How To Stay In Love: Goals To Set -- And Reach -- In Marriage

Updated September 7, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

You might be wondering if it is necessary to have goals in your marriage. Can setting goals help to ensure that you stay in love? While there are few scientific studies or firm statistics surrounding the topic, setting goals, in general, allows an individual to strive for success. Setting a goal in marriage can have the same positive result, helping you to unite in a committed task to bring you closer together. Getting a grasp on goal setting is way to gain a greater understanding of the concept of marriage goals. Read on to find ways to set goals easily unattainable that will help you stay in love in your marriage.

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Need Help Setting And Reaching Your Marriage Goals?

What Are Marriage Goals?

Marriage goals are goals you agree on as a couple that you both hope to achieve in your relationship together. These goals can be focused on growing closer together by improving communication, financial in nature, or as simple as going on a date once a week with each other. 

If you think about it, many couples set goals without realizing it or making it official. When you were dating, you may have planned to pop the question or wait until you lived together. When you were engaged, you set a dating goal by which you were to get married. In marriage, couples often plan when they will start to have kids and where they will live. All these plans in life and your relationship are goals. Being purposeful with your relationship goals with each other can play a huge part in the success you find and increase marital satisfaction.

How To Set Marriage Goals

Learning how to set marriage goals more purposefully can begin with setting goals independently, then ask for more communication and input from your spouse. When setting your personal goals, you do not necessarily have to ask your partner what they think about your desire to lose weight or read all the classics in the coming year. Setting goals with your spouse becomes a team effort. One way you both can work together to set and reach goals is using the SMART method.

Smart Goal Setting

A SMART goal, a method to guide you when you are setting and achieving goals,  stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

By incorporating each aspect of the SMART acronym into your marriage goals, you are more likely to set goals that you and your spouse can work toward together and reach. Understanding each component will help you to get a grasp on the real meaning of a SMART goal.

Specific

For a goal to be specific, consider a well-defined and clear goal that is quantifiable. You might, for instance, make a marriage goal to save $5000 or to spend two date nights together per month. While the goal itself is important, it must be clear when you and your spouse have reached that goal. The best way to do that is to quantify it.

Measurable

A measurable goal is something that stems from being specific. Since a specific goal includes a quantity, the measurable portion comes into play when measuring how close you are to achieving that goal. For example, when you want to take four trips together over the next year, you and your spouse know that you are halfway there after your second trip. It is something that can be measured.

Achievable

SMART goals must also be achievable. While it can be fun to think about going above and beyond the realm of possibilities, setting goals that you and your partner are physically or financially unable to reach will only lead to disappointment or feeling discouraged. While accomplishing your mutual goal may require effort, this objective you are planning on should be something you both know you are capable of achieving.  Consider all the facets that are included in the goal. Let’s say that you set a goal to pay your entire debt in a year, but your debt is more than your yearly income, your goal is not achievable. Instead, you might set a goal to pay off one-quarter of your debt, which is more achievable.

Relevant

A relevant goal is important to both you and your spouse and will impact your plans. If a goal does nothing to get you closer to your ideal future or promote growth and development as a couple, you and your spouse might want to develop a more relevant goal. If you plan to retire early, you might set a goal to make you more financially prepared for the future. When a goal is relevant, you are more likely to want to reach it.

Time-Based

Time-based goal setting is imperative. How can you know if you reach your goal if there is no time limit to achieve it? Put a realistic yet challenging time limit on your goal to motivate you to achieve it. Goals that have no time attached to them are never attempted because you can try to reach them at any time in your life. For instance, instead of having a goal to retire early, set your goal to retire in 15 years. This will push you to prepare financially now.

Communicating With Your Spouse

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When you understand how to set reachable goals in your marriage, you can then communicate any goals or ideas with your partner. Discuss your ideas and desires for the future and see which plans line up and which might differ from one another. If you and your partner are good at communication, you can likely agree about which goal to set for the long term. From there, you will need to set a variety of short-term goals that will help you reach the bigger one.

Learning to communicate and compromise in marriage is the best way to achieve success in both goals and your relationship. This does not mean that you must sacrifice your own goals. In fact, by communicating your desires, you can your personal goals with your spouse and get support in that way, even if they do not want to partake in that particular goal themselves.

Specific Goals To Set

You now understand how to set goals as a married couple, but what goals should you set? Once you have communicated your thoughts with your spouse and theirs with you, creating common goals can be easier. You might try to focus on a few categories as a married couple - your connection, individual goals, goals that you are hoping to accomplish, sexy relationship goals, and goals for your family. Setting goals in each of these categories will give you a good mix of goals that you can reach over time.

Marital Connection

Setting goals based on your marriage and relationship with one another is an ideal way to ensure that you stay connected. These kinds of goals can range from sex and intimacy to communication in your relationship. They might even include things that you want to do together to strengthen your marriage. Using the SMART method, you can develop goals that you both want to attempt and eventually reach.

Some examples of goals in this category might include greeting each morning with a kiss for the next 365 days, having sex three times a week for the next six months, or spending 15 minutes a day talking to one another without distractions for a month. These goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Because of the SMART method, you know that the goals you make together are attainable and will happen in a timely manner.  

Remaining An Individual

Although being married means that you share a part or yourself with another person, you must also keep your individuality and identity independent of your spouse. Setting goals that cultivate independent growth is just as important as setting goals to be together. If you lose who you are in your marriage and become a spouse or parent solely, you might find yourself resenting your spouse or yourself.

One way to honor your individual self is to ask your spouse to support your personal goal and help you be accountable for keeping to the objective. For example, if your individual goal is to run a marathon in three months, your spouse may also make it a goal to take over the morning routine with the kids so that you can train before the marathon. These are both individual goals that contribute to the individuality of one-half of the relationship. You and your partner each having an individual goal and that you each support one another's goal is an important aspect of the health of your relationship.

Family Goals

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Need Help Setting And Reaching Your Marriage Goals?

Family goals can encapsulate a lot of topics, such as how many children you want to have or activities or challenges that you want to do together as a family. Keep in mind that although you and your spouse are responsible for setting the parents' goals, it is important to include the thoughts of your children and some of their desires.

The SMART method also works well for setting goals as a family. Some family goals that meet the SMART method include: saving $15,000 for college per child by the time they are 18 years old, rescuing a dog from the local shelter within a year, or buying a house within 10 years. These goals require the input of both partners in a marriage because of the effect they will have on their lives. Reaching these goals and setting new ones allows a married couple to plan their life together and how they will live it.

Seeking Professional Help

Relationship counselors often recommend setting marriage goals to affirm that you both are aligned in what you want from your relationship. If you are concerned with where your relationship is heading, you might find it helpful to discuss your thoughts with a trained professional. Ask your partner to sit down with you and a counselor or therapist to ensure that everything in your relationship is working as it should. 

One obstacle you may find in starting therapy is coordinating both of your schedules to set appointments and commute to the therapy sessions. Fortunately, online therapy is a convenient alternative to in-person therapy where you can easily set a time that works for the both of you. Research studies examining the effectiveness of virtual couples therapy reveal that not only are the sessions successful for relationship coaching but couples find it easier to talk about intimate relationship concerns while sitting in the comfort of their own home. If you are looking to set marriage goals with the help of an online couples counselor, Regain can you can get matched with a therapist based on your preferences and you can meet with them remotely via phone, video, or live chat sessions.

Takeaway

When you set goals as the SMART method describes in this article, you will find that your relationship is headed down a clear and positive path. Since you and your partner have discussed your desires for the future and are working together to get there, you may also find that staying in love is far easier. This is not to say that hard times will not come up because they will. However, when you know the long-term plans that you with your spouse, it is easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you find that your relationship is going through a difficult time and you are both unable to recover, there is support available with an online couples’ counselor at a time convenient for the both of you. 

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