Don’t let the humdrum day-to-day routine drag your marriage into a slump. Refresh your relationship by revisiting (and refreshing) your goals. Here’s how to set goals with your partner in nine steps.
RECAPTURE YOUR HONEYMOON DREAMS
Remember when you were newlyweds and you had a list of remarkable dreams — all those things you planned to do for yourself and as a couple? Where did the time go? And more importantly, where did the dreams go? Often in marriage, day-to-day responsibilities overtake those dreams. That’s why it is essential for couples to press “pause” and reevaluate the status of their life together. Looking back and ahead by setting new goals in all areas from money to sex to kids to travel and more has tremendous benefit to a marriage. So grab your pen, paper and your wildest dreams, and get ready to make them come true.
WHY SET GOALS?
Helps couples strengthen their relationship by working as a team toward a common aim.
Improves communication because it gives each person a chance to talk about personal dreams and desires, and helps partners understand themselves and each other better.
Validates desires and holds you accountable to each other.
Can be the glue that holds you together during even the most challenging times.
Provides tremendous satisfaction when objectives are achieved and gives a couple reason to celebrate.
HOW TO SET GOALS
1. Make a list
First, individually (and privately) create a list of goals. Set an appointment with each other to share your lists, making sure you have ample time to truly search your soul and uncover what is important to you as an individual, as a couple and as a family, if applicable. Include practical and shoot-for-the-moon goals.
Try one of these exercises to get your juices flowing:
Write a mission statement for your life/lives. Determine its noble purpose, and then your goal list will become the path to getting there.
Ask yourself, “What values are important to me/my marriage?” (ie, security, teamwork, happiness). From there, you can clearly define what to do to achieve a better state for each.
Examine the basic areas of life (physical environment, fun and recreation, love, health, finances, career, personal development, friends/family) and rate your satisfaction level with each on a scale of 1 to 10. This will help you know what needs focus in your life.
Imagine yourself running into an old friend five years from now. As you debrief her on life, what would you be proud to say? Include at the very least career, family, love and personal growth markers.
Picture reading the book of your life. What would make for the most compelling story? What character traits, life experiences, etc. do you have in your story?
When it is time to share your goals, make an evening of it. This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know your partner better and bond your relationship, so treat it specially. When sharing goals, be sure not to criticize, no matter how farfetched the idea is. Encouraging words only are allowed in this step. Reality checks come later.
Combine your lists, organizing them by individual, joint and family goals. Prioritize each area and then the list as a whole, ensuring that you give each person’s respective individual goals equal attention.
5. Get specific
Once you’ve zeroed in on the most important goals, get specific about how you will achieve them together. For each goal, even an individual one, both members should play a role. Couple goal setting is as much about achieving your actual goals as it is about strengthening your bond.
6. Be S.M.A.R.T.
See if your mapped-out goals pass the time-tested S.M.A.R.T. test. Are your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive? If not, revise the goal and/or plan until it meets these criteria.
7. Write them down
Write down your goals and the path to achievement, clearly. Post them where you both can see them, such as on a bathroom mirror.
8. Be flexible
Be flexible with your goals. Set mini-milestones or intermediary checkpoints for reevaluation. Don’t hesitate to modify the goal or timeline as needed. Remember that progress is success.
When you reach your goals, or even sub goals, celebrate! Celebrations help keep you motivated.
HOW TO TALK TO MEN
For women, talking to men can be difficult and intimidating. Because men and women are on different levels, sometimes it can feel like you’re not getting through to your partner and vice versa. When talking to men, there is really just one thing that women should know, and it will make your life a lot easier.