Setting the right relationship goals in a marriage is crucial because it defines a couple's future. Saving money for a home, planning for holidays, motivating each other for career goals, pursuing weight loss goals together, planning hobbies for individual fulfillment and aligning lifestyle choices with financial position and many more important things - this post is a must read for married couples who want the best for themselves, their families and children.
1) Save a fixed amount of money to buy your own home
Becoming proud home owners is something all married couples want to be. Almost all husbands dream about setting up a barbeque in a nice little backyard while wives think about the time when they can entertain close friends over a cozy dinner in their new home.
Home ownership is a costly affair and an ill-planned financial decision can set you back thousands of dollars in unpaid mortgage repayments. Apart from the basic cost of a house, there are many ancillary expenses for new appliances, repairs and renovations.
The easiest way to become home owners without being under financial stress is to plan for your home. Sit down with your partner and think about when and where you want to buy a house. Find out how much money you will need to save for the down payment and subsequent repayments.
Once you have a rough set of numbers in place, set goals to put aside a certain amount of money in a separate account. Consult your accountant if saving for purchasing a home has any tax benefits. This is one goal that will reap massive financial rewards in the future.
2) Put aside money for a holiday: Make it a yearly affair
School runs, work commitments, family priorities, mortgage payments and many other heaving responsibilities of being a husband or wife along with a parent create a lot of mental stress. This stress needs an outlet and holidays are one of the best ways to rejuvenate.
One of the biggest benefits of travelling is that it helps you unwind, relax and recharge yourself for another twelve months of juggling work, children and the needs of your partner. If you don't go on a vacation from time to time, you risk facing burn out which will have larger negative repercussions on your behavior and ultimately on your marriage.
Have a chat with your partner and think about the places on your individual bucket lists. Make a list of a few places you would like to visit as a couple or a family.
Start looking up airfares and accommodation costs online to make a rough estimate of how much money you will need to travel. Once you have a number, make it a goal to set aside some money every fortnight to this cause.
Even a small amount like a hundred dollars every fortnight can turn into a big fat chunk by the end of the year which you can use to buy tickets and more. You will be amazed at how proper financial planning and goal setting can help you have the dream vacation you always wanted.
3) Family planning: Charting out your lives as parents
The biggest non-financial goal setting that couples must do after they get married is to plan their families. This goal doesn't come with fixed dates but the least you should do is decide at what times in your lives you and your spouse want to have a baby and become parents.
This is very crucial because the hectic priorities of work can easily make the years go by in a jiffy and before you know it, you will be in your forties, wondering whether it is too late to start a family or have another child. After all, being the father or mother of a rebellious teenager when you are sixty plus can be a terrifying thought.
4) Goal setting for your kid's future: Start a fund for your child's college education
Setting joint financial goals for your child's college education is the most common piece of advice given to couples, but very few actually go ahead and do it before it is too late. Don't make the same mistake because your child's future is not something you want to take lightly.
Many banks and financial institutions offer investment plans for this cause. Even small amounts contributed to such a fund every month can lead to a big kitty when your kid turns eighteen.
5) Parenting goals: Setting goals to plan your child's development
All parents have a vision for their children. Dreams and ambitions can range from movie stars, CEOs, business owners and athletes to name a few. You may not be able to govern each and every move of your child's life after a point of time but you can lay the foundation by setting goals for your kid's upbringing.
For example, you can plan to enroll your child in a certain extra-curricular activity class at a certain age. Clarity on little goals like this will play a defining role in your child's development as a preteen. It will shape the kind of core interests he or she will focus on, during teenage.
6) Setting a fun goal: Learn a hobby which you can pursue as a couple
Goal setting for couples is not supposed to be a serious and heavy discussion all the time. Pursuing hobbies together is a nice example of how setting goals can be a fun activity. This is something that all couples must do to take their minds away from the daily grind.
Pick an activity that you and your husband or wife both like. For example, suppose you are both inclined towards music. Go to your nearest music store and buy a pair of beginner guitar starter kits along with a few instructional booklets.
Different schedules may not allow you to practice at the same time, but that should not stop you from synchronizing your goals. For example, you both can aim to learn at least the basic chords by end of month.
7) Influencing career goals: Motivating each other to do well professionally
Relationship goals in a marriage don't just end at finding targets that you can achieve together. As husband or wife, it is your responsibility to motivate your spouse to do well professionally.
Spend some time every few weeks to discuss your own and your spouse's professional goals for the near-term horizon. It can be something as simple as encouraging your husband to push for higher sales targets or something as exciting as inspiring your wife to get a promotion at work.
Monitor your spouse's progress on the professional front. Use this goal setting exercise as an excuse to give pep talks which inspire the both of you to do well in your respective careers.
8) Weight loss goals as a couple: Getting in shape together
When it comes to keeping in shape, there is always the risk of becoming complacent after marriage. If this has happened to you as a couple, attack the situation by setting goals together as husband and wife.
Apart from getting back in shape, exercising together with your spouse will give you opportunities to bond more often over workouts and diet discussions. As parents, you will also set a good example for your kids.
9) Lifestyle goals: Moving your lifestyle choices up or down as per your financial capacity
Forecasting lifestyle changes may seem to be a dull goal setting activity, but it has the potential to shape a couple's future. Think about your financial situation right now and tie it together with your current life stage. Ask yourself these questions.
- Are you financially where you would rather be at this point in your life
- Do you foresee a drastic change in your income levels
- Is there a big expenditure coming up in your lives
- Do you need to change your lifestyle to cut down on your spiraling debt
Thinking about these things will help you understand how your current lifestyle as a couple is affecting your marriage and the future of your children. Set goals to cut down on unnecessary expenditure if you feel that you need to tone your lifestyle down to be in-sync with your financial position.
10) Goals to get rid of relationship problems: Making your marriage smoother methodically
There is nothing better than a cute goal setting exercise to get rid of relationship problems in your marriage. A step by step approach to seemingly small differences between you and your spouse will help you iron them out before they get out of control.
For example, you can set goals to get your husband help you with household chores if you think he is too lazy. Make a cute little chart in which you can list some of the stuff that he can help you with each weekend for the next month.
11) Maintaining individuality in marriage: Pursue individual goals too
Goal setting in a relationship is not just about defining your lives as a couple. It is also about bringing out the best in your individual personalities so that you can have complementary strengths.
Spend an hour every month just discussing your personal goals with your spouse. Whether it is planning for your next career change or deciding how you want to spend more time with your own friends on weekends – look for ways how you can sustain your individuality.
Getting a break from the daily humdrum is the first benefit of making individual goals. Secondly, doing stuff on your own once in a while will also give your spouse some space in the relationship.
12) Talk to couples a decade or two older than you: Ask them about what they would have done differently
You and your partner will be like two frogs stuck in the same well if you don't talk to other couples about their life goals. Apart from your friends who are of your own age, have a chat with a happily married couple who is at least a decade or two older than you both.
Ask the older couple some of these questions.
- What is the best thing that you did together as a couple
- If you could turn back time, what would you do differently
- Which according to them, is the most crucial goal that a couple should pursue together
Listening to their answers will help you in your own goal setting. Tap in to the older couple's experience and use it to avoid making life changing mistakes in your marriage.
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 09, 2013:
So many couples don't ever talk about these important issues, much less make specific goals so that they can work toward them together. Thanks for putting together this great resource.