #3- Have daily connection time.
An important daily goal for your relationship is spending one-on-one time together to reconnect.
If one or both of you work outside of the home, it's especially important to carve out this time without distractions or interruptions (from children or otherwise). Try to do this both in the morning before the workday begins and in the evening before you are pulled away to chores and responsibilities.
The most important element of this connection time is that you are fully present for each other. This means you aren't looking at your phone, doing a task, or watching television. You are fully focused on each other.
This is not the time to work through conflict or discuss the relationship. It is a time for talking, sharing, embracing, and simply enjoying each other's company. Look in each other's eyes. Hold hands. Listen attentively as the other is talking.
In the morning, you might share some time talking in bed before you get up or over a cup of coffee. In the evening, you might take a walk together or send the kids outside to play while you sit and catch up on your day.
This connection time doesn't need to be hours long. Even fifteen or twenty minutes is enough to reinforce how much you care about each other and the health of the relationship.
Relationship goal #4- Communicate with kindness.
Relationship goal-setting must include the ways you communicate together. But have you ever noticed how couples can speak to each other with such cruelty and unkindness?
They say things to each other that they'd never dream of saying to a casual acquaintance or even someone they don't like.
When we feel hurt, angry, or frustrated, it's so easy to lash out and say hurtful things.
Sometimes we employ passive-aggressive words and behaviors, using subtle digs, manipulation, or stonewalling to express how we feel.
Both overt and covert words and behaviors like these are deeply wounding, and over time they accumulate enough to cause serious problems in a relationship. You lose trust, mutual respect, and eventually love.
Related: 20 Ways to Find Your Soulmate
Make it a goal in your relationship to be kind in all of your communication. Being kind doesn't mean you have to agree with each other or even feel loving during a challenging moment.
It does mean you agree to avoid attacking, insulting, or intentionally wounding each other. It means you speak forthrightly without using passive or manipulative behaviors.
It means you step away or count to ten when you feel like lashing out, knowing that you don't want to say or do something you'll later regret.
We are all human, and of course, there will be times you fall short of your kindness goal. But make it a goal to apologize quickly, offer forgiveness quickly, and reset your kindness goal as soon as possible.
Relationship goal #5- Embrace vulnerability.
Each partner enters a relationship with past baggage, insecurities, feelings of shame or guilt, and tenuous hopes and dreams. We have vulnerabilities that we want to hide from others so they don't think less of us.
As trust and intimacy grow within a relationship, you share some of your vulnerabilities and inner pain with your partner. You expose your soft underbelly in hopes of finding a place of safety and security where you can be yourself completely.
Nothing is more wounding to a relationship than having your vulnerabilities disparaged, disregarded, or worse, thrown back in your face in order to make you feel bad about yourself.
The ability to safely be vulnerable with one another can strengthen the bond between you and foster a deeper love and intimacy than you thought possible.
When your partner embraces your vulnerabilities and treats them with dignity, it can heal wounds from the past and make you feel more confident in who you are.
Make it a goal to be completely open, vulnerable, and real with each other. But more importantly, make it a goal to always treat one another's vulnerabilities with tender loving care.
Relationship goal #6- Plan for fun together.
Life is already serious and stressful. Your days are spent working, caring for children, running errands, dealing with problems, and worrying about future problems.
Your relationship should be a place of peace and respite from the tribulations of daily life. In fact, your relationship should provide an outlet for enjoying life to the fullest.
Think back to the time when you first met your spouse or love partner and how much fun you had together. At that early stage of your love, you didn't have to work too hard to have fun. Everything was fun, and you delighted in finding fun things to do together.
As your closeness has matured, you may need to work a bit harder to create fun times together, but it is still possible.
Playing couples games and having fun together as a couple increases bonding, communication, conflict resolution, and relationship satisfaction according to several studies.
Make it a goal to schedule time for fun and play every week. Sit down with your spouse to discuss what you both consider fun activities. Be open to trying new things that might differ from your initial ideas of fun.
Allow yourselves to be silly and act like kids again. Even small, spontaneous moments of fun can enhance your relationship and bring you closer.
Relationship goal #7- Learn and support your love languages.
In his book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, author Gary Chapman outlines five ways that people express and experience love. They include:
- gift giving
- quality time
- words of affirmation
- actions of service
- physical touch
Chapman asserts that each of us has a primary and secondary love language that is expressed in the way we show love to others. But by showing our own love language to our partner, we are revealing our deepest needs within the relationship.
For example, if you are especially affectionate with your partner, it shows that you crave physical affection from him or her.
You and your partner may not have the same love language, and that's why it's so important that you both learn and support each other's love language.
You can do that by observing how your partner shows love to you and by analyzing what he or she complains about within the relationship.
Another way to learn about your love languages is by taking love languages quiz and sharing the results with each other.
Once you and your partner are aware of each other's love language, your goal is to offer your partner more of what he or she needs in the relationship.
Relationship goal #8- Maintain a satisfying sex life.
No matter how great your sex life was at the beginning of your relationship, it is inevitable that it will grow boring or even burdensome from time to time.
If you are fifteen or twenty years into a marriage, maintaining that romantic spark can take real effort and commitment. But a healthy sex life is vital to a healthy relationship.
Maintaining a satisfying sexual relationship involves understanding your partner and their needs related to sex, as well as acknowledging your own needs.
Women need to feel secure and comfortable with their partner in order to be willing to try new things and be sexually adventurous.
Men need more visual stimulation and variety than women do.
For women, sex can become a stressor if they see it as yet another chore they have to accomplish.
Men see sex as a stress reliever and need this physical connection to feel closeness.
The key to bridging these differences in sexual needs is regular communication.
Talking about your sex life may feel uncomfortable at first, but communicating your needs and concerns will protect your relationship from potential problems that can further damage your intimacy.
Make it a goal to discuss your sex life on a weekly basis. Be honest with your spouse or partner about what you desire, what isn't working well, and what you fantasize about.
Work toward both partners feeling safe, comfortable, and connected, and try to negotiate a compromise in areas of differing needs.
Relationship goal #9- Support one another's goals.
As important as it is to create a couple bubble in your relationship, you are two individuals who have goals and dreams of your own.
Having your own goals and dreams don't undermine your connection as a couple. On the contrary, it should enhance your relationship as each partner has something unique and interesting to bring to the relationship.
Both of you need to feel that the most important person in your life — your spouse or partner — supports and admires your goals and wants to celebrate your achievements.
Supporting one another's goals is more than just offering praise or verbal encouragement. It might mean making sacrifices of time, money, or commitments in order to show you are fully on board.
Make it a goal to discuss your individual goals and dreams and how you can make those goals happen within the context of your relationship. Ask each other questions like, “What can I do to support your goals?”
Relationship goal #10- Have a yearly review.
If you and your spouse take the time to set relationship goals and work toward achieving them, then it's important to measure the success of your efforts.
At the end of the year, sit down together to discuss each of the goals you have defined for your relationship.
- What have you done in the past year to actualize those goals?
- How successful have you been?
- What do you need to keep working on?
Use this time to set new goals for the coming year that build on what you have achieved and what you've learned about one another in the previous year.
Relationship goal #11- Spice up your date nights.
If you balked at the word “maintain” in goal #8, it’s time to put the spice back into your one-on-one time. And if there’s not enough of that, now’s the time to make it a priority.
It’s not just about getting along well for the kids. That won’t be enough to keep your marriage relationship strong.
And whether you’ll admit it or not, you’ll both be miserable if the closest you get to intimacy is giving each other a quick, goodnight peck on the lips.
So, schedule a regular date night and let nothing but a real emergency mess with that commitment.
And if you’re not sure what to do to reconnect and pave the road to greater intimacy, it can’t hurt to discuss the issue with an impartial counselor.
What can you do this week to remind yourself and your spouse of the best of what you have together? What would make you want to get closer than you have been for a while?
This may interest you:
Would you like to question your way to lasting love and intimacy?
If so, then check out my bestselling book called “201 Relationship Questions: The Couple's Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy“.
Mutual questioning is a powerful technique to draw out deeper emotions and desires and address potential areas of conflict before they disrupt your closeness.
The right questions inspire understanding, compassion, and action for positive change.
Maybe your spouse is still in the dark as to what turns you on, but you probably aren’t.
The best time to share that information without making your spouse feel pressured is during these private dates — whether you’re chatting together in your bedroom or talking over a drink at a favorite restaurant.
In fact, the more you can make your spouse feel special and worth at least some trouble, the more likely you both are to make inroads and start building — or rebuilding — a connection.
And with that in place, if you’re both open to greater intimacy, it’s not hard to get a fire going.
Then you can work to maintain it.
Relationship goal #12- Create a couple’s journal.
Get a journal and write a letter in it to your spouse, sharing your thoughts and concerns and expressing your hopes for your relationship.
Write about what you love about your spouse and what you’d love to do as a couple. Write about how much fun you’ve had and what you hope you can still enjoy as you grow old together.
Then let your spouse read your entry and write one of his or her own.
You can even take some relationship quizzes together and share your answers in your journal.
Journaling as a couple can begin as part of couple’s counseling and become a regular part of your DIY couple’s therapy.
Keeping a journal together and making it a safe place to be honest about what you’re thinking and feeling can draw you both closer together and enable you to help each other work through personal challenges.
There’s solid science behind the benefits of journaling for an individual’s mental health, and when two are involved — particularly two who are committed to each other’s well-being — the compounded benefits can only help strengthen their relationship.
Long-Term Relationship Goals
Your marriage or committed relationship will continue to grow and evolve over time — and you want your love and closeness to stand the test of time.
You and your partner will change and have different needs as the years go by, and if you have mutual and real relationship goals, you have created a buffer against the challenges that often tear couples apart.
Setting couples goals encourages both of you to set the bar high for your relationship, rather than allowing your connection to wither and erode.
Having goals for your relationship should be a life-long endeavor — one that brings you closer and strengthens your love year after year. Here are some long-term relationship goals to consider:
Relationship goal #13- Plan your travels together.
Was there a place you both wanted to go for your honeymoon but you couldn’t afford it? Or is there another, more affordable paradise that beckons to you both?
Plan for it, involving your spouse and spending time together to ensure you’ll both have a great time.
Couples around the world can attest to the relationship benefits of traveling together. And planning those trips together can strengthen your bond and increase intimacy.
However short or long you have for a couples vacation or annual trip, it’s always best when you’re both involved in planning the details that will most affect the both of you:
- Where you’ll go
- Where you’ll spend the night/s
- How much you can afford to spend on food each day
- How much you can afford to spend on souvenirs
- How much it’ll cost and how you’ll pay for it
Don’t assume you know what your spouse wants, because even if you knew before, what he or she will want for the next vacation could change.
Plan your trip together, so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises for either of you.
Relationship goal #14- Schedule annual planning dates and cover all the bases.
The science behind planning your goals as a couple reinforces the idea that many couples have discovered on their own: planning together can be sexy.
It’s not just about planning for retirement, either. You can set goals together for…
- Your relationship
- Parenting / your kids
- Your careers and interests
- Your physical and mental health and fitness
- Your financial wellness
This might not sound like a romantic way to spend time together, but if you’re actively involving your spouse in planning for a better future together, this can actually be very romantic — especially if one or both of you get very excited about planning things and getting your house in order.
Planning together is a potent way to strengthen your bond as a couple.
Saving money as a team — using a money jar or a joint savings account — in order to buy something you both want gives you another thing to celebrate together.
You could save money for a special trip, for a new bed, or for something else you can enjoy as a couple or as a family.
Relationship goal #15- Schedule weekly planning huddles and relationship reviews.
The best piece of relationship advice you'll receive is to frequently discuss the health of your relationship.
Along with planning, it’s helpful to schedule “meetings” to review your progress and make any necessary adjustments to the plan.
It’s also a good way to touch base on how your relationship is developing and what you could both work on together as a couple.
Set a weekly “planning date” to review the previous week’s progress, make a to-do list for the next week, and discuss any related concerns.
If there’s a sticky issue that keeps coming up — and one of you tends to talk about five or ten times more than the other — try the Truth Game:
- Take turns asking the other a question of deep personal interest.
- After the other person answers your question, don’t immediately respond with your take on it; instead let the other person ask a question of his or her own.
- This next question doesn’t have to be related to the question just answered.
- Answer the question as truthfully as you can.
- Repeat, if there’s time for more.
If you feel the need to respond to one of your spouse’s answers, ask before you launch into it.
Depending on the time of day — and the kind of day you’ve both had — he or she may not be up for an extended discussion, much less an argument.
Even if you’re both generally able to see things from other perspectives, sometimes you just don’t have the energy. Respect that, and live to talk another day.
Relationship goal #16- Set up triggers to remind you to perform random acts of seduction.
This could be a series of if-then statements like the following example: If my wife is having difficulty finding clothes that make her feel attractive, then I will do or say something to remind her that, to me, she looks gorgeous no matter what she’s wearing.
It’s not just a matter of communicating your interest in intimacy since for all she knows you might just see her as your only sexual partner.
Let those random acts be about convincing your spouse that she (or he) still makes your stomach do flips (or your heart do somersaults) and she’s still the only woman on earth who can do that to you.
So, try one of these triggers:
- If my spouse sighs or makes some other noise signifying disgust or disappointment with his or her appearance, then I will say something like, “Those pants look phenomenal on you.”
- If we’re eating out, and I think my spouse might be nervous about ordering what he or she really wants, then I’ll say something like, “Let’s just order exactly what we want and savor every bite. No peeking at the nutritional info. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”
- If I see that the flowers in our home are dying, then I’ll buy another bouquet while I’m out and tuck a love note for him/her into it.
Relationship goal #17- Get in the habit of picking up small thoughtful gifts
These do not have to be expensive, and — especially if you’re saving money together — it’s best to stick with inexpensive gifts, consumable or otherwise, just to remind your spouse that you are still very interested in keeping the romance alive.
Here are some ideas:
- Borrow movies from the library that interest you both
- Borrow music CDs for dancing together
- Pick up a colorful bouquet of flowers (if your spouse isn’t allergic)
- If your spouse is interested in painting, pick up some color leaflets and a gift card so he or she can buy a few color samples.
- Surprise your spouse with a single serving of a treat he or she enjoys.
Especially if your spouse’s love language is gift-giving, this is a potent way to keep the romance alive. If you keep the love tank full, intimacy is much more likely.
Relationship goal #18- Get in the habit of performing random (or regular) acts of thoughtfulness.
If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, random or regular acts of thoughtfulness will help keep the love tank full, reminding your spouse that you’ve been paying attention and are still motivated to help out and to be there for him or her.
Consider the following possibilities:
- When you see that a garbage container is full, empty it and replace the liner.
- If you notice your spouse is busy with something, offer to run an errand, pick someone up, etc.
- If your spouse has cooked you dinner, offer to clean up — or help with clean-up.
- If your spouse looks exhausted, offer a massage, a cup of tea, a hot bath, etc.
- If your spouse seems on edge, ask if there’s something you could do to make the day better.
Just demonstrating your readiness to help out can go a long way toward reminding your spouse that their happiness and well-being matter to you. And this is essential to building a real connection.
Relationship goal #19- Arrange to take a class together in a subject that interests you both.
You both have your individual interests, but taking a class together at least once a year (if not more frequently) is a great way to develop a shared interest and find a new way to have fun together.
You could also learn something that could save a life.
Check out the following possibilities:
- Cooking or baking
- Dancing (Salsa, Waltz, Tango, etc.)
- Learning a foreign language
- Martial arts or self-defense
- Learning to play a musical instrument
- Car repair
- First Aid and CPR
You could take one class a year and then schedule opportunities to practice what you’ve learned. Or you could take two classes a year — one in late winter or early spring and another in late summer or early fall.
Be sure to check with your spouse before paying for the class to make sure you’re both genuinely interested in attending.
Relationship goal #20- Order takeout once a month and have a picnic somewhere.
You probably have your favorites, or maybe you could try something new.
The important thing — after avoiding ingredients either one of you is allergic to — is to spend time together, savoring the meal and each other’s company.
You could have a picnic in your backyard, at a park, on the beach, or on your bedroom floor.
If you’re doing this at home, and you have kids, make sure they know not to interrupt you unless someone is dying or the house is on fire.
And just because you’re going the home date route doesn’t mean you can’t dress up for it.
Showing up after having put some effort into your appearance shows your spouse you still care about looking your best for him or her.
That said, suits and formal gowns might be overkill. But you do you.
You could also arrange for a horse-drawn carriage ride to the park or to the beach or lakeshore where you’ll have your picnic — either on the sand or in a boat.
Do what you can to mix it up for each date. If you both agree to this, you can take turns planning your monthly picnic, and it can be as simple or elaborate as you like.
The important thing is that you both have a fantastic time together.
Relationship goal #21- Go to the theater together once a month to enjoy a movie together.
Take turns each month picking a movie and go out together to watch it.
Sit toward the back so you can make out (discreetly) or get something started, so you can finish the date somewhere else.
After the movie, you can either go out for dinner or dessert (or both) or head home.
It doesn’t really matter if the movie itself wasn’t worth what you paid for the tickets. What does matter is how much fun you have while you’re there and afterward?
You could also opt for a drive-in movie theater, enjoy your own take-out picnic, and move to the back seat if there’s more action happening in the car than on the screen.
If you can’t manage this every month, try to at least do this or something similar to it every quarter — just to spend that time together, watching something that reminds you of what you have together and what you want to have together for as long as you possibly can.
Relationship goal #22- Exchange love notes — posted in a place you can’t miss.
You can write these either on separate pieces of paper (or cardstock) or in a couple’s journal that you take turns writing in (see above).
To keep it visible, you can pin up the most recent love notes on a bulletin board that you both can’t help but see every day. Pin it up loose or put it in an envelope that has a picture of the note’s recipient.
When you’ve replaced your note with a new one, flip the envelope to reveal the words, “You’ve got mail!” or “Thinking of you” or something else that will get your spouse’s attention.
Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t get opened right away; if your spouse knows how the letters work, it’s only a matter of time before he or she will read your latest love note.
Use them not to vent but to remind your spouse of something you love about him or her — and maybe something you’d like to do together.
Keep it positive, loving, and encouraging. Let their purpose be to remind each other of what you have and to celebrate the progress you’ve made — together and individually.
Relationship goal #23- Take turns doing something special with your kids, and giving your spouse some time off.
You can make this a monthly or quarterly thing — if you can both manage it — or one of you could seize upon a time when the other is clearly needing a break and offer to take the kids on a holiday.
Of course, if your spouse responds with “No, don’t leave me,” you might have to revise your plan and either find a babysitter or have your oldest watch the younger ones while you stage a much-needed mutual TLC intervention.
If your kids feel cheated, you could always order in something they like or reschedule the holiday for another day that works well for everyone.
Spending time together as a family is important, but the integrity of that family depends on the connection between you and your spouse.
And it’s not enough just to do damage control when things get bad. Building and nurturing that connection has to be a daily priority.
If we want to make sure we do something on which our happiness — and that of those closest to us — depends, we don’t try to squeeze it in; we make time for it. And we plan for it.
If other things get in the way, we do what’s necessary to restore order and bring peace to the land (i.e. the homefront).
So, take the kids out and give your spouse time to chill — or have the kids chill while you and your spouse tend to each other.
Do what is needed, and put your relationship ahead of what people besides your spouse want from you.
You’ll both be glad you did.
Did you find any value from these strategies?
I hope you enjoyed learning about these important relationship goals and will apply them to your committed relationship or marriage starting today.
Just having a few tools in your “love and marriage toolbelt” can make a huge difference in the quality of your connection and your overall happiness.
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