What are your relationship goals? Deciding on your goals when you are 16 years old can be different from what you will need as a 25-year-old or 40 years old. Our views on a relationship can change over time. Each of us has our idea of how a relationship could be. However, that is often very different to reality. You may feel less fulfilled in your relationship when you lack physical or emotional needs.

Like a house, our relationship requires maintenance so that it does not fall apart. But differing opinions and resources can often delay repair or worsen the issue. Do you have problems getting on the same page as your loved one? Relationship
counselling offers a safe space for you to be heard and understood.
Counsellors.co.nz can offer online relationship counselling with flexible time frames to suit you without going on a waitlist.

“Working briefly on your marriage every day will do more for your health and longevity than working out at a health club” John M. Gottman and Nan Silver: The Seven Principles for making marriage work.

How to pick good relationship goals? it all comes down to your priority. Some people prefer to fill themselves with ambition and drive. Others prefer harmony and peace within their relationship.

Below are some relationship goals to consider:

Relationship Goal 1: Happiness

Happiness is a good relationship goal to contemplate on. Conveying what makes you happy is as important as knowing what makes your partner happy. Some people find joy in physical touches, and others in acts of service.

Ask yourself:

·        When was the last time I was happy?

·        What did he/she do to make me smile?

·        When was the last time I saw him/her smile?

·        What is your idea of happiness?

·        What was my favourite moment in our relationship?

·        What can I compromise?

We all grow up with our own version of happiness. Sharing memories can significantly increase your connection with each other.

Relationship Goal 2: Intimacy

Intimacy is akin to connection. As humans, we learn to love through our family and our community. There are four types of intimacy – Emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical touch. Intimacy can be a want and a need.

Ask yourself:

·        Is there excitement?

·        Should I spice things up?

·        When was the last time we spent hours just talking?

·        Why am I so reluctant about going home to him/her?

·        How can I show him/her more love?

High levels of stress and anxiety can kill the chemistry you have for each other. Lack of intimacy can corrode your mind, allowing negative thoughts to take over your positive mindset. It is worthwhile to look for signs of distress in the relationship
that prevents you from getting close to your loved one. When you find yourself and your partner in a gridlock, consider seeking professional help.

Relationship Goal 3: Security

A healthy and secure relationship requires a solid foundation of trust. Trust can accumulate over time through shared experiences of happiness and challenges. Every couple has its own set of boundaries and rules to feel secure in their
relationship. Our past and present experiences of love and safety can significantly influence our idea of emotional safety.

One of the biggest challenges is setting boundaries and values that fits the need of both
of you. There are so many messages on how you ought to live and love. These messages can be overwhelmingly loud, preventing you from seeing your priorities.

·        Family- Having a house, kids and pets because it is what you knew growing up.

·        Wealth- A high-paying job because that is what your parents always told you.

·        Presentation- You have to clean the house in case of visitors constantly. A messy house means you are lazy.

·        A compatible spouse with a good job- because that is what your parents had done.

·        Travel- Don’t worry about income. Travel as you earn, says social media.

All the messages above are different from reality. In real life, some of us come from broken homes, lack of income to make ends meet, nor have the opportunity to get a better education or travel. The best thing coming out of all that is
surviving and becoming an adult.

Security is all about having a good level of emotional and physical support.

Emotional support (psychological)- Words of affirmation, gratefulness, companionship and empathy.

Physical support (physiological)- Shelter, warmth, food and income.

Each of us has different levels of needs and wants. Fulfilment of initial requirements can cause desires or wants to appear. If you are in doubt about your relationship criteria, ask yourself:

·        Do I feel confident about us?

·        Can I talk to him/her about my fears?

·        Am I comfortable with him/her interacting with their friends?

·        What is my ambition?

·        What can I prioritise?


Relationship Goal 4: Companionship

“Couples with strong friendships have a lot more access to their humour, affection, and the positive energy that make it possible to have disagreements or to live with them in a much more constructive and creative way. It is about earning and building up points.” John M. Gottman, The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples

A good friend is hard to find. Connection keeps us motivated to wake up daily, hoping for a smile or a hug to fill our emotional tank. Having your loved one as your friend for life has its benefits:

·        A companion for physical activities aside from sex.

·        Someone to be there for you when you need help getting things from the top shelf or lifting a piece of heavy furniture.

·        Someone to dine with or compliment you on the food you have prepared.

·        Someone to listen to your wildest fantasies or take you on your adventure to cross off your bucket list.

·        Someone to help you uphold your values and work together on your relationship goals.

The list of benefits is endless. Companionship helps prevent loneliness, a growing global mental health epidemic. Without sufficient dependable connections, your mental well-being can decrease significantly. When your mental health is low, you will
likely feel more depressed and anxious. High anxiety may cause you to be more homebound.

Relationship Goal 5: Reciprocity

For love to thrive, you need reciprocity. It is the love and supports you give each other. The give-and-take principle of the mutual exchange strengthens the overall relationship. There are three types of reciprocity: Balanced, Generalised and
Negative reciprocity.

Balanced Reciprocity- Giving and receiving. Gifting an item or a service with the expectation of receiving a gift back.

Generalised reciprocity- Giving or offering a service out of love without hesitation or condition. It is about altruism, giving freely out of mutual respect and connectedness. This reciprocal relationship exists in the people you love and
trust deeply, such as family, friends and close co-workers.

Negative reciprocity- The opposite of generalised reciprocity. It is about doing the bare minimum within the relationship but reaping the more significant benefit. This type of exchange is the least healthy for the relationship as it needs to have the
essence of love and cares towards those that had to strive to offer their best to you.

Building reciprocity requires a few rules:

1.       You must have the commitment and accountability for creating and nurturing reciprocity.

2.       You will need the bravery to speak up if there is injustice in your relationship.

3.       It would be best if you respected each other’s effort to raise issues and suggest ideas and excitement.

Practising reciprocity is about investing in the relationship through a high level of maturity and self-awareness. It will only work when you can cooperate as a team, with no one claiming superiority over the other partner.