Traditionally January is a time to think about goals. We were with the grandchildren in Ottawa last week and helped them develop categories for their goals. We used the categories school, friends, finances, family, etc. As adults, a key category could be your relationship.
Relationship Goals: Vision
If improving your relationship is one of your goals for this year, an easy exercise you could do with your partner is to create a Relationship Vision. Simply put, if your relationship worked out ideally, just the way you wanted it, what would it look like? Even couples who are conflicted know what they want. In the office, I have couples make up a list, separately, of what their ideal relationship might look like. Having a goal improves the chances of attaining it.
Example of a Relationship Vision
For example, if I want to go to Toronto, I can go up Highway 2, 3, 401, or take back roads. Now there might be roadblocks or detours along the way, but I have a much better chance of getting there if I know where I am going in the first place. Same with a Relationship Vision. You have a much better chance of getting to your Dream Relationship if you both know what you want in the first place.
The statements you would write begin with we – are in the present tense – and are positive. For example, we are best friends, rather than we will be (future tense) best friends or we are good parents, rather than we will be good parents. Stay in the present tense even though it is the future you are looking towards. And positive rather than negative. We communicate well rather than we do not argue.
My job in the office is then to hold couples accountable for their vision. It is not mine, it is theirs. So my job is to check up on them – your Vision states: we have fun together. What did you do this week to have fun? The first couple I challenged in this way, had done nothing special that week. But the following week they had gone on a date night.
Our Relationship Vision
Crystal and I used to pull out our Relationship Vision in January and commit to working on one or two things, especially for the next 6 months. Our anniversary was in June, and we would pull it and again commit to whatever needed working on. We challenged each other last year to do something out of our normal routine at least one day a week. One result was hiking in 10 of the 19 Conservation Areas in Essex County.
Good luck with your relationship goals for 2023. Remember the tools are available in today’s world to have the relationship of your dreams. A first step might be to articulate what your vision will look like and then commit to implementing your vision – one resolution at a time. Cheers.