In episode 7 of the Transforming Relationships podcast, Diane Rooker tackles the last of the Five Pillars of a strong relationship: Goals and Direction. Diane explains that without goals and direction in a relationship, it quickly grows stale and couples can drift apart. So, find out why goals and direction matter and how you can make them one of the five pillars of your relationship.
Pillar 5 – Goals & Direction in Relationships
In the previous episode, we looked at Pillar 4 Compromise and change. This is the 7th episode on the 5th Pillar on Goals & Direction.
Goals are ideas and desires which can be achieved by planning and taking action. Taking action is important.
Being clear on what, how, when, where, etc. is also important. When this is clear then the plan can be actioned and in time the goal can be achieved, we all feel a sense of satisfaction when this occurs.
New Relationships vs Long Term Relationships
When a couple first begins their relationship, they have so many common goals… goals are easy to make when the relationship is new and exciting, the couple does nearly everything together…. they plan holidays, dinners out, and eventually, make plans to live together, etc. This tells us that the couple does have the ability to make and achieve goals.
As time goes by life gets a little more serious, and the couple begins to spend less time together, being a part of life catches up with them and other things become more of a priority, if they don’t have a clear direction as to where the relationship is going (and let’s face it the majority of new couples don’t really talk about their relationship in a way that would create a deeper level of understanding of each others needs as the relationship begins to progress.)
Topics that are uncomfortable to discuss are usually pushed down because the declaration of feelings could lead to a possible confrontation between the couple, so the attitude of “don’t rock the boat if we don’t need to” could be applied. These topics…. even though they are not communicated at the time are still present because they have not been addressed and will sit between the couple keeping them further apart.
The result of this is that one or both of the couple can become unhappy because they are not getting their needs met that are required within a relationship and this could be as simple as having fun, and laughing together, or just organising to have quality time together. Although these may seem like small issues… these small issues or desires if not discussed can have a snowball effect on the relationship and can develop into something that gets in the way of the couple and begins to push them further apart. Communication is always the best way to go regardless of how uncomfortable it can be, practice makes progress.
The Importance of Having Goals in a Relationship
Having Goals to strive for are very beneficial for couples…. For many reasons here are a few;
- They can support the couple in feeling secure and happy within their relationship, they are on the same team, not doing it alone.
- There is a plan in place, and men especially feel more comfortable knowing that there is a plan to follow.
- The couple can feel satisfied knowing that there is something to look forward to, something they are working towards together and there will be a reward for all the sacrifices they are making while working towards their goal. There is a purpose to their life together.
- Needs will be met – needs are important too. Goals ensure you get your needs met.
- They have a shared purpose and this builds an even stronger connection between the couple. A couple who are striving for the same things have direction in their life, which can also contribute to the feeling of belonging and worthiness. The opposite can be feeling loneliness and isolation. If you are feeling lonely and on your own in your relationship at this time, maybe take some time and think about what, or if any goals you and your partner are working towards together, maybe you have never discussed this as an option in your relationship and if this is the case then this podcast could be life-changing for your relationship.
As human beings, every behavior is to get needs met and goals are part of those needs the biggest cause of couples’ unhappiness is because they are not getting their needs met.
Are you beginning to understand just how important it is to have goals in a relationship, goals help the couple to stay on the same path and walk in the same direction.
Types of Goals for a Couple
There are so many parts to a relationship which also include our personal needs as individuals, so I will break them up for you and we can have a look at them in a little more detail.
1. Relationship Goals:
These are about the couple, they can be a little more personal, each couple will have goals that are unique to them only because their relationship is unique, no two are alike, and there are no right or wrong goals as long as you both agree to the goals or at least have made a compromise that is mutually satisfying.
Here are a few examples of relationship goals;
- To be vulnerable
- To improve how to communicate more effectively
- Make the relationship a priority
- To align core values and beliefs
- Know what your partner’s love language is
- Make regular time to talk about your relationship, what’s working well, and what’s not
- To be open and honest with our feelings
- Have fun times together
- Long and short-term goals
- Short-term could be to have a regular date night and Friday night is family – pizza night, Go for a drive out of town on a regular basis
- Longer-term goals could be to save for the more expensive items such as a caravan, or a holiday, etc they can be as big as your imagination allows them to be.
2. Personal Goals
Having personal Individual goals is also very important and it’s important not to lose yourself in the relationship, knowing what you need such as hobbies….by achieving your personal goals you are going to be a happier person, which means a happier partner and parent and you can bring this back into the relationship, by sharing something new with your partner.
These goals can be;
- Personal development,
- Being more self-aware,
- Learning to control emotions,
- Seeing friends more
What is good for one will not be good for the other. These are individual goals.
Results of Having no Direction in a Relationship
Can you imagine if a couple had no goals at all, they were just floundering through life, just like a fish on a jetty, allowing life to do them, there is a lot of action happening but it’s wasted energy. Life can then seem unfulfilling and this may engage emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, and hopelessness, which will have an effect on the couple.
When a couple begins to have a family they can start to lose sight of the partnership and focus more on the children which at the time is essential. But there is a time to come back again as a couple. That usually begins to happen when the youngest has turned two. Before that age, the infant does require the mother’s attention. Things have changed quite a bit and there are more babies in childcare than ever before and the couple is then faced with feelings of guilt and as a result may focus more of their efforts on the children than on their partnership, anyway that’s an entire another podcast…..
The main message I would like to get across is that the partnership came before parenting and there needs to be a time to come back together again as a couple.
And this comes back down to prioritizing the relationship and to do this the couple needs to be self-aware and have awareness of how the relationship is traveling. Most couples that I see come at a time in their relationship where they are walking not only on eggshells but also on separate paths and these paths are moving further and further away from each other. I’m sure that a few of you can relate to that and to change this the couple needs to make plans to move closer in alignment with each other once again.
How to Mention This to Your Partner
If you are wanting to have more goals and to move in the same direction with your partner then maybe it’s time to have a chat together and the best way to approach this would be to communicate effectively. This and this may sound something like this.
“ Hey, I would really love to have goals that we are working towards together, what do you think “
That was easy, wasn’t it. When you ask what do you think? you are saying you value their opinion and you are showing respect for their thoughts.
You could also mention that you would like to be more connected with them and would like to work as a team and a way to do this is if we can have a couple of goals. What do you think? It’s always good to give context such as why you would like to have this as then the request makes more sense and fewer assumptions can be made to fill the unspoken gaps.
How Not to Approach Your Partner
“ We do not do anything together” or “You never have time for me”
That’s not going to be well received and you won’t get a good result. Share with your partner the different types of goals there are… and maybe come up with a list together, then compromise on what order to place the goals in. This conversation is a great opportunity to apply your communication skills which you would have received from my previous podcast.
A little tip here,… which is a bit random but good to know is…. that when a woman makes a statement such as “ I would like a new kitchen” the man usually thinks she means it to happen ASAP and he may get a little overwhelmed at the thought and becomes a little emotional which could be anger, frustration etc and could lead to words being said that can not be taken back. Maybe say something like “One day” it will be nice to have a new kitchen.
Time to be Practical
Having a goal is great and the process of achieving this goal needs to be realistic, and what I mean by this is….. we need to know how we are going to achieve this goal. 1stly understanding what exactly it is that we are wanting to achieve and how are we going to do this, the clearer you are the more it becomes achievable.
Example of an unclear goal
Let’s make a goal to go to Europe but there is no clarity on where or when or how. No plans have been made to know what are we going to see or do the only goal that has been set is that we are going to Europe one day. Do you think this goal will be achieved? Do you think this goal will excite the couple? I think this type of planning would be the source of frustration because it can be a confusing goal because it is so unclear.
Having a clear goal
We are going to Europe in September 2025 for 6 weeks, we will be going to Italy for 5 days we will be staying in three different parts of Italy which are …. then we are off to France for two weeks seeing blah blah blah.
Now this level of clarity becomes excitement because we can visualise these places so they become very real. Once again you need to use your communication skills to negotiate the how, when, what, etc but I’m sure you will be fine.
I hope you have enjoyed this podcast on Goals and Direction and you have taken away a few pearls of wisdom that can be used in your relationship.
Being in a relationship that is happy and satisfying does take effort and commitment, stay awake in your relationship be present to what your needs are, and share them with your partner.
Dare to dream your wildest dreams and make them a reality, this is your life, make it a masterpiece.
Thank you for listening