Guest Post: Strengthen Your Relationship with Shared Goals

Hello everyone! I’m coming to you from the great multi-colored cloud of activities, events, obligations, stress, thoughts, and feelings that has become my life. My hope is that one day the cloud will separate so all parts of my life fall perfectly into their own categories and I can take a breather… but until that blessed day comes, I am happy to share a wonderful post from my friends at First Beat Media.

I was approached by First Beat Media quite some time ago. The company focuses on online dating niche and similar services, and a content manager of theirs happened across Wine Dipped Quill. Some of my posts resonated with him to the point where he opted to get in touch with me and discuss options of guest posting. Being ever enthusiastic to grow my blogosphere network, I jumped on the idea. So without further ado, here is a wonderful article on sharing goals to strengthen your relationships brought to you by the authors of First Beat Media…

Every romantic relationship is a combination of three lives. Yours, your partner’s, and the life you share together. The strongest relationships, counseling professionals agree, strike an effective balance between the partners’ individual lives and their shared life as a couple.

It’s hard to make the shared life a priority, experts say. Work responsibilities, personal commitments, family issues, separate interests…all of these factors tend to draw partners into their separate lives.

One of the best ways for couples to sustain their connection is to set goals that both partners share. Whether you’re just entering your first romantic partnership or you’re eligible for senior dating status, you can benefit from establishing shared goals in your relationship.

WHAT SHARED GOALS ARE – AND AREN’T
Many couples put a lot of energy into relationship goals. They try to improve their communications, to show affection more often, to work on compromise skills.

Those goals are important, but they are not what we’re talking about today. They don’t have the same impact as working together on a shared external goal.

For example, some couples set shared fitness goals. They agree to modify their diet, to work out together, and to support each other in nixing unhealthy habits. Adopting shared fitness goals can give you and your partner more quality time together, improve your physical and mental health, help you make new friends who share your interest in physical fitness, appreciate and understand each other’s bodies more, and have better sex. That’s a lot of benefits!

WHY SHARED GOALS ARE IMPORTANT
Sharing common goals can help you get past the ups and downs that come into any relationship. Your perspective includes a bigger picture based on saving up for a down payment or sending one of you through college.

Talking about your goals helps keep you focused on the life you share with your partner instead of external details like your job or the problems you’re having with your car. You and your partner get closer every time you talk about your progress toward your goals.

Shared goals give you a purpose. They point you toward a vision. Maybe your goals include recycling more or volunteering in your community. Sharing the goal with your partner not only makes it more likely you will stick to your commitment, but it will strengthen your relationship.

HOW TO ESTABLISH SHARED GOALS

The first step in creating shared goals in your relationship is simply to talk about your values. What are your dreams? What makes life worthwhile to you? How would you like to make life better for yourself, your family, and your community? Exploring these issues with your partner can lead to a productive brainstorming session.

Then start small. Identify one or two small, easily accomplished steps toward achieving your goal. Maybe you’ll take lunch to work with you twice a week instead of buying unhealthy fast food at the company cafeteria. Maybe you’ll set aside an hour for reading two or three nights a week. Start with little tasks that you can accomplish easily.

Give each other plenty of reinforcement and praise for succeeding at the little steps – and understanding if you slip. Keep your eye on the big prize and understand that the little steps are cumulative.

Over time, ramp up your agreements until you have changed your relationship by making your shared goal central. Talk about your progress.

REAP THE REWARDS
Making shared goals the center of your relationship makes them the center of your life too. You’ll find new alignment between your personal life and your life as part of a couple. The distinction will start to merge and in the long run your conception of yourself as a distinct person will blend with your understanding that you are part of your relationship. The same process is happening with your partner. Commitment to shared goals makes your relationship stronger – even if you don’t go to couples camp and learn new communications skills and conflict resolution strategies.

Don’t be surprised if your life feels more meaningful. You might be embarrassed at first, ordering a salad when you go to lunch with co-workers. Don’t be. Tell them that you and your partner are working on eating in a more healthy way, or losing weight together, or eating less meat. Your friends will respect you for it and you’ll have the satisfaction of supporting your relationship even when you aren’t there in the house with your partner.

Imagine how happy you and your partner will be when you buy that house or earn that diploma or hit that target weight. You did it – and you did it together. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment and it will help make your relationship stronger and more fulfilling.

Why not start today?

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