25 Relationship Goals to Set for a Stronger Bond

What is goal setting in relationships?
on January 17, 2024
Read time: 15 mins
by Dr. Jacqui Gabb
relationship goals

As much as we’d like to believe that all you need is love, the truth is that successful relationships take dedication. While we all set fitness or wellness goals, relationship goals, and resolutions are just as important!

Setting relationship goals can help you and your partner thrive and make sure you’re on the same path, but what goals you set changes is entirely up to you and your partner.

“The truth is, making resolutions together can be a game-changer for couples,” says ​​Dr. Jacqui Gabb, a professor of sociology and intimacy at The Open University and Chief Relationships Officer at Paired. 

“Doing so is a great way to check in with each other’s priorities, take stock of your relationship’s strengths and growth areas, and cultivate meaning as a couple,” she adds.

No matter what time of year you’re at, or what stage of the relationship you’re embarking on, setting relationship goals is a great way to align your perspectives and priorities and head into your future together as a team! 

Key Takeaways
  • Relationship goals are like resolutions set by couples to foster growth both as individuals and together. These goals create opportunities for partners to understand and support each other’s aspirations and to strengthen their bond.
  • Effective communication and a collaborative approach are essential in setting relationship goals. Both partners need to contribute equally to these discussions, expressing their aspirations and feelings. This process is not about imposing expectations but rather about finding common ground and mutual aspirations.
  • Relationship goals are dynamic and should evolve with the relationship. As couples grow and change, their goals might also need to be adjusted. This adaptability is a key trait of a strong relationship, as it allows for flexibility and resilience in the face of unexpected challenges.
  • There are various examples of relationship goals couples might set, ranging from improving physical intimacy, learning each other’s apology languages, prioritizing open communication, maintaining curiosity about each other, and discussing difficult topics like sex openly.
  • To set and achieve relationship goals, couples should start by mutually agreeing on their goals, focusing on the positive aspects, and being realistic. Goals should be specific and actionable, with an emphasis on making small, regular changes rather than overhauling everything at once.

What are relationship goals?

You can think of relationship goals as resolutions. 

“Relationship goals are comparable to setting intentions for the future. Communicating relationship goals creates an opportunity for partners to grow as a couple and as individuals,” says Laura Caruso, a couples therapist, and coach 

“Couples who frequently check in with one another to discuss their intentions for the relationship will feel more safe and secure with their partner. If partners are working towards similar goals, they will always have a clear understanding of the status of their relationship and their love for one another.”

One of the keys to a good relationship is open, honest communication, and feeling comfortable discussing both your individual and relationship goals. For a long-term relationship to thrive, it’s important to set out these guideposts along the way, so you can check in with each other, and see how far you’ve come as a team. 

What are relationship goals examples? 

Since relationship goals revolve around you and your partner’s needs, there are eons of examples of relationship goals to choose from. These shared relationship resolutions can range from big life decisions, like deciding to move to a different country, to smaller ones like saving for a fun holiday together. 

Even though it can feel daunting to lay out your resolutions to your partner, it’s not a case of coming on too strong or laying down the law!

Instead, it should be a collaborative process, where you both equally contribute to the conversation and feel like you can be honest about your aspirations and feelings. 

What goals should you set in a relationship?

Every couple is different, so relationship goals will differ from person to person, and from relationship to relationship. While individual goals focus on your personal development, these shared goals should tap into your partner’s love language and should focus on your journey together. 

This is why it’s important to set aside time to plan out your relationship goals, taking account of how your partner feels, and discussing how your individual goals can align! 

“You may be saving for something together,” says Dr. Gabb. “Or perhaps you're vowing to improve in your relationship, such as resolving to show more appreciation for your partner in the form of compliments.” ⁠

The goals you set with your partner might even change as the relationship progresses. As you progress through a relationship, it’s natural for your hopes and dreams to evolve along with you. Never be afraid to update your shared goals, and check in with your significant other to see how they’re feeling. 

One of the key traits of a lasting relationship is the ability to be adaptable and malleable to the bumps along the way. Sometimes things may not pan out the way you think they should, but that’s okay too! 

What are some common relationship goals for couples?

It’s up to you and your partner to sit down and talk about your goals, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, we have some key starting points for you to consider! 

From a focus on your sex life to a renewed focus on building emotional intimacy, these relationship goals are key to any relationship's success. 

1. Have more intimacy, not just sex 

Many people use the terms “intimacy” and “sex” interchangeably, and although sex is one component of intimacy, it’s not the only one. 

Being intimate with your partner isn’t just about physical intimacy and bedroom romps — it’s a sense of deep connection and vulnerability. A romantic relationship won’t flourish without intimacy, so remember to make it a priority. 

When looking at your physical connection, be open to new ways to spice up your relationship! If you’re unsure how to start these conversations, we have an array of content in the Paired app to get you started. 

2. Learn each other’s apology language 

All couples argue. Yes, even the healthy ones! 

You’re bound to mess up at some point, but research shows that partners value their relationship more if their loved one apologizes after doing something wrong

The thing is, we all have different expectations for what makes a good apology. Learning your partner’s apology language can help you make up after a fight, and work towards more efficient conflict resolution. These strategies can help you build a strong relationship, and also improve your own well-being — eliminating the anxiety and stress around those silly little arguments! 

3. Work on your communication

Your partner can’t read your mind (but that would make things so much easier), so learning to communicate with one another is key to a successful relationship. When things get tough, this simple step can seem impossible, but don’t fret!

Communication is a skill that requires constant practice, and no matter how good you are at it, you should keep learning how to communicate your needs, expectations, and anxieties. If you’re spending hours constructing the perfect text message to try to articulate your emotions or find yourself spending too much time in the notes app — this is where Paired can come in handy!

By answering specific questions, or even by constructing your own, Paired can be that bridging point as you move towards a healthy relationship with open communication.

4. Stay curious 

Contrary to popular belief, curiosity didn’t kill the cat. You might think that you know your partner like the back of your hand, and while that may be true, people are full of surprises. 

Psychologist and marriage counselor Dr. John Gottman found that one of the keys to having a happy, successful relationship is how much partners know about each other’s “inner worlds”. 

Even if you’ve been together for years, staying curious about each other and learning new things about your partner can bring you closer and stay connected in stressful times. (We make the very biased suggestion that Paired is a great way to start!) 

5. Talk about sex 

No one enjoys having difficult conversations with their partner, but avoiding them does no good for your relationship. 

As daunting or awkward as it might be, research finds that talking about sex can greatly improve your relationship, and prevent problems down the line.  This openness won’t happen overnight, but working towards this kind of open communication can help you sidestep any issues down the road. 

While Paired is a great tool to spark these conversations, it’s important to check in with your partner regularly on these topics to ensure you are both on the same page. 

6. Make more time for fun 

It’s far too easy to get caught up in the stresses of everyday life and fall into a bit of a relationship rut. Playfulness is vital to a relationship, and research also shows that spending quality time with your partner can improve your bond overall. 

Whether you decide to go on a romantic getaway, try something new in the bedroom, or go for romantic massages, carving out more time to have fun with your partner can significantly improve your relationship (and your own mental health!) 

When deciding what to do for fun, try and tap into each other’s love language to find the perfect bonding opportunity for you both.  

7. Check in with each other

relationship check-in is a way to touch base with your partner, air any grievances, and take stock of the relationship. 

It might sound unsexy, but having regular relationship check-ins means investing time into the relationship so nothing gets swept under the rug. These check-ins are usually a key part of couples therapy and allow you both to check in on the progress of your relationship goals overall. 

8. Compromise

Knowing how to compromise is easier said than done, but it’s a crucial skill to have in your relationship arsenal. It shows you’re capable of problem-solving together and prioritizing your relationship when it matters the most.

When you’re feeling stubborn and nothing seems to be going right, take a step back and evaluate your relationship overall. Is it worth taking a stand, or can you try and work towards a healthy compromise? After all, there’s no point in an argument over pizza or Chinese food resulting in a break-up!

9. Opt for non-sexual physical touch 

While physical intimacy has always been a priority for couples, our Paired research revealed a shift in relationship desires — with a focus on snuggles above all else! 

No matter your love language, non-sexual physical touch (such as holding hands, snuggling, or even a simple hug) is an easy way to slot affection into your own relationship goals. 

10. Support personal growth

In a relationship, you should always be each other’s greatest cheerleaders! 

Even though it’s important to work towards your goals as a team, it’s equally important to explore your own interests while feeling supported by your partner. This year, don your favorite set of pom poms and your winning smile, and be prepared to cheer your partner on no matter what! 

11. Build trust

Whether you’ve struggled with trust in the past or not, trust is a key ingredient in a successful relationship. 

Setting a goal of ‘trust’ might sound odd, but there are several small goals or steps that you can take to build trust in your relationship. For example, if you know that your partner can be insecure, try and opt for transparency — so they feel like they can trust you completely and don’t have to question your intentions. 

12. Practice patience

Patience is a virtue.

However, with a bit of work and awareness, it’s no harm to set it as a relationship goal! If you find yourself getting frustrated over the little things or get annoyed when your partner takes that every minute to get ready — it could be time to take a step back and take that deep breath. 

With this goal in mind, try to focus on the bigger picture and don’t get hung up on the small things. They’re likely the things that are holding you back!!

(Good things take time after all!) 

13. Plan for the future together

When plotting out your relationship goals, it’s important to look at your relationship from both a short and long-term perspective. 

If you’re setting aside time to discuss your relationship goals, it might be the moment to look at your five-year plan, and see what the future could hold for you as a couple! This may feel intimidating, but these planning sessions could save you a lot of stress in the future. 

14. Practice gratitude 

Why wait until Thanksgiving rolls around to express your gratitude? 

This year, try and express your gratitude as frequently as you can. A simple ‘I love you’ each day can help make your partner feel safe, secure, and loved — contributing to a happier and healthier relationship overall. 

15. Advocate for independence

If you’ve been joined at the hip for the majority of your relationship, this may be the moment to take a step back!

This doesn’t mean that you’re any less committed to your relationship, but there is certainly no shame in prioritizing your independence. While you can still be best friends with your partner, working towards your own goals can help you both avoid any codependent tendencies and come out stronger for it! 

16. Practice comfortable silence 

This may seem like a funny one, especially if your other goals are focused on building emotional intimacy — but here us out! 

Cultivating an environment where you both feel comfortable, relaxed, and supported… That sounds like a fair goal to us. While we would never advocate for phubbing or negative habits, creating a relationship space where you both can feel calm and comfortable is a key part of making things work long-term. 

Whether you’re reading a book, or catching up on some work, feeling that your partner is part of your safe space is a huge milestone in any relationship. 

17. Engage in shared hobbies

Setting relationship goals or resolutions isn’t just about the emotional side of a relationship, and should include some fun shared hobbies!

Is this the year you’re going to run a marathon together? Or are you both finally going to start that cooking class together? No matter what goals you’ve been putting off, starting a new hobby as a team can be the perfect opportunity for both of you to grow as a team (and learn a new skill in the process!) 

18. Prioritize health and well-being 

Health is wealth!

Put your joint well-being on the agenda by making it a part of your relationship goals going forward. Whether it’s eating healthier or practicing meditation, taking steps to prioritize your well-being will always reflect on your relationship satisfaction overall. 

19. Regular date nights

While we always have the best intentions, when things get hectic, it’s usually date nights that are the first to drop off the agenda. 

With this goal in mind, chat with your partner about creating sustainable goals around quality time and date nights. For example, you can plan for something more special and romantic at least once a month, with one weeknight always reserved for some one-on-one time. 

20. Maintain a balance of give and take

Relationships are all about give and take, but if the balance has felt a little bit off lately, it’s important to set goals to remedy this situation. 

Take the time to discuss how you’re both feeling in the relationship and what areas you feel that you’re doing a bit too much heavy lifting in. If you prefer, you can even set smaller more specific goals around this topic, to ensure that you’re both supported and satisfied in your day-to-day lives! 

21. Budgeting 

How long have you been dreaming about that vacation in the Maldives? Or, how long have you been fantasizing about owning your perfect home together? 

Well, this is the year that you can make it happen!

Start thinking about budgeting with your partner, and align on your financial goals. How much can you put away each week? Is there anything you can cut back or save on? Agree on some budgeting goals and try to keep each other accountable as you go from month to month. 

If you’re struggling to keep track, there are loads of budgeting apps for couples that can help you reach your goals! 

22. Social media scrolling 

Have you gotten into some bad social media habits? If you can’t pull your eyes away from your screen, even on date night, it might be a good time to set some social media boundaries in your relationship!

Even though there are many perks to social media, it can also lead to a lot of comparison, especially with other couples. Remember that everyone is on their own journey, and it’s good to take a step back from your screen to re-align your priorities in your relationship. 

If you’re struggling to stay away, you can even try and do a total social media cleanse with your partner — opting for quality time above all! 

23. Staying in touch 

While communication should always be a priority in a relationship, it’s equally important to build relationships with your significant others loved ones, and the same vice versa. 

Make a habit of reaching out to your loved ones family and friends, and try to expand your communication in new and creative ways. Getting to know your partner’s loved ones, it’s a natural way to build more intimacy! 

24. Talk about boundaries

We’ve said it before, and we will say it again — healthy boundaries are foundational to any relationship!

Alongside your relationship goals, establishing personal boundaries sets you up for success from the start. After all, how can your partner know if they're crossing a line if you never told them it was there? 

25. Set a routine 

When you’re aligning on your goals, it’s natural to want to put a routine in place to ensure that you achieve them!

Unlike our vows to go to the gym in January, we want to make sure these healthy habits stick, and that’s much easier when you’re in it together! Try and establish a relationship routine that makes you both feel supported and reassured — with smaller, more personal goals to set you up for success along the way!

How to set relationship goals you'll keep

Life has a funny way of sabotaging our best-laid plans, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it. If you’re wondering how to set relationship goals in the first place, keep reading for some expert advice. 

Achieving your goals won’t be a quick and easy process, but that shouldn’t discourage you. Below, Dr. Gabb shares some advice on how to set relationship goals — and how to stick to them. 

Agree on your relationship goals together.

Everything starts with a good plan! “Write down a relationship resolution for the year and share it with your partner,” says Dr. Gabb. “Discuss how to ensure your goal is achievable for both of you and the ways it may help you to grow as a couple.”
Focus on the positive. ng to benefit anyone! “Don't dwell on what's not working, focus on the positive changes you can make and how they can benefit you,” says Dr. Gabb. “For example, instead of vowing to quit ‘phubbing’ — that is, paying more attention to your mobile than your partner — you might say ‘Let’s leave our phones at home during date night so we can spend quality time with each other’.”
Don’t expect miracles. The act of setting relationship goals is not an automatic remedy for your relationship issues. “My advice is to be realistic or you'll set yourself up for failure and frustration,” says Dr. Gabb. “You’ll give yourself your best shot at success if you set goals that are doable — and meaningful too.” ⁠
Be specific. Within some of our goal suggestions, there are some loftier ideals about what makes a healthy relationship. It’s important to narrow these down and make them more specific to you — so that you have a concrete goal to work towards! “It’s important to be clear on what you want to improve and how you’re going to achieve this,” says Dr. Gabb. “For instance, if you’ve both identified that you struggle to make time to check in with each other daily, can you agree to get up a bit earlier and share breakfast together before you head off for work, or message each other during your day when you have a spare moment?”
Aim for small, regular changes. Don’t feel pressured to change everything about your relationship in the wake of resolutions! “Remember, relationship goals don’t have to be big and intimidating, in fact to the contrary, it’s often the little things that count,” says Dr. Gabb. “Studies show that doing something thoughtful daily is far more valued and can instigate change.”
Celebrate your progress. While setting out your goals can be fun, ticking them off is a real thrill! “Once you’ve set your couple goals be sure to acknowledge the gains that you’ve made and show appreciation for your partner’s efforts throughout the year,” says Dr. Gabb. “Research shows that these gestures of appreciation will make you both happier and more likely to achieve your relationship goals."
Revisit your goals. When you set out your relationship goals, everything can feel new and exciting, but as life rolls on — these concepts have a habit of fading into the background! Instead of letting things slide, it’s important to stage relationship check-ins to ensure that you’re both satisfied with your progress and can chat about what you can do better as a team!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you plan goals in a relationship?

    Planning goals in a relationship can feel overwhelming, as you might be worried about pressuring your partner! However, you should approach these conversations as collaboratively as possible, and work on a plan that suits you both. Taking the time to plan out your relationship goals makes them feel more achievable, as you can lean on each other when you need them!
  • What are positive goals in a relationship?

    Relationship goals are completely dependent on both of your emotional needs and to create a positive plan, you have to be honest about what you want from your future together! Positive goals should revolve around creating a happy, sustainable relationship — with strategies implemented to make you both feel secure. For example, planning out your five-year plan, or setting budgeting goals to achieve your dreams!
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