Relationship goals: 10 things to strive for in a healthy relationship – Insider
“Relationship goals” is a phrase we hear a lot these days, especially on social media. But what relationship goals should we actually be striving for?
It’s about much more than lavish vacations or cute matching outfits. There are many aspects of relationships that can always be improved, which can help you to set relationship goals for a healthy and happy partnership.
Here are 10 relationship goals to strive for with your partner.
In relationships, disagreements are inevitable. When you feel triggered and angry, a relationship goal you can strive for is to be able to calmly communicate with your partner — rather than resort to yelling to get your point across when emotions are running hot.
“In these moments, you can work on sharing what you are feeling and observing in a calm way. You can learn to co-regulate and de-escalate the situation,” says Katie Ziskind, LMFT, therapist and owner of Wisdom Within Counseling.
While this is easier said than done, a 2017 study found that couples who practiced effective, positive communication were more satisfied in their relationships.
Addressing your issues together as a team rather than fighting each other can help you to fight more fairly. You may be tempted to argue about who’s right or wrong, but it’s far more productive to actually tackle these problems head-on.
“Remember: You are on the same side and the issue is the enemy – not your partner. When couples can keep this in mind, they will be better able to navigate challenges that arise in the relationship,” says Janika Veasley, LMFT, therapist and owner of Amavi Therapy Center.
A 2019 study found that focusing on issues with clear solutions, and taking an overall solution-oriented approach to arguments, are linked to happier relationships.
In a healthy relationship with great communication, you should aim to share your honest thoughts and feelings without guilt, shame, or fear, says Cassandra Fallon, LMFT, therapist and Regional Clinic Director at Thriveworks.
Get comfortable opening up, and encourage your partner to do the same. “Open honesty can promote truthfulness and transparency, encouraging an overall healthy relationship that eradicates problems or conflicts rather than ignoring they exist,” says Fallon.
Being able to recover well from a fight allows you to repair your connection with your partner. You’ll be able to understand that you got off track, and share the common goal of getting back on the right track. “The solution is healthy dialogue and creating understanding for both partners in order to make up and remain connected,” says Veasley.
But after you’ve talked out the problem, it can sometimes be difficult to move past a fight and on to normal life. To break the tension, try giving your partner a big, long hug to connect physically. Or you can try getting up and doing something physical like dancing to shift your mood.
Your partner should support you and allow you to do things on your own without guilt-tripping you or expressing jealousy.
You both have the right to enjoy your lives separately, even though you are a couple. “Having an individual identity and developing ourselves as humans with our own support groups, interests, and activities supports being an independent and fulfilled force in the world,” says Fallon.
When it comes to your sex life, there’s always room for improvement –– whether that means finally trying something you’ve always wanted to, being more comfortable giving (and taking) direction in the bedroom, or seeing a sex therapist together.
Improving your sex life can help improve your emotional intimacy and communication, helping you feel even closer to your partner, Ziskind says.
A 2017 study found that couples who experience mood boosts and greater wellbeing from sex are more likely to remain satisfied in their relationship long term.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hassles of everyday life and forget to have fun with your partner. Ziskind says engaging in play can be an outlet for stress, and it can incorporate pleasure into your relationship. Do whatever works for you, whether that’s playing some classic board games or going out to play a sport together.
Relationships shouldn’t remain stagnant. You should want to grow, which can be easier to do when you have the same or similar values. “Knowing that you and your partner have the same values and beliefs ensures that you are working toward the same future and creating the same path to get there,” says Veasley.
A 2016 study found that married couples who reported shared values had happier marriages –– and even higher individual well-being.
Of course, feeling love in a partnership is important, but you should also feel valued and respected in a healthy relationship. You should aim to make your partner feel the same way by expressing regular gratitude and pointing out specific things that you value about your partner.
. “When you can communicate that you value and respect your partner, it deepens the connection and creates trust between both people to create a long-lasting relationship,” says Veasley.
While you’re busy investing time into work or other obligations, don’t forget to invest in your relationship. Fallon says you should be in touch with your goals for the relationship to ensure that you’re both on the same page. You can do this by setting aside time regularly, such as once a week, to connect and touch base, Fallon says. This time can also be used for planning date nights or romantic trips.
Meeting these goals won’t be quick and easy. It’s no secret that relationships take work –– and if you want your relationship to really thrive, it’s going to take even more. You and your partner must actively strive to make changes that better the relationship so you can remain satisfied in your partnership and grow closer than ever.