NYC Psychotherapist Blog

power by WikipediaMindmap

Monday, December 27, 2021

7 Tips For Creating a Stronger Relationship With Relationship Goals

New relationships can be fun and exciting as the two of you are carried along with the dopamine high of new relationship energy.  But after that initial stage of novelty and excitement, if you want a long term relationship, you and your partner will need to do more to ensure that your relationship remains strong and gets through the inevitable rough patches that all long term relationships go through (see my article: Relationships: Creating a Safe Haven For Each Other).

One way to ensure that your relationship remains healthy and strong is to create relationship goals.  This article is the first in a series to focus on this topic.

Creating Relationship Goals to Develop a Stronger Relationship

What is a Relationship Goal?
A relationship goal is a mutual value, outcome or viewpoint that you share with each other.  You and your partner can use relationship goals to inspire and motivate you as a couple, and give you something worthwhile to look forward to together.  Aside from enhancing your relationship, relationship goals prioritize your relationship and provide meaning and direction  to strive together for a better future.  

Why Create Relationship Goals?
A couple is made up of two separate individuals with their own wants and needs.  If you're going to succeed as a couple, you both need to be on the same page, which means that your focus needs to be "we" while maintaining your own individuality (see my article: Growing as an Individual While in a Relationship)

When you create goals for your relationship, you get to know each other on a deeper level by exploring what's important to each of you.  Rather than assuming you know what your partner wants, you both get specific about what you want for your life together, and part of that process might involve compromise, which is an important skill to develop in a long term relationship (see my article: What Are the 5 Love Languages? and What If You and Your Partner Have Different Love Languages?).

Relationship goals can also help you to get through the inevitable challenges that everyone faces in life.  By knowing what's most important to you as a couple, you can prioritize where you focus your attention.  Also, knowing what your goals are as a couple enables you to support each other's hopes and dreams.

Tips on How to Create Relationship Goals
Although every couple will have a different set of goals for their relationship depending upon each individual's wants and needs, their ages and life stage, the stage of their relationship and particular circumstances, here are some basic tips for creating relationship goals:
  • Take Time Individually to Think About What You Want: Before you get together as a couple to talk about your hopes and dreams for the future, take some time on your own to think about what's most important to you in the next year, five years and longer term.  Try to be specific but also be flexible.
  • Choose a Time and Place: Choose a time and place where you'll have privacy without distractions or interruptions to discuss your individual lists (put away the phones, turn off the computer and TV).  Decide beforehand how much time you want to spend during your first discussion and recognize that you'll probably need to have at least several discussions to come up with specific plans.  
  • Stay Openminded and Respectful as You Listen to Your Partner's Goals: It's important that each person feel respected and heard, so instead of interrupting, listen to your partner respectfully (see my article: Improve Your Communication in Your Relationship).
  • Have Fun Setting Your Goals: Although goal setting is important, it doesn't have to be too serious.  Appreciate how you're coming together to strengthen your relationship and enjoy the excitement that comes with planning a life together.
  • Strive For Compromise: If you and your partner aren't on the same page about a particular goal, try to compromise on goals as best as you can without compromising yourself.  
  • Make a Plan For Larger Goals: After you have both agreed on your goals as a couple, make a plan for each of your larger goals.  Goals that lack specificity and a plan will be vague and are less likely to succeed.
  • Be Flexible as Change Occurs: It's important to be specific and concrete, but goal setting doesn't have to be carved in stone. It's more of a road map to get you to where you want to go.  When circumstances change, you can revisit your goals together and make adjustments as changes are needed.
In my next article I'll continue the discussion with examples of relationship goals: 10 Relationship Goals to Create a Stronger Relationship).

Getting Help in Therapy
If you've been struggling on your own, know that you're not alone.

A skilled psychotherapist can help you to overcome obstacles that are keeping you from maximizing your potential.

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a licensed mental health professional.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 or email me.