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A genuine relationship is far more than cute relationship goals. Whether you’re just starting out with a new partner or you’re getting ready to make a lifetime commitment to another person, it’s worth reflecting on what makes for real relationship goals, those things that will improve your love and help it last for a lifetime.
What should you be striving for in your partnership? What truly matters when it comes to the bond between two people?
Table of Contents
What are Relationship Goals?
First, let’s talk about the definition of relationship goals.
We live in an age when the term relationship goals has become a part of the trendy vernacular. It’s more a hashtag than anything else, but we all seem to know what it means.
A beautiful photo of a stunning couple walking on the beach? Relationship goals. A cute text message sent from a boyfriend to his girlfriend? Relationship goals. The perfect wedding? Relationship goals.
All of these things are sweet and enviable, of course, but what do they really tell us?
While traveling to tropical destinations with your sexy partner is an absolute dream, it doesn’t automatically equate to a great relationship. And while the picture-perfect wedding is the stuff of bride magazine fantasies, it does not guarantee a happy marriage.
Ultimately, the couples goals we toss around on the Internet today are mostly just fluff: surface-level goals of an ideal lifestyle and an ideal love story.
But if you’ve ever been in a serious relationship, you probably know that the ideal love story is…well, a myth.
Love is not all butterflies, fireworks, and passion. Relationships are not just kisses and cuddling and date nights. Love is so much more. It’s work, it’s effort, it’s often not very glamorous.
But when you build something incredible together, something that involves your sweat and tears and your commitment and your selflessness, then….then you can say you’ve reached true relationship goals.
Should you be striving to meet goals in a relationship? We absolutely think so. So we’ve created a list of goals for relationships that we believe are worth pursuing. These are things that go deeper, that are authentic, real, and meaningful. You won’t find this to be a fleeting list of relationship goals.
And while this is a great list, it’s not comprehensive. Feel free to create your own unique goals as a couple. There are so many things worth working toward together.
Examples of Real Relationship Goals
Working on building the best relationship of your life? Awesome. Here are some goals for a healthy relationship: practical things to focus on with your partner.
Relationship Goal #1: Make it through hard times together.
One of your long-term relationship goals should be dealing with some sh*t together. You’re kidding yourself if you think that love is always easy-breezy and that coupledom will be (or should be) conflict-free.
Nope. Those who “never fight” are more than likely bottling up some issues. Tackling conflict with your partner is one of the key ways to grow and bond. We’re all human and we’re all flawed, and some of the strongest relationships are those which have gone through the toughest times.
If you can handle what life throws at you, together, you’re laying an amazingly solid foundation for your future. (See our post on getting through hard times as a couple).
While few of us can say that “going through dark times” is something we’d add to our relationship goals list, the point is to be ready for the bad moments when they come, embrace them, and know that there’s beauty on the other side.
Relationship Goal #2: Encourage one another’s dreams (both shared and independent).
A lot of the typical romantic, soul-matey type language uses phrases like “your other half.” Even the romantic comedy Jerry Maguire made famous the words “you complete me.”
But it’s a fallacy that another person completes you. You’re not only half a person until you are coupled up. Not only does this idea set you up for an unhealthy kind of dependency… it also puts undue pressure on a relationship and on another person. It says, “someone else is responsible for my happiness.”
Instead, in a relationship two complete people come together by choice, bringing their whole selves to the union. These are two separate identities made better and stronger by their partnership. And you and you alone hold the responsibility for your happiness—not your partner.
Long story short, holding onto your independence is important, and not erasing who you were is vital. Hanging onto your dreams. Continuing to follow them. These are realistic relationship goals.
But here’s where it gets better.
When you’re in a relationship with a genuine partner, you get to help one another reach those goals! The shared support, encouragement, and celebration is absolutely wonderful and makes every achievement that much sweeter.
Not only that, but you now have dreams to build on together.
Looking for a real relationship goal to strive towards? Make a commitment to help your partner move a little closer towards their dreams and goals.
Relationship Goal #3: Have multiple relationships…with the same person.
One of the most beautiful relationship quotes we’ve heard is this:
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin
This is such a fascinating concept.
While you could find time to have a half dozen or more meaningful relationships during your lifetime, wouldn’t the ultimate relationship goal be to have those 6 relationships with just one person?
We as people are constantly changing and evolving. It makes sense that the person you are at 20 (and the person you’re with) are going to be vastly different by 32, 45, or 70.
Knowing and accepting this equips you to adapt together, and reminds you to check in periodically to make sure you’re continuing to grow in the same direction.
It’s also a great lesson that people are endlessly fascinating. While you might think that being with one person “for the rest of your life” sounds boring, stop to consider that you’re really going to be in a relationship with several different versions of that person. hat’s bound to be a thrilling adventure. You’ll continually be learning new things about each other, especially if you make the time to have conversations and ask meaningful questions.
Relationship Goal #4: Become the best versions of yourselves.
While you’re changing and transforming during your lifetime, it’s wise to work on becoming a better person than you were yesterday. This is a gift both to yourself and to your partner (and it is the epitome of healthy relationship goals).
Growth is a huge part of realizing your potential in life. In your partnership, make the effort to grow into an increasingly more awesome version of yourself. Consider your values, morals, and character. Can you improve on these things? Certainly, we all can.
What about specifically in your relationship?
Aim to be a partner who is always working towards being the best they can be, and you’ll find your relationship reaps bountiful rewards over and over.
You may find, too, that your couple relationship goals change and transform as you yourselves change and transform. Growth = adaptation and that’s great.
Relationship Goal #5: Fulfill a lifetime of vows and commitments.
Keeping your vows? Now that’s actual relationship goals.
Whether or not you choose to get married, commitment is still a massive part of any relationship, and there’s no doubt that it can be tough. It’s a more difficult struggle for some than others, but nevertheless, it’s asking a lot for a person to commit to loving one person for life.
Does this mean we shouldn’t get married, or shouldn’t commit to one another? Does this mean monogamy doesn’t work? We don’t think that’s the case.
Instead, we think it highlights the sacrifices and the effort required by marriage or by a long-term relationship. After all, these are long term relationship goals!
It may, in fact, be actual work to hold to your vows and stick to your promises….but what a legacy, huh?
Remaining true to your word and true to a partner shows unfathomable respect for that other person. It demonstrates that you’re putting your commitment above all else. The foundation of trust this yields is strong as an oak.
Honoring your commitments in love says innumerable things about you as a person, and without a doubt is going to go a long way towards keeping your relationship solid.
Relationship Goal #6: Learn one another’s love language—and learn how to speak it.
Do you know what the love languages are?
One of the most romantic relationship goals we can think of is learning how to love your partner in the way he or she best experiences love.
The way you experience love is called your love language, and the idea comes from a best-selling relationship book. The book posits that there are 5 primary love languages, and each of us has one or two that most fills up our empty “love tank.”
While you don’t necessarily have to read the book to understand this concept, it’s essential that you make the effort to understand how your partner prefers to give and receive love.
For some, verbal signals are the way he or she feels most loved. She thrills at receiving thoughtful notes and birthday cards, and nothing makes her feel safer than hearing the words “I love you” from her partner.
Another partner’s love language may be physical touch. He feels most loved when interacting physically with his significant other, whether that’s cuddling, kissing, sexual intimacy, or even a back massage.
There are many other ways that people express love and enjoy being and feeling loved. Your mission: to figure out which of these is your partner’s #1 love language, and then learn to speak it fluently! You can always check out the book The 5 Love Languages to get you started.
Relationship Goal #7: Build a history together.
You know what’s sexy? Knowing a person like the back of your hand. Growing so close to a person that you feel there’s almost no mystery left.
To some people, this lack of mystery is something they equate with being BORED. This might even be when some individuals seek the novelty of a new partner, potentially resulting in infidelity.
But one of the best relationship goals is to embrace this incredible knowing. With this person, you have built a history.
While that’s not necessarily “new and exciting,” the depth and profoundness of such a foundation is nothing short of remarkable, and it is the springboard for a richer, more intense love.
Aim to build a decades-long history with your partner; a story known only to the two of you, and one that encompasses both your good times and your bad.
This is one of the greatest parts of being in a long-term committed relationship with someone, and it’s something you can really experience only once or twice in your life.
Relationship Goal#8: Learn what it means to truly put your partner first.
Finally, as you work towards strong relationship goals with your partner, one of the most challenging ones is learning to be selfless.
Oh, how easy it is to be human and selfish!
But deep and abiding love often requires us to put ourselves second, to prioritize the needs, desires, and concerns of our partner first. At such times, we need to put our own demands aside, even if—and perhaps especially if—it is uncomfortable or inconvenient.
This selflessness is probably the greatest lesson we can learn in a romantic relationship (and one we humbly admit we’ll be working on for the rest of our lives together).
The give and take in an authentic partnership is key to keeping balance. If you’re looking for a relationship goal to strive towards today, consider taking the time to approach your partner with true selflessness. It will come back to you tenfold.
Will any of these become part of your present or future relationship goals?
Some other posts you might also like:
- How to Stop Overthinking in a Relationship
- 7 Habits of Happy Couples
- 5 Tried-and-True Tips For Building Intimacy in a Relationship
- 15 Awesome TED Talks on Relationships and Marriage
- Relationship Spring Cleaning: 5 Ways to Freshen Up a Comfy Relationship
- A 30-Day Relationship Challenge to Bring Couples Closer
- Top 10 Relationship Green Flags for a Healthy Relationship
Amy Hartle is the author of Do You Love Me? How To Stop Seeking Reassurance in Relationships, a book on reassurance seeking and relationship anxiety. Both her book and this blog are born of personal experience; Amy shares expert relationship advice from the lessons learned during her own 10+ years with her husband, as well as couples travel tips and romantic getaway recommendations, all gleaned while traveling the world together.