5 min read
We all have dreams and goals we wish to accomplish, and when we find a partner with whom we wish to establish a home and a life, it’s natural to extend those “I” goals into “We” goals.
The catch is, we are not always explicit when we make this transition. We assume certain goals are implied – we might even snoop around the questions, conversing at a high level about ideas we believe we both share: “we should save money for a down payment in a few years right?” “We should think about having kids soon…” “I think it would be nice to retire in Portugal.”
Each of these statements hides a dream, desire, or even goal we have for our own life: homeowner by 35, family of 4 by 40, retiring in Portugal at the age of 65. Whatever your dreams are, sharing ideas with your Partner but not having an intentional conversation about what your shared vision is for your relationship can be the difference between marital bliss, and constant struggles.
This concept of a shared relationship vision has come up again and again as we interview relationship coaches and experts for our podcast. In our conversation with Brenden Kumarasamy, he brought up the concept of a shared relationship vision as a way to get on the same page. Another example is when Victoria Rader brought up the concept of establishing a shared relationship vision as a way to either find your soul mate or save yourself years of misery.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your relationship, or you’ve been together for several years – it’s never too early or too late to sit down with your partner and talk about what you aspire from your relationship. In fact, we believe this should be a recurring exercise and a tradition. People and their priorities change with time, and the exercise of talking about a relationship vision can keep partners in alignment.
When Ansh and I met, we often shared our dreams and goals with each other. He wanted to move from Boston and work somewhere new. I wanted to live in Europe for a while. As we got to know each other, we saw that several of our dreams could weave together (like living in a foreign country) – we also saw that some dreams would require one of us to be willing to say yes, without explicitly getting something out of it for ourselves (like moving across the continent for a new job).
We even tried a few different goal-setting activities. We try to share our goals so that we can create a common language to better support each other in the pursuit of those dreams. While this helped us understand each other more intimately, what we didn’t do until quite recently, is revisit the idea of goal setting from the perspective of our relationship.
For our last date night activity, we created a Relationship Deal Breakers list (submit your email to get the full list!). We split our conversation into five sections: Partnership, Family/Friends, Home/Health, Finance, and Miscellaneous. Our goal was to talk about what often goes unspoken in relationships, so we could get a better idea of where we each stood on these issues, and if things didn’t match – well then we knew where we had more work to do to reach reconciliation and understanding or perhaps re-evaluate why we are in this partnership in the first place.
We decided to do this activity orally, without taking time to write down answers individually and then share and discuss. As we went through the list, we took turns listening to each other and then sharing our perspectives. On points that were contentions (there are 2), we marked them with a star to circle back to. At the end of this activity, we both felt validated in the perspectives that we shared, and aware of the perspectives that we didn’t share.
What can you do?
- Make a list of questions: leverage our list or find more questions from a quick search on the web that can be potential deal breakers for relationships.
- Set a time and place to have this conversation: schedule a date night, and make sure both partners are ready to have this conversation.
- Show up to the conversation ready to listen and share: it’s essential to create a safe space to have this conversation, to listen, learn and share
Getting on the same page with your partner about core life decisions multiplies the love, and brings awareness to the differences.