Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Couple Goals, and why they matter

My articles title is absolutely not in reference to the eyeroll inducing hashtag thats become commonplace as of late, splashed all over social media sites.  People frequently using such in trite ways, such as to showcase the size of an engagement ring, or to point to the physical attractiveness of a pair, or just plastered alongside photos of couples making out.  Making such a hashtag as "couple goals" rather ambiguous and shallow, to say the least.  

What exactly are those couple goals to which they are referring?  To look good in photos together and appear unrealistically elated in every image?  To showcase the apparently enviable great looks and supposed constant happiness of those within said photo?  Those dont seem the most fulfilling, authentic, nor the deepest of relational goals.  To look hot and appear perpetually gleeful?  Is this really what we feel must be displayed in order to prove to others that our relationship is a good one?

Of course, we all smile in photos.  And to be happy is the goal of most people.  However, just because two people are smiling in a photo does not necessarily mean the relationship is a happy or healthy one.  And with regards to my other questions above...allow me to explain further below what exactly are (or at least, should be) legit couple goals, and why they matter.  

Way cool couple goal.

Rather silly and shallow "couple goal."  Shopping, looking hot, and having lots of stuff.

Isnt whats far more important, as well as way more fulfilling and joy inducing, what the relationship is like emotionally?  On the inside, so to speak?  What exists between the couple intellectually, friendship wise, emotionally, communicationally, support and love wise?  As in, what are the makings of the relationship between the two people?  

How about having a relationship that entails a degree of sacrifice?  Honesty?  Consistent effort, romance, and surprise?  True commitment and the going out of ones way?  Adventure?  Trust?  Aren't these what should be the goals of a great relationship?  Why are we not showcasing these as couple goals?  (As opposed to showing off how hot, "happy," physically fit, rich, party animals, etc the two of you are- which is what many of the photos with regards to supposed "couple goals" display).

Now thats a couple goal.  57 years together, and still in love.

As you probably guessed by now, these are the types of goals to which I am referring.  Not looking hot or happy in photos (which of course in the case of many photos, the latter even being a flat out lie and misrepresentation.  Tons of couples who are not especially happy together and are very mismatched appear quite happy in photos).  Not showcasing how much money a man spent on a ring, as if thats evidence of his level of love or commitment to you (not even close.  The two are not synonymous with one another at all.  Instead, how he treats you as a whole within the relationship, thats what displays his love for you).  Not showcasing partially dressed couples in highly sexualized poses, nor couples displaying their ripped bodies, as though these are what makes a relationship truly great.  One with staying power, respect, and depth of feeling.  

Most of the photos that popped up when I googled the phrase "couple goals" were generally idiotic and displayed things that, to me, do not even remotely indicate what makes a relationship truly awesome or not.  Instead, the majority were people showing off.  Some of the images even flat out pornographic (this indicates couple goals?  Really?), and/or just showcasing silly, ambiguous things it was claimed should be enviable.

See the two photos just below.  Two of the actual results from Google showcasing "couple goals."  Yikes.  Apparently the bar is set quite low for the goals we have in our relationships.  The majority of results for the term showcase more of the same.

My article is here to hopefully reframe and spark further consideration for what we apparently view as "couple goals."  Folks, I think we can do better.  A lot better.  Lets step it up a notch, or several.

Lets begin showcasing and promoting couple goals that are actually worthwhile.  The ones that both point to indicators of what makes a truly wonderful relationship, as well as that elicit and invite in further growth together.  Deepening the relationship you two already share.  Couple goals that evoke challenge, newness, and excitement between the two of you.  Couple goals that ignite new interests and which create awe, joy, and long term fulfillment.  These are the couple goals of which I am talking.

So, how exactly does one do this?  Create goals in their relationship that both bring you two closer, elicit further growth and excitement in your relationship, as well as are truly fulfilling?

First off, why are you with this person?  Why did you choose them with whom to be in a relationship?  

Many people respond to such a question with thoughts such as, "I was just really attracted to them," or "they are super hot," or "we have fun together," or "we have great sex."  These are superficial and aren't especially deep nor compelling reasons for being with the person you have chosen.  Of course, its all well and good to be attracted to your partner, to have great sex, and that you have great fun in their company.  These are important.  But.  There must be much more as to why you are in love with this person.  

Because, looks fade, and sex eventually (once one grows older) dwindles.  Sex and attraction are most certainly parts of the equation, and important ones.  Sex is one of the aspects of a relationship that keeps the couple emotionally close and connected.  Its something sacred and special between the two of you.  An immensely intimate bonding.  But there must be much more as to why you love this person, and with potent potential for major staying powerWhat about this persons character and soul sets you alight?  This is something you should be able to answer.  What makes them different and special, to you?

To add significant focus and meaning with regards to your relationship, consider creating a context for it.  Sounds strange, right?  I found this concept in one of the best relationship books Ive ever read, "The Soulmate Experience: a practical guide to creating extraordinary relationships," by Mali Apple

What is a context?  And how does having this make your relationship better?

A context is a statement of what you intend to offer your relationship.  

By pointing you toward higher possibilities, your context will be your guide not only when your relationship is feeling healthy and strong, but also when you are facing your greatest challenges.  

A context will nourish and support your relationship, as it adapts to changing circumstances and expands in new directions.

So much of the time, we go into a romantic relationship without fully knowing why.  Sure, we are attracted to and love spending time within their company, as well as whenever around them we tend towards feeling great about ourselves.  But then what?

When asked, many people say they want a relationship for intimacy or companionship.  For others, it may be about being part of a family.  But all too often, being in a relationship is about how it makes you feel good.  Many of us approach a relationship with mindsets and thinking such as, "my other half," or imagining that being with someone will "finally fill the emotional hole in my life."  

This is a semi misguided way of thinking about our relationship, and here is why.

If you really want to create a soulmate experience with your love, its essential to examine the reasons why you are in a relationship or looking for one in the first place.  Rather than focusing on what you want from a relationship, its important to turn your attention towards what you can offer it.

Thats one part of considering how to create a solid foundation with your partner and thus, guiding you towards truly fulfilling couple goals.

Next, what sorts of couple goals might be those that truly add to my relationship, making it deeper, emotionally closer, happier, healthier, and more exciting?

An awesome couple goal and accomplishment.

Ill give you some examples, though of course, the goals for each couple will be completely and totally different.  As said goals will depend entirely on the personal interests, life desires, and personalities of the people in that relationship.

To offer some ideas though:

Build your own house together

Saving up for a year or two, then quitting your jobs (or taking a sabbatical) and traveling the world together for 8 months- one year.

Raising animals together.  (Yes, dogs, cats, horses, all of these will do just fine ;-), if you cant finagle raising tigers).

Having and raising a child together.

Compiling and publishing a cookbook together.

Running an official race (5k, or other) in all 50 states together.

Backpacking through Europe together for a few weeks at once.

Opening/owning a Bed and Breakfast someday together.

Skiing several of the tallest and/or most scenic peaks in the world.

Opening your own café/bakery together.

Starting your own book club together, or writing club, or running club, or dinner party get the idea.  Invite a few others to join and host this every month.

Purchasing and having your own farm (as well as, raising animals on said farm).

Living in another country together for one year.

Going to culinary school together.

Purchasing a little lakeside cottage together.

Opening up your own art gallery together and filling it with your own creations for sale.

The list of possibilities can go on, and on, and on.

I suggest making an overall list of couple goals for the time being.  Maybe 5-10 goals you have right now as a couple, that set both of your hearts alight and are things both of you want to strive for making/experiencing/building/achieving together.  Then commit to doing say, 3-5 of them in the next year.  Once the year is over, reassess the goals you have remaining on the list.

Your remaining goals may have changed.  Maybe some can be crossed off from the list, and some new goals added.  Then, for the coming year again, select 3-5 goals to complete within that year.  And so on.

Each year, take a look at your master list of couple goals, reassess (crossing off, and adding where need be), and then select 3-5 to complete together in the coming year.

Couple goals, not the silly images with this hashtag slapped on that its become trendy to do as of late, but thoughtful, growth inducting, novel, and enriching goals shared as a couple, these can add major meaning, excitement, and be a source of added commitment between the two of you.  Couple goals matter because they act as a guiding star and strong bond between the two of you and within your relationship.  They help clarify were you want to go together, hand in hand.

Its of course, crucial to continue growing as an individual as well throughout your life.  To have your own goals, pursuits, passions, friends, and joys.  Thats not to be ignored simply by means of not being mentioned in here.  However, couple goals are a ways of adding meaningful weight to your relationship.

They're a surefire way to keep your relationship exciting, novel, ever growing and shifting.  Here's to truly enviable and awesome couple goals in the making ;-)

Click here to read my full article on how to create a context for your relationship.

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