A couple of years ago I had a series on the blog that I used to set monthly goals that would make me become a better wife and make my marriage stronger. Although I don't share my marriage goals here anymore, I still set them on a regular basis. In addition to the goals that I set on my own, Joe and I set goals together to improve our marriage. The first time I talked about this on social media, a lot of people said that the concept of setting goals together wasn't something they'd thought about doing before. So I thought I'd start off the new year sharing some tips to help you set goals as a couple!
Read: The Secret to Successful Goal Setting as a Couple
Discuss which areas of your marriage need improvement
Maybe you want to work on dating each other again or you might want to improve your communication. You may also choose to work on one thing in multiple areas of your marriage. Make a list of those things that you want to improve on. Not all of your goals have to be relationship focused. You might have a goal of going on more trips together or completing projects that you've been talking about doing forever. The sky is the limit. And you don't have to tackle everything at once, but having everything written down will give you somewhere to start.
Decide what needs to be done to make the improvements
Now that you know where you want to make improvements, what are you going to do to make those improvements? If you've chosen to date each other more, decide what that means. If you want to improve your communication, are there specific topics that you need to work on that communication in? Be open and willing to hear your spouse's ideas. They might have a different perspective than you, but their thoughts are valuable and their concerns and proposed improvements for your relationship are just as warranted as yours.
Determine a timeline
When do you want to complete your goals? Joe and I sat down the week of our five year anniversary this past year and set goals for where we want to be and what we want to have accomplished together and personally over the next five years. Since it's the beginning of a new year, you may want to set goals for the next twelve months. Because our anniversary falls in June, I've thought that the new year and our anniversary would be the perfect times every year to reevaluate and set new goals.
Set mini milestones to help you reach the end goal
Goals can be daunting if you don't break them down into smaller goals. When we set goals for the next five years of our marriage, we also wrote down what we'll need to do each year to get there and then set even smaller goals for the first year of those five to help us reach the goals that we'd set for that specific year of our marriage.
If you've set a goal in your marriage to build up your savings to a specific amount, that large sum can seem out of reach. Break that sum down into monthly increments, based on the timeline of your goal. Then determine what you need to do each month in order to be able to set that amount aside. Maybe that means eating out less, using gift cards for date night or even having a month where you don't spend any extra money.
Whatever you goal or your timeline is, make it more doable by breaking it into smaller, more attainable goals. When you've accomplished what you set out to do, you'll be surprised by how easy it was!
Work together as a team
As you work toward achieving your goals, remember that you are in this together! Your purpose when setting goals should not be to become a better person than your spouse, but to become better individuals together and consequently, become a better team. If your partner is doing something that hinders the progress that you are making on your goals, be sure to talk to them about it. Your weekly meetings would be the perfect opportunity for a talk.
A few years ago, when Joe and I were trying to stick to a budget and save up some extra money, I became concerned that his getting breakfast and/or lunch each day was eating into the funds that we could be using to help us reach our goal. I brought it up while we were talking about our finances one day and came prepared to discuss the ways that I could help him stick to our goal. We got some easy to grab breakfast options and started putting together leftovers and lunch options the night before. Rather than attacking him on it, I talked to him about the overall picture, how much we could be contributing to our savings each month if he weren't eating out quite so much, and let him know that I was willing to help him since we were in this as a team.
Whether you are setting goals for your own personal growth, goals to strengthen your marriage, or goals as a couple to help you get further ahead in life, you can work together as a team to accomplish them. Make your spouse's goals your own and help them succeed in any way possible. You're on this journey through life together and your individual successes are just as much of a success for your partner as the things that you set out to accomplish together.
Tip: Plan a date night dedicated to setting goals together. Go out to eat at one of your favorite restaurants or, order takeout to eat after the kids are in bed. Put your phones away, turn off the TV, and spend a couple of hours talking about the ways that you want to improve your relationship. This assessment might be perfect for helping you discover which areas of your marriage need some attention.
Also, check out this Year of Goal Setting Printable Set from The Dating Divas! It's the perfect thing to help you set and keep goals in your marriage this year.
What goals will you set for your marriage this year?