Every relationship has goals, regardless of whether the partners are aware of it. While one partner dreams of someday getting married, the other dreams of traveling. It’s when they don’t communicate their relationship goals that the troubles may begin.
For example, Ted and Mary are a couple who have been dating steadily for about a year. Mary is secretly dreaming about the day Ted asks her to marry him. Mary is actually hoping that while they’re with family over the holidays, he will pop the question. Ted, on the other hand, has no idea that Mary is even thinking about marriage. All Ted hopes is that she will like the gifts he got her. When it comes time to open the gifts, Mary will feel excited, but she will also feel disappointed. Her disappointment may not show on her face, but she feels it in her heart. As time goes on, she begins to feel resentful towards Ted. Poor Ted still has no idea that he’s let her down.
The above scenario does actually happen a lot, and if they’d discussed things, no one’s feelings would have been hurt. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that we can read each other’s minds. What being in a healthy relationship means is that we have to communicate with the other person openly and honestly about our relationship goals.
In the case of Ted and Mary, there were expectations that did not get met. Mary dreamed about a marriage proposal, while Ted wasn’t aware of what she was thinking. Open communication and mutual respect for our partner’s feelings and expectations will make for more realistic relationship goals and a happier relationship.
In many healthy relationships that last for many years, the partners had been friends first. Even better, these long-time couples remained friends through all of the years. It’s so inspiring to see an older couple talk about their love and friendship for each other. Starting off as friends and keeping the friendship alive is nothing short of a miracle.
Growing old together.
Every healthy relationship will have its peaks and valleys. Every couple that has remained together for years will tell us this. But as time goes on, couples will form a bond that’s only possible within this relationship. If this bond is strong, nothing will break them apart. This couple will know each other better than most people know themselves. Growing old together also means staying in love. Growing and changing as a couple is something that takes years, and any couple will tell us they wouldn’t have life any other way.
Understanding the future as a couple.
By communicating with each other, couples can plan the future together. If one partner expects to marry the other and have children, the other partner should be the first to know that! Seriously, we don’t want one of our best friends telling our partner what we’re expecting in the future. That isn’t a great sign of communication and can prove to be pretty darn awkward. Finding out information from friends can also cause resentment. Both partners should be very clear about what they expect for the future. This will save a lot of confusion down the line.
Relationship goals: Learning to love unconditionally.
Unconditional love is the loving of another person without caring about what may come in return. Unconditional love is the love that parents have for children. Is it possible to love an adult this way? Yes, it is. And there will be times that we amaze ourselves when we realize just how much we love the other person. It can actually prove to be a bit scary when we don’t expect it.
Unconditional love isn’t the new love that couples feel when they first meet. Unconditional love happens when we know both the good and bad. We simply accept who the person is. We don’t expect the person to change and become something better.
This same unconditional love is more than a feeling of love — it’s an action. With this type of love, we’re making the effort to make the other person happy. This type of love means to love another whether the conditions are good or bad.
The secret to long-lasting love.
One of the biggest secrets to loving another unconditionally is to learn to love ourselves this way. Who knows our faults better than we do? Learning to love ourselves unconditionally allows us to be able to give this gift to others. Let’s face it, we’re usually a lot tougher on ourselves than we are on anyone else. Loving ourselves unconditionally does take time, and there will be setbacks. The more we practice, the easier it becomes. If we can’t love ourselves in this way, then how can we love another this way?
Loving is a choice.
When we’re reaching for those relationship goals, it’s important always to treat our partners with respect. Asking ourselves how we can show love in every circumstance will forge a relationship of honesty and trust.
Loving a partner doesn’t use the same approach throughout the relationship. Showing love in different circumstances or events means changing the way we love. For example, our partner may have just lost a loved one. For some, after losing a loved one, they prefer to be alone while grieving. There are also those who want someone to lean on. We should understand a partner’s wants, needs, and feelings. The closer we are to a partner, the better able we’ll be to read just what’s needed each time.
Learn to forgive.
We all get hurt at some point in our lives. There will even come a time when we need to forgive a partner who did not apologize. The hardest part is letting go of our anger and resentment that comes with being hurt. Letting go of resentment does take time, but it does happen. If our partner says something that hurts, it doesn’t mean that we must just walk away and accept it. In a healthy relationship, we can say, “Your words hurt me, but I still love you.” This isn’t easy and will take some practice!
Setting relationship goals is one of the best things we can do in any relationship. Setting goals allows both partners to work toward the same outcome. When setting goals, always be realistic, and take one day at a time. Remember, the relationship is the two partners working together, so cherish the moments!
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