Relationship Goal: Improve your relationship now with these 5 goals.

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. 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.

Relationship roadblocks: 12 ways of communication that are harmful to your relationship.

What are relationship roadblocks?

relationship roadblocks

Relationship roadblocks are the barriers that dampen or stop the flow of communication between couples. It inhibits love and cause often lead to more estrangements. The stress can quickly trickle through to other aspects of the daily life. It can make people feel unsupported when they are not validated by voicing their concerns.

A message can be a verbal statement or a visual event. We decipher the intended content based on past experiences through these two channels and act or respond accordingly. It seems straightforward, like driving a car. It only becomes a
problem when the car won’t start, which prompts us to investigate further.
Relationship roadblocks are only noticeable when communication is broken down.

The infamous 12 Relationship Roadblocks are:

Judgement– the most visible and significantly impactful form of relationship roadblock. When people are faced with uncertainties in their life, placing judgement on them further detracts from their effort to be better. The responses often come in the
following factor:

1.       Criticizing– You should be paying more attention in class if you want better exam result.

2.       Name-calling– Stop being such a puppy dog. You can stand up to those bullies.

3.       Diagnosing– You have signs of the flu, you need medicine and rest.

4.       Praising evaluatively– You got this in the bag, you can do it!

Sending Solutions – People are not objects or animals we can fix or heal, so they function again correctly as soon as possible. Attempting to fix or send solutions can diminish the person’s ability to do things for themselves. According to Dr Allan Schwartz, a clinical social worker in Colorado, sending answers or wishing to fix others is a sign of codependency. Codependent people often like to take on the role of a martyr so that they feel needed. Sending solutions can be any of the following:

5.       Ordering

6.       Threatening

7.       Moralizing

8.       Excessive/ Inappropriate Questioning

9.       Advising

Avoiding the other’s concerns– Avoidance happens when we feel uneasy about specific topics of conversation. Derailing the conversation can be portrayed as uncaring and instantly make the person feel insignificant. Avoiding deep or uninteresting conversations can make a person withdraw further from reality. It can make a person feel more depressed from being isolated. The act usually comes in the form of the following:

10.   Diverting conversation

11.   Logical Argument

12.   Reassuring

Can relationship roadblocks interfere with intimacy?

Yes, it can. Intimacy needs warmth and closeness to thrive in a relationship. The conflict caused by relationship roadblocks can significantly decrease the motivation for couples to engage with one another. There are a few risks to the relationship when couples are not able to communicate:

1.       Disconnection from each other. Living together becomes just an arrangement for survival.

2.       Feelings of isolation. Couples unable to communicate with each other often find themselves utterly alone.

3.       Insecurity. When spouses feel insignificant, they can become more insecure within themselves. Continuous dismissal and rejection can cause them to think the worst of the relationship.

4.       Endless arguments and conflicts. Pent-up stress and tension can turn any interaction into a disagreement.

It can be difficult for people to see their parts in the communication breakdown. The mounting frustration and the feelings of unfairness can often be louder than the real issue. Couples often see only the relationship roadblocks in their spouses and often are unaware of their roadblocks. Prolonged emotional battles can be exhausting. Seeking professional help, such as relationship counselling, is a safe place to restart conversations. It requires the ultimate teamwork to work through the problems together.

How to avoid relationship roadblocks?

Avoidance can make people more rigid and hyper-vigilant. But understanding what communication
looks like is an excellent place to start. People use these relationship roadblocks to get their points of view across. Some conversations can be emotionally triggering. Discussions can quickly become a debate when using the wrong choices of words. Relearning how we respond to messages can help us improve communication with our loved ones.

The communication model below shows how we interact daily.

The model highlights the first five parts of the communication process. There are seven parts
to how we receive and respond to messages.

1.       Context- What is the message? There are three aspects of the context to consider:

a.       Psychological Context – How do you feel when you receive the message?

b.       Historical Context- Does this message remind you of an event or a conversation in the past?

c.       Physical Context – Whereabouts the message is sent and received.


2.       Participants – The sender and decoder. Who are the participants in the conversation? Each participant communicates
based on their experience, attitudes and values.

3.       Rules – What are the rules of engagement? If there is none, consider discussing what is acceptable during
conversations so that both parties feel acknowledged.

4.       Messages – What is the meaning of the message?

5.       Channels – Out of the five sensors we have, we use mostly sound and sight in our interaction.

6.       Noise – What is disrupting the focus of the conversation?

a.       External factors- loud noises and doing tasks such as cooking, cleaning or working from home can take away attention.

b.       Internal factors – Personal bias, thoughts and perception can distort and interfere with the intended message.

7.       Feedback- What is the response? Hearing the reply is a good indicator of whether the message is received as intended.


How to overcome relationship roadblocks?

Awareness of relationship roadblocks often brings up guilt, regret and remorse. Some people may find it difficult to admit they have been too harsh on the other person for fear of losing the right to be correct. The roadblocks are usually constructed when they each feel the need to defend their position in the relationship.

Zeigarnik Effect – According to psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, who discovered the Zeigarnik Effect, our brain can retain memories of unfinished tasks better than our completed tasks. This effect can be the same for resolved issues. “I thought we had discussed this before.” This is a typical statement or thought from a spouse when the same problem arises. The roadblock is beginning to form. Matters are only present because they have yet to be validated correctly. There are many ways to address the concerns without the relationship roadblocks being used. The following are some examples of how to set the scene for the conversation:

1.       Be present when you are in a conversation with your spouse. Distraction from doing other tasks can distort
the messages. It can make the person feel less significant for your attention.
Try saying, ‘ I am here; tell me, what is worrying you?”

2.       Do not assume anything—Check in with your spouse to clarify the message if it is unclear. Pointing out relationship
roadblocks also creates a significant bump in communication. It merely places another judgement on the person communicating their point of view. It can quickly become a nitpicking scenario.
Try asking,” Can you clarify what you want me to do?”

3.       Practice effective communication using “I” statements. For example,” I feel overwhelmed today because of the
stress at work. Can I have a hug, please?” It tells your spouse where you are emotion-wise and what they can do to help.

4.       Make room for conversations to flow. Create a safe space for your spouse to talk, vent and express their thoughts. You can try this statement to make your spouse feel more at ease,” I am here to listen, tell me what you are thinking.”

5.       Positive affirmations. Acknowledgement and appreciation go a long way. Show your gratitude for being
in each other’s life. A simple “I hope you have a good day today.” It is enough to brighten their day.

When things get too tense, consider seeking help from professionals. Counsellors can help create the space to clarify the issues from a different perspective. Counselling is also available online, providing convenience for people that have commitments and cannot commit to onsite counselling sessions.