Many authors, from Viktor Frankl to Deepak Chopra, have discussed the importance of living a purposeful life. It is purpose that allows us to transcend ourselves and create meaningful moments. Frankl believed that a pursuit in meaning in life is far more important than the pursuit of happiness, as meaning connects us to our past, present and future.
It can also be said that purpose in a relationship is more important than happiness. Relationships that last are the ones where two people create shared meaning; where goals are set and met alongside each other. A healthy relationship involves building a life together where dreams are not only visualized but come to fruition.
My husband and I met on this day 24 years ago. We’ve been through many difficult times, but we work and create really well together. While happiness is a feeling that can eventually fade, meaning and purpose are everlasting. We have somehow managed to always find a common goal to work toward. When we complete one goal/project, we come up with another. Despite our conflicts, we’ve created a beautiful life and wonderful memories this way. With this in mind, here are 3 ways you and your partner can create and share goals together.
Commit to Creative Time
Couples are often encouraged to commit to a “date night” once a week to stay connected. While having fun together is definitely important to the relationship, it is no more important than creating together. Be sure to set time aside each week to create a shared vision and figure out how you’re going to make that vision become reality. Planning and having something to look forward to is a wonderful thing! Get out some graph paper and sketch out your dream ?whatever?. Imagine a trip you would like to take and start doing some research together. Picture what you want your life to look in 5-10 years and make a list of what you need to do to get there.
During your dreaming and planning hours, it’s important that you both be open to what the other has to say. Dreaming and planning your life is not the time to put each other down for ideas or questions. Being open and non-critical will create an environment of respect and safety, and this is where magic can happen. To be honest, I’m not as open to my husband’s creative ideas as he is to mine. We are so different: artist/counselor vs engineer. However, here is what I’ve learned over time: When I am open to his influence, the things I dream up actually get done.
Once you have come up with your goal (i.e buy and renovate your old dream home, adopt a child, change your career and make a big move, plan a 2-week cross country roadtrip with your kids, open a new business) and devised a plan of how you’ll get there (for my husband, this involves charts and spreadsheets), it’s important you BOTH see the plan all the way through to the end. Be sure to keep yourself and each other accountable and support one another. Remember, you’re on the same team – but you each bring unique talents to the game. Cheer each other on and celebrate how your differences make you stronger!
In order for your marriage to thrive, it is vitally important you both commit to spending quality time together dreaming and planning, being open and respectful to what the other has to say, and share in the responsibility of seeing your dream come to fruition. If you can’t find energy and excitement in dreaming and planning or your communication is too troubled to make plans…consider seeking the guidance of a couples counselor who can help you reconnect and tackle any issues you may be having. At critical points, my husband and I sought the counsel of professionals. Counseling helps.
If you or your partner is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me (615) 415-8884. I see ALL types of couples. I would be delighted to speak with you about how I can help.