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 partner/spouse.”
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.
If you are married or in a committed partnership, 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 first become a couple, it feels like the intoxicating fuel of infatuation will power your closeness 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?
- What are couples' relationship goals?
- #1: Prioritize Each Other
- #2: Create a Couple Bubble
- #3: Have Daily Connection Time
- #4: Communicate with Kindness
- #5: Embrace Vulnerability
- #6: Plan for Fun Together
- #7: Understand Your Love Languages
- #8: Maintain a Satisfying Sex Life
- #9: Support One Another's Goals
- #10: Have a Yearly Review
- #11: Spice Up Your Date Nights
- #12: Create a Couple’s Journal
- Long-Term Relationship Goals
- #13: Plan Travel Together
- #14: Schedule Annual Planning Dates
- #15: Schedule Weekly Marriage Health Meetings
- #16: Use Triggers to Enhance Romance
- #17: Give Fun Gifts
- #18: Perform Regular Acts of Thoughtfulness
- #19: Find Common Interests
- #20: Have a Monthly Picnic
- #21: Go to a Monthly Movie
- #22: Hide Love Notes for Each Other
- #23: Give Your Partner a Break from the Kids
- BONUS: 8 Cute Relationship Goals.
- How to Set Relationship Goals
The answer is by understanding the stages a couple goes through 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?
The short answer is — relationship goals are the plans, dreams, and achievements you and your partner or spouse create for the life you want to build together.
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 we have personal or professional goals, couples should mindfully consider a list of relationship goals and how to achieve them.
Individuals and couples change over time, and these changes can lead to disconnection, conflicts, and unhappiness.
If you don't take time to plan your ideal future as a couple and how you can grow and evolve together, you may just grow apart.
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 having these goals.
#1: Prioritize Each Other
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 each other 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 your coupling as a given, something that's just a byproduct of your connection to this other person.
But the pairing 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 each other 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 other and what is going on in your lives.
Take a moment every day to ask yourself and each other, “Are we putting each other first today? What do we need to do today to nurture it?”
#2: Create a Couple Bubble
Relationship expert and author, Stan Tatkin, focuses on 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.
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.
- Being each other's rock during difficult times.
#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 your issues. 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.
#4: Communicate with Kindness
Couples 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.
Make it a goal 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.
#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 with each other, 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 the pairing 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 be safely 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.
#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.
, 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.
#7: Understand 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:
- 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.
Each of you 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 are both aware of each other's love language, your goal is to offer your partner more of what he or she needs in the relationship.
#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.
Maintaining a satisfying sexual bond involves understanding your partner and his or her needs related to sex, as well as speaking up for 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 each other about what you desire, what isn't working well, and what you fantasize about.
Work toward making your relationship feel safe, comfortable, and connected, and try to negotiate a compromise in areas of differing needs.
#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 doesn'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 should 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 with each other.
Ask each other questions like, “What can I do to support your goals?”
#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.
#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 bond strong. And whether you 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 brainstorm ideas together and make it fun.
What can you do this week to remind yourself and your spouse of the fun times you had when you first started dating? What date activity will make you 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.
#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:
#13: Plan Travel 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 with your spouse and spend time daydreaming together to ensure you’ll both have a great time.
Couples around the world can attest to the 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 and the sites you want to see
- Where you’ll stay
- How much you should budget for the trip
- How long the trip should be
- Whether or not you want to travel with others
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.
#14: Schedule Annual Planning Dates
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 the most romantic way to be together. But if you’re actively involving your spouse in planning for a better future together, this can actually be very romantic.
Planning together is a potent way to strengthen your bond as a couple. So put a date on the calendar, make sure you don't have interruptions, and spend a few hours on your annual relationship review.
#15: Schedule Weekly Marriage Health Meetings
The best piece of advice you'll receive is to frequently discuss the health of your connection. 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 you're doing 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 previous one.
- 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.
#16: Use Triggers to Enhance Romance
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.
#17: Give Fun 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 or balloons.
- If your spouse has a hobby or interest, pick up something related to that.
- Surprise your spouse with a single serving of a treat he or she enjoys.
Especially if your partner'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.
#18: Perform Regular Acts of Thoughtfulness
If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, random or regular acts of thoughtfulness will reinforce how much you care.
It reminds 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
#19: Find Common Interests
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.
#20: Have a Monthly Picnic
You probably have your favorite spots, or maybe you could try something new. The important thing is spending time together, savoring the meal and each other’s company.
You could have a romantic 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.
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.
#21: Go to a Monthly Movie
Take turns each month picking a movie and go out together to watch it. 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 an Academy Award winner. 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 every quarter.
Just 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.
#22: Hide Love Notes for Each Other
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.
#23: Give Your Partner a Break from the Kids
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 find a babysitter while you stage a much-needed mutual TLC intervention.
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.
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BONUS: 8 Cute Relationship Goals.
Want to have some fun with your goals? Try some of these cute and funny relationship goals.
1. Become better and more attentive kissers.
Hey, how much fun is this goal to practice? When you're in a long-term relationship, you may neglect to kiss as often and passionately as you once did when you were first dating.
2. Hug for one minute every day.
Hugging increases your physical and emotional intimacy. It makes you both feel safe, secure and comforted.
3. Surprise each other weekly.
Do something for your partner every week that's novel and unexpected to give him or her a boost of happiness.
4. Write a love poem for your beloved.
It can be silly or serious, short or long. You don't have to be a wordsmith or poet. Just craft a poem to express how much you love your partner.
5. Talk about sex more often.
Don't allow discomfort to prevent you from talking about sex with each other. Make a regular date to have a sex talk so you can share your fantasies and needs.
6. Have inside jokes.
There are funny situations and sayings that the two of you share. Make a point of keeping your inside jokes just between the two of you to increase your intimacy.
7. Make funny faces during fights.
It's pretty hard to stay mad when you have to make silly faces while fighting. Resolve to never have a fight without at least a few funny faces involved.
8. Paint each other's toenails on alternate Tuesday nights.
Because why not? It seems like a good goal to keep life fun and light.
How to Set Relationship Goals
Most people who are married or in a serious relationship need tips and ideas to ensure they keep the love alive and the bond close.
Unfortunately, not many couples take the time to set goals for their marriage or love relationship. But it doesn't have to be a complicated process.
Here's what you can do:
- Set aside a time when you are both relaxed and available for a sit-down.
- Make sure you won't be interrupted or distracted.
- Grab a pen and paper for each of you.
- Create several categories for your goals such as career, finances, children, travel, etc.
- Take turns sharing goal ideas for each category, and write them all down on your paper.
- Review everything you've written and refine your list. Save any goals you don't agree on to discuss later (with or without a couples' counselor).
- Choose your top 3 to 4 goal priorities and brainstorm action steps to reach these goals.
- Write down the action steps and post them where you can see them every day and stay accountable.
- Set weekly meetings to discuss your progress and how your goals are impacting your intimacy and connection.
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 couples' tool belt can make a huge difference in the quality of your connection and your overall happiness.