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Why Setting Relationship Goals Is Important - And How to Do It

Waiting for "the one" is one of the oldest myths in the book.

Ever wondered how power couple, Beyoncé and Jay-Z keep their love alive for 16 years? Hint: luck has nothing to do with it. If you've been blaming your failed relationships on "the wrong person"—think again. It may be time to reconsider who is really at fault.

Just like building a dream career, successful relationships don't happen overnight and they don't happen by chance. It takes hard work, thoughtful strategizing, and it isn't always "sexy." Forget the glitz and glam—these power couples know the real secret lies in setting goals and boundaries. From cozy date nights to self-care, these are a few A-listers who are masters at making love last.

Ready to unlock their secrets?

A Lasting, Passionate Relationship Isn't Just For Starry-Eyed Romantics—It's For Skeptics Too!

According to award-winning psychotherapist and TV host Dr. Jenn Mann, the #1 reason relationships don't make it past the 1-year mark is because as soon as our relationship doesn't go according to plan, tensions can get so high, the whole relationship crumbles.

"It is easy to get along in the honeymoon phase of a relationship. During the early stages, when we are falling in love, all we see is how alike we are and how wonderful our new partner is. We see our commonalities, not our differences. “You like pizza. I like pizza! We are so alike! We are perfect for each other!” We are merged. We feel like one person, a unit, a “we.” The first time we see our differences, it may feel like a huge betrayal (“What do you mean you voted for him?”), because it marks the moment when we are thrown back into the reality of being two separate people with different thoughts and beliefs."So what about all the people who make it past the honeymoon phase? The "1 year mark"? Does that mean they have it all figured out?
Jenn Mann, Instyle

RELATED: After 40 Years Together Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell Refuse to Marry–How They Work Against the Rules

Maybe...but maybe not. Ask yourself are your partner really share a deep and powerful connection, or are you just glorified roommates?

We've all heard the dreaded saying, "I love them but I'm not in love with them"—in fact, we've probably even said it ourselves, but what if we told you that being "in love" isn't the luck of the draw you think it is?

What Are Relationship Goals? Why Are They Important?

Relationship goals are more than just whimsical fantasies or Instagram-worthy snapshots; they are the guiding principles that steer a couple toward a fulfilling and harmonious partnership. At their core, relationship goals encompass the shared visions, aspirations, and milestones that both partners aim to achieve together. These goals provide a roadmap for growth, fostering communication, understanding, and mutual respect along the way.

Most importantly, they serve as your relationship-sonar in times of turbulence so you and your co-pilot can navigate the storm together. From building trust and deepening intimacy to navigating challenges as a united front, setting relationship goals cultivates a sense of purpose and commitment that strengthens the bond between partners.

In essence, relationship goals aren't just important—they are the foundation upon which enduring love is built.

How to Get Clear on Your Love Goals

George Clooney in a tux posing with his wife Amal Clooney who is wearing a yellow dress.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 12: Actor George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney attend the "Money Monster" premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2016 in Cannes, France.

Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

Whether you're in a happily committed relationship, enjoying the thrill of new love, or searching for a partner, setting relationship goals is within everyone's reach. But before we dive into pursuing the love we desire, it's important to have a clear idea of what that love actually looks like.

Some Questions To Ask Yourself

  • What does my ideal, healthy relationships look like?
  • What romantic relationships do I idealize?
  • How would my partner and I stay on the same page or resolve conflict?
  • How do I prefer to receive love from my partner?
  • How would my partner and I best communicate in everyday life?

When it comes to setting relationship goals, it's not one-size-fits-all. Getting a clear picture of what a healthy relationship looks like for you may be vastly different than what it looks like for a friend or a family member.

Don't be afraid to compare notes but try and stay away from comparing goals.

The 8 Most Important Couple Goals To Set And When

Blake Lively in pink champagne dress posing next to her husband Ryan Reynolds on the red carpet.

​NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: Actors Blake Lively (L) and Ryan Reynolds attend the "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. 

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

First and foremost, relationship goals should be something both you and your partner set together. Setting one-sided couple goals probably isn't the best idea and will likely lead to disappointment. You have to start somewhere—and the best place to start is on the same page.

"When Ryan and I got together, we made a rule not to work at the same time so that we could always prioritize our personal life. That takes working really hard when we're not. Just like financial planning and sustaining that - it takes balance."
Blake Lively, Further Ado Podcast

If you're drawing a blank on what an appropriate relationship goal looks like, here are the 8 most important things to know when it comes to making your relationship work.

#1. Understand Each Other's "Love Language"

Counselor, Gary Chapman coined the widely popular theory of the "Five Love Languages". In his work, Chapman found that couples often had difficulty feeling and expressing love (despite their partner's best efforts). So he broke down the themes from these discussions into what's known as the five love languages:

  1. Physical touch
  2. Quality time
  3. Acts of service
  4. Gifts
  5. Words of affirmation.

Chances are, you and your partner don't have the same love language. The chances are even higher that you show your partner love the way you want to receive love. It's a bit of a trap. The problem probably looks a little something like this:

  • After a long work week, you spend hours cooking your partner their all-time favorite meal (acts of service)—the least they could do is wash the dishes (acts of service).
  • Instead, the dishes pile up in the sink while they run over to the TV and put on your favorite movie for a Netflix and cuddle sesh (Quality Time, Physical Touch).
  • Even though their heart's in the right place, you can't enjoy the movie because you're too busy thinking if they really "loved" you...that casserole dish wouldn't be soaking in the sink.

It easy to see why identifying you and your partner's love language is a quick way to get crossed wires, uncrossed. Good news is, "quality time" is one of the most common love languages and it here's a simple hack to get it right.

#2. Commit To A Weekly Date Night — "Don't Stop The Romance"

Black and white photo of Suzanne Somers and husband Alan  Hamel dancing and posing for the camera while at Studio 54.

NEW YORK, NY - CIRCA 1978: Suzanne Somers and husband Alan Hamel at Studio 54 circa 1978 in New York City.

Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images

If there's one thing Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel knew how to get right—it was romance.

After 55 years together, Somers heartbreakingly passed away in 2023 and fans were overwhelmed by Hamel's masterful letter he wrote to Somers in her final days. He found a way to pack 55 years of love into one last, beautiful, tearjerking punch.

READ MORE: On Her Final Night, Suzanne Somers’ Read Alan Hamel’s Love Letter – A Beautiful Look at Love After 46 Years

But even though the love of his life would leave him too soon—Hamel and Somers lived with no regrets. They made every moment on earth together count. In rain or shine—dressed up or dressed down—the soulmates famously shared the secret to their marriage:

"Listen to one another, give each other a lot of attention, keep it exciting, date. My marriage is very romantic. … We might sit here and have a tequila. … We dance, I cook, we sit out and watch the moonlight on the ocean."
Suzanne Somers

They also reportedly had sex twice a day—but who's counting!

#3. Maintain The Physical Connection

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce kissing passionately at the Superbowl while surrounded by journalists and cameramen.

TOPSHOT - US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift kisses Kansas City Chiefs' tight end #87 Travis Kelce after the Chiefs won Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 11, 2024.

PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

While we may not all have the libido of ThighMaster influencer Suzanne Somers we don't have to! When it comes to setting relationship goals around intimacy don't underestimate the significance of physical touch.

Incorporating consistent physical connection into your relationship offers numerous benefits. Simple gestures like hand-holding, hugs, or a reassuring pat on the shoulder can trigger the release of oxytocin, the "feel-good hormone," while also reducing cortisol levels, the body's stress hormone.

While physical intimacy is undeniably important, it's crucial to understand that it's just one facet of intimacy in a relationship. Intellectual, spiritual, and emotional connections are equally vital. Creating a safe and comfortable environment where both partners understand each other's preferences and boundaries enhances the pleasure derived from physical touch.

However, it's essential to approach physical intimacy with sensitivity and awareness. Attempting to force physical closeness or using it as a substitute for deeper emotional connection can backfire. Achieving a healthy balance in physical touch requires open communication, mutual understanding of body language, and respect for each other's boundaries.

Remember, physical connection encompasses more than just sexual intimacy. From a warm hug in the morning to a sweet kiss goodnight, there are countless ways to express affection and strengthen the bond with your partner.

You don't need to be an expert in massage therapy to reap the benefits of physical touch—simple gestures can go a long way in nurturing intimacy and emotional well-being. So, prioritize physical connections and make them an integral part of your relationship journey.

However, try not to get the purpose of the "love languages" confused. Showing your partner "love" is so important but it's not a substitute for the sometimes hard conversations.

#4. Improve Your Communication

When it comes to love communication really is key—and miscommunications are one of the first things that can tear a couple apart.

As you’re building your list of goals, an important thing to think about is the way you and your partner communicate. It's easy to make the assumption that our partner knows exactly how we feel–—but assumptions can be deadly to a relationship. No matter how long the two of you have been together, your partner can never know what you truly feel unless you tell them. So prioritize communication.

"If I was going to have an equal voice with this very opinionated man, I had to get myself up."
- Michelle Obama, "Becoming"

Understanding how your partner feels and why they think this way is critical to a healthy romantic partnership. Different backgrounds, upbringings and experiences can sometimes make it difficult to see things from our partner's perspective. Make it part of your relationship goals to better understand one another.

If communication is a couple goal you both want to prioritize but have trouble with, seeking the help of a licensed therapist to act as an unbiased evaluator can be a great tool to utilize.

Just ask Barack Obama and Michelle Obama! After 30 years together, the former President and First Lady have openly credited therapy as a huge help in making sure they are always on the same page!

#5. Discuss Your Shared Values And Prepare For Values To Change AS You Grow

Ben Affleck in tux kissing the top of wife Jennifer Lopez who is radiant in a white dress.

TOPSHOT - US actor Ben Affleck kisses US actress and singer Jennifer Lopez as they arrive for the screening of the film "The Last Duel" presented out of competition on September 10, 2021 during the 78th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido.


One of the biggest miscommunications a couple can have is thinking they have the same values—only to find out, in big relationship-defining moments they couldn't be more wrong. A relationship-defining moment could be when a couple is deciding how they want to raise their children or whether or not they want to get married. This discovery can be devastating. The million-dollar question is, how do you avoid it?

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are great examples of a Hollywood "it" couple who had miscommunications and learned from it. "Bennifer" didn't make it the first time around—and the exes went on to raise their children in very different ways—with Lopez opting for a more lavish Miami lifestyle and Affleck keeping it low-key in LA. So what changed? What made this couple reunite years later?

Did the stars align? Or did they just get clear on their shared values?

Though the two went their separate ways in 2004, 17 years later they resurrected one of Hollywood’s favorite romances. After being spotted on multiple loved-up outings and at red-carpet appearances together, they were finally married in 2023. But before they tied the knot the couple made it a priority to talk about what mattered and how this time was going to be different.

In an exclusive sit down with VOGUE, Lopez shared how the second time around was even better than the first. They had years to mature and become full-formed individuals. When they reunited they were no longer "two halves" struggling to make a whole. They were two whole people coming together who put their shared family values first, instead of their careers.

He’s a wonderful, wonderful father and father figure to them as well, ’cause he has his own three beautiful children and then there’s us. He’s fantastic. He really steps up to the challenge of what [being a stepfather] is and what that means, and they love him."
Jennifer Lopez, VOGUE (2023)

Lopez and Affleck's story is a revealing reminder of the significance of aligning with a partner who shares your values, particularly when envisioning a future together. While initial discussions about important topics such as living arrangements, family planning, and career aspirations may lay the foundation for a strong connection, it's crucial to recognize that values can evolve over time.

Continual communication about evolving priorities and aspirations is essential for maintaining harmony and alignment within the relationship. Whether it's a shift in living preferences or a newfound desire to establish roots in a specific location, addressing these changes openly and honestly fosters understanding and prevents potential conflicts down the road.

If identifying your and your partner's values may feel too broad, here are the 7 most important "core values" according to psychotherapist and celebrity relationship guru, Esther Perel.

  1. Communication: Keeping open lines of communication with your partner can set you up to have a successful relationship. The busyness of life can make it challenging for couples to keep one another informed. However, maintaining a clear back-and-forth of information is the only way to ensure the relationship will be sustainable.
  2. Equality: Seeing each other as equals fosters mutual respect. This can create a deeper emotional connection and create greater intimacy between you and your partner.
  3. Honesty: Honesty and trust go hand in hand. Being honest with your loved one allows you to build a healthy relationship. Without honesty, the foundation of the relationship can falter and lead to heartbreak.
  4. Intimacy: Take time for physical and emotional intimacy. You should not ignore a healthy sex life, frequent displays of affection, and date nights.
  5. Shared beliefs: Religious beliefs can play a significant part in a person’s life. Though religious differences do not always signal a deal-breaker, having shared beliefs can make navigating through life together, especially if parenting, easier.
  6. Trust: Every good relationship needs a foundation of trust. Relationship experts claim trust is the most important value of every successful relationship. Without trust, romantic relationships quickly deteriorate.
  7. Validation: Emotional validation is the process of making your partner feel understood. Ensure you acknowledge their points of view and emotions. Emotional validation provides mental health benefits and is a healthy way to care for your partner's well-being.

While it's highly unlikely you and your partner will share all values, you and your partner must have at least 3-5 of these values in common.

#6. Support One Another—No Matter What"Always supporting me (literally)"

The #1 most important shared values a couple needs to have, is family values. David Beckham and Victoria Beckham may just be the best example when it comes to demonstrating how powerful supporting your partner can be (literally)! After all, you're not just building a life're building your forever family.

Even though celebs are stars in their own right—over 25 years together have proven the power couple are partners in work and in life. The couple share four children: Brooklyn, 24, Romeo, 21, Cruz, 19, and Harper Seven, 11.

In their widely successful Netflix doc, Beckham, The Beckhams unpack years of their life together. The ups (winning a World Cup), the downs (the cheating scandal that nearly broke them), and everything in between!

The power couple may lead crazy busy lives but it's never stopped them from making sure family comes first.

"Running a business [and] most importantly, being a mum, wouldn't be possible without David. Not only is he the most incredible father, but he's supportive and someone who loves and inspires me every single day."
Victoria Beckham, Glamour Women of the Year Award.

The bottom line is—if you're putting them before you and they are putting you before them, you have the best chance for success. But supporting your partner can look different depending on the situation. It's not about blindly agreeing to everything they say. Sometimes it looks like challenging their beliefs to help them grow

#7. Fight Fair—Be A "Master Negotiator"

Barbra Streisand in a black outfit and black glasses smiling at the camera next to husbandand James Brolin.

EAST HAMPTON, NY - JULY 06: Barbra Streisand and James Brolin attend the "And So It Goes" premiere at Guild Hall on July 6, 2014 in East Hampton, New York.

Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

Disagreements in relationships are inevitable. How delicately a couple navigates conflicts can make or break a relationship. So that's why if you're going to fight, fight fair. Or in other words: compromise!

"I think everybody needs to be a negotiator. Everybody needs to have patience and know when to take a walk."
James Brolin, PEOPLE

After 25 years of marriage to the legendary diva Barbra Streisand, it should go without saying that Brolin knows a thing or two about conflict resolution. His advice couldn't be more spot on.

RELATED: Barbra Streisand and James Brolin’s Advice for a Successful Marriage Is Seriously Simple

Research suggests that "happy couples" avoid criticism, steer clear of extreme language, and prevent arguments from escalating through joint problem-solving.

If you know your partner shuts down when things get heated, don't push their boundaries and force them to give you answers. Step back. Give them space to think. Or in James Brolin's words let them "take a walk."

Fighting fair can look like this:

  • Knowing how your partner's conflict resolution style may differ from your own
  • Respecting your partner's boundaries
  • Making your needs known

If this all sounds like a lot—one simple trick to remember when you're in a heated debate with your partner is to avoid starting a sentence with "you always..." or "you never..."!

Do they always leave the toilet seat up? They never take out the garbage?

Probably not. But the truth is, remembering this when we're "seeing red" can feel impossible. In the middle of a fight—the #1 most important thing to remember is this—what outcome do we really want after passions cool and the fight is over?

Do we want to hurt or do we want to heal?

#8. Manage Your Emotions—Don't Forget You Want The Same Outcome!

Young Sarah Jessica Parker wearing her hair down and with a white dress next to husbandand Matthew Broderick on the red carpet.

9th November 1999: Married American actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick smiling while standing in front of a handheld 'Access Hollywood' microphone at the For All Kids Foundation's Second Annual White Rose Awards Gala at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City.

Karl Feile/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It shouldn't come as a surprise that effective communication is critical for a healthy relationship, but just because this goal is simple—doesn't mean it's easy.

When we have a problem with our partner it can be tempting to "outsource" for advice. We may call our mom or a best friend. We swear we're "just venting," but a lot of the time what we are looking for is advice.

That's not always a bad thing! But it can be a slippery slope (especially when you're not dealing with a licensed professional).

We can be quick to tell everyone what our problem with our partner is...except our partner!

That's why after over 30 years of marriage to Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker's best piece of advice is to "keep things just between the two of you".

RELATED: Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick’s Advice to a Lasting Marriage Is One Very Simple ‘Secret’

Asking outside opinions can distract us from dealing with the real problem. We can't expect someone to change if they don't know what is going on with us, right?

If Your Partner Calls You The More "Emotional" One...

If your partner calls you the more "emotional" one, when problems arise, you're probably pretty reactive. Chances are you read into every little action and behavior—when they seem "distant" you take it personally.

The "emotional one" is the person pacing in the living room, interrogating their partner who sits silently on the couch cross-armed. It's confusing. The more you try to "communicate"—the more they shut down.

But remember facts are not feelings! Sometimes when you think you're communicating—you're not. You may phrase your insecurities like a question—but really you're making a statement.

For Example: In a tense car ride after leaving your mother-in-law's house you may ask your partner, "Why do you never stand up for me?" Even though it's phrased like a question it's not. You're telling them they never stand up for you. It makes sense they may get defensive or shut down completely.

That's not a conversation. That's a confrontation.

If you're a volcanic eruption of emotions all your partner is going to want to do is step on rocks to dodge the hot lava!

Conflict Resolution Tip: For The "Emotional Ones"

Try taking a beat and not being so reactive. Breathe and ask yourself if the big emotions you're experiencing are rooted in reality. Then sit with it for a few days.

If you're still feeling you have something you need to say, then say it!

Your partner may get defensive but trust they will come around—because they want your relationship to work too. Don't jump on every little word they say. Wait it out. Actively listen instead of waiting for what you want to hear.

Don't take their pace personally. Just because you may want to "fix" the problem right away, doesn't mean it's always the right answer.

If Your Partner Calls You The More "Emotionally Unavailable" One...

For the "emotionally unavailable" ones, communicating looks completely different.

Unlike their partners, the "emotionally unavailable" ones tend to suppress and detach from their relationship conflicts. This can lead to big miscommunications that eventually push their partner away in the long run—which isn't what they want!

If the "Emotional" partner seems to care too much— the "emotionally unavailable" partner doesn't seem to care at all. However no matter how convincing their act may be, this isn't the truth.

The emotionally unavailable partner wants to be seen and heard too. They just don't know how to process their feelings at the same rate! The "emotional" partner has a tendency to take over the conversation and leave little room for the "emotionally unavailable" partner to process their feelings and say their piece.

So instead, they shut down. But what these personality types don't understand is their partner wants to hear how they feel. They just have a hard time asking instead of guessing.


Once you can identify why this caused you to feel a certain way, try and get into these habits:

  • Talk to loved ones about what they’re feeling
  • Write down what you think and feel
  • Try meditation or therapy
  • Exercise to relieve stress and increase endorphins
  • Practice being aware of their thoughts when they’re emotional
  • Remove themselves from an emotional situation if it is becoming uncontrollable

Don't be afraid to discuss these goals with your partner. It's about progress not perfection. They just want reassurance that you care. Don't be afraid to ask for them to work on their emotional regulation too.

These sorts of goals are often best met when both parties are working together, and often key components of a more lasting love.

If nothing else remember: it's not a confrontation, it's a conversation!

How to Set Goals: A Normal and Healthy Part of a Relationship

You understand why it's essential to set goals in a healthy and thriving relationship and have a few couple goals in mind that you'd like to discuss with your partner. Now it's time to sit down and have a conversation. Here are a few tips for setting relationship goals with your significant other.

  • Choose a neutral space to discuss relationship goals
  • Determine the length of time for each relationship goal
  • Set check-in dates for each relationship goal
  • Include at least one fun relationship goal
  • Make sure your relationship goals are measurable
  • Evaluate how your love goals make you feel
  • Make sure your couple goals are equally weighted

Don't just set and forget your goals. Consistency is key. Achieving goals requires ongoing work from both you and your partner.

It Works If You Work It—Because You're Worth It!

Setting relationship goals takes time and effort – but the payoff is worth it. Even if you decide to start small, setting couple goals will undoubtedly yield a stronger relationship.

However it's important to rememberwhile there is no shame in working on your relationship don't mistake setting goals with trying to change your partner. Sadly, sometimes when a relationship has soured it's a case of not-meant-to-be that all the self-help books in the world can't fix.

However, if you're merely ironing out the wrinkles with the right person and you both share aligned love goals, you'll have a clear pathway for achieving them and a means of assessing your relationship goals as you move forward. It's important to keep in mind that working towards relationship goals should be a positive endeavor – something that feels rewarding and enjoyable.

"Every woman in her late 20s goes through a period where she just doesn't believe love is out there anymore, but it is. And I think the minute you stop looking for it is when it comes for you."
Kristen Bell

With the right tools, effort and mindset, you can use relationship goals to build the future you want with your partner.


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