Ask couples what they really desire in their relationship, and there will be many varied answers. But those answers come down to closeness and intimacy. We all want to move through time with our loved one in ways that make us feel we have a sense of purpose with each other. We need a vision of a happy future; that we can share and make our dreams happen together. Couples want to know their partner will be there for them and they will work as a team to make their life meaningful.
However, many couples get stuck as they move through time together because of HOW they deal with the disappointments and difficult circumstances that come their way. The longer the time between processing difficult events and miscommunications, the more attitudes are affected. This can lead to resentment, regrets, and bitterness. We hold things inside and don’t work through them together. And so, not communicating well and not resolving issues become negative cycles couples perpetuate over and over.
What happens when couples don’t change the cycle?
- Feelings become more and more negative about each other
- Couples feel less close and intimacy fades
- Friendship deteriorates
- Sensitivity to words, tone, and nonverbal behaviors increases
- Time together and fun disappear
- Dreams don’t become realities
- Anger, avoidance, withdrawal, and/or fights increase
- Defensiveness becomes the default response
- Hearts are hurt
Creating Couple Goals
One of the ways we change the cycle is by creating and maintaining goals as a couple. Almost all of us have goals we want to attain. Those are usually personal goals around health and wellbeing or business goals for what we want to accomplish vocationally. Sometimes we will even have some goals for updating our house, acquiring a large purchase, or for financial security. But few couples spend any time or effort creating goals for their coupleship!
If you think about the list above of what happens when cycles don’t change, the opposite is what will happen when relationship goals do become a focus for couples. Michael Hyatt has a great plan for creating goals so people can have their “Best Year Ever.” We believe we can adapt these steps and plans in a way that every couple can apply to their relationship.
Just 6 Simple Steps
Imagine More: Dream about what you would most like to accomplish as a couple in the next year. Start a list together. Brainstorm your hopes; don’t be afraid of being unrealistic. Don’t let cynicism get you stuck!
Eliminate Limiting Beliefs: These are the things you tell yourself, usually internally, about why you CAN’T do something, or change something in your relationship. (We don’t have time, we can’t change, he/she won’t or can’t do it, we don’t have the money, etc.) Write these down. Then write down the positive statement that refutes it. Practice the new belief. Belief is the key.
Process the past: Identify what has held you back. Look at the past and see where you have gotten blocked. Have you stopped having fun, spending time together? Is your conflict harsh and getting you gridlocked? Are there particular events you need to work through together? Put the steps in place to work through these areas together. Hyatt says there are 4 basic elements here: 1) state what you wanted to happen, 2) acknowledge what actually happened, 3) learn from the experience, and 4) adjust your behavior accordingly.
Keep going – Just 3 more….
Define what areas of your relationship you need goals: Do you need goals in terms of your affection, emotional connection, spirituality, social time together, with friends or family, parenting, fun, activities and hobbies together, finances? Decide what domains have been lacking and put your imagination to work! Try to stick to 5-7 goals for best results.
Create SMARTER goals: Hyatt uses the basic 5 goals, but modifies them. Goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Risky (in terms of not making them too comfortable/easy), Time-Keyed, Exciting (who wants dull and boring?) and Relevant.
FOLLOW UP: Making goals is the most important part, but without regular, systematic evaluating of your progress and re-COMMITING to your goals, dreams rarely will come true!
In the Next 6 Months/6 Simple Steps/ You’ve GOT this!
What would the next six months look like if you got rid of some pesky old behaviors, negative cycles and beliefs that hold you back, and had a plan for more hope in your relationship? Hmm. Sounds life changing!
What the biggest struggle with goals you currently have? Let us know in the comment box below or shoot us an email.