We spoke to Brendan Letts, Behavioral Health Therapist, on the importance of goal setting in relationships. Brendan works as an individual and group therapist, where he helps guide his clients in achieving their chosen goals. Bringing years of experience to the field, Brendan is client-centered and uses a holistic approach to empower his clients in their own journeys.
Setting individual goals for ourselves might not seem like something that impacts our relationships, but the process of setting individual goals also helps us develop a habit of in setting them in our relationships. It's important to have goals as a couple (aka couple goals), and behaviors such as dreaming to accomplish new things in our relationships is a natural and healthy thing. Pushing and challenging our relationships can lead to growth and help spark new momentum in a relationship. Setting goals is one method to help push your relationship to new heights, and it can lead to learning things about your relationship and your partner that you didn’t know before. The opportunity for learning, growth, and excitement is something to be capitalized on in a couple. But it's also equally important to still have and set individual goals, as we have to remember that healthy relationships still involve a certain amount of independence. Brandon often suggests that couples sit down with each other and write a list of goals that they would like to achieve both individually and as a couple. It's fun to develop the list, and it's enlightening to review together and compare what's on each other's list, talk about why you chose these goals, and discuss what results you would like to get out of the different goals that you set. Rather than provide a guide to developing couple goals, which is a specific to each individual relationship, we put together a guide for how you can best support your partner once you have developed your individual goals.
How Can We Best Support Our Partner's Goals?
A healthy recipe for supporting your partner in accomplishing their goals looks like:
Support: Allow yourself to be your partners biggest cheerleader. Support can look like bringing your partner a late-night coffee while they are applying to new jobs or further education opportunities. Or it can be as simple as providing an ear for them to discuss challenges in accomplishing their goals should any unexpected barriers come up.
Patience: This is big one as relationships can be tough, especially if one partner is looking to achieve something new and big. This may look like one partner working long hours or up studying late at night. The results may not be immediate or instant which is why patience is important, and it may mean we are eating dinner alone or taking over certain chore duties for some time.
Accountability: Allow your self to challenge your partner and also be open to receiving the feedback. Accountability is important and sometimes we lean on our partner for accountability, Listen to your partner if they are offering accountability or feedback, they may be seeing something that we aren’t and that’s okay.
Empathy: Sometimes we don’t achieve our goals and that is okay. In the moment, leaning on our partner for empathy is important because we may be hurting or going into the place of self-pity. Similarly, if they fall short of a goal, be their for support, listen to your partner and ask them their needs. We need to let ourselves feel our feelings, whatever they may be, and it can be easier with an empathic partner in our corner. It could help lead to the next goal.
Should your partner come up short in achieving a goal, stay away from “I told you so”. Instead try “that was really brave of you” or "I am proud of you”. Stay focused on empowering your partner while acknowledging the barriers they may have faced. We are all human and sometimes we fail, but it sure is easier having someone in your corner cheering you on. And in the moments where we accomplish our goals, individual or relationship goals, take the opportunity to capitalize on the moment by celebrating it with your partner, who no doubt provided some support to you along the way!
Looking for an exciting way to continue growing your relationship? Busy but want some quick date ideas or activities that you can do with your partner? coBlossom is a new, fun app for couples that offers flexible minigames designed for busy couples, providing positive boosts to your relationship each day. Couples will benefit from building healthy relationship habits to achieve their couple goals!