CHARTING YOUR COURSE AS A COUPLE By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

March 27, 2019

We’ve all heard jokes about people who never want to stop and ask for directions – they think they can find their way without help. But when it comes to your future as a couple, stopping to discuss your direction together is an essential ingredient needed to get on the same track. It takes a lot of strategic thought to determine who you are and where are you headed as a couple, not as individuals. Slowing down to figure this out is imperative.

Charting your course in twelve-month increments is a key approach to maintaining a healthy relationship. Additionally, research shows that couples who take the time to plan out their journeys see a 10% increase in happiness! If your relationship right now can look 10% better in twelve months, what would that look like for you…?

Today, we are sharing how to map out your course together for the next year. Let’s dive in!

WRITE OUT YOUR GOALS TOGETHER

Having a shared vision will cultivate a happier and healthier relationship, and is starts with writing down your goals for the year. Not your individual goals, but your goals as a couple. Take the time once every twelve-months to sit down with your partner and write out 6 or 7 goals.

Be intentional and discuss this together. It’s important to practice listening skills, and to hear each other out during this process. It may also take some compromise. Goal setting is a practical way to keep your relationship fresh and on track, and many couples find it fun!

Do you need some ideas? Here are a few discussion questions to jumpstart your plan:

  • What do you hope to do together this year? Do you have a vacation in the pipeline that you have been saving for? Maybe now is the time to put that on the radar! Have you been saving for a big move, or remodel? Discuss if this is the year to put that into action. Or perhaps you want to be more intentional this year with each other and have a standing date night each week on the calendar.
  • Are there any new traditions or habits you’d like to sculpt together? Was this past year an exceptionally busy year for your family? If so, make a goal to sit down and have dinner together as a family each night. Are there any certain holiday traditions you want to begin? Are you on a health kick and want to start exercising more together? Maybe you’d like to be more intentional with prayer time, or devotional time together.
  • What do you need to change? Don’t be afraid to discuss things that need to change in your relationship. Do you want to become a better listener? Are you working on fighting less, or learning how to fight productively? After all, conflict can bring you closer – check out our book The Good Fight to learn more on this topic. Whatever the case, use this time to create a plan that implements any changes you’d like to work on over the next 12 months.
  • Are your finances where you’d like them to be? Goal setting is a great time to check in on your finances. Is this the year you hope to get out of debt? Then make a plan and stick to it! If your finances are solid, maybe this is a good year to evaluate your savings plan and discuss if there is anything on the drawing board you hope to save for?

Research shows that if you write your goals down on paper, you are 80% more likely to stick to them. So get a pen and paper out, create a date with your partner, and get started!

WHEN IS A GOOD TIME TO CHART YOUR COURSE?

There is no right or wrong answer to this – it can be any time of the year. Whenever you choose to begin we recommend you stick to this every twelve-months. Some couples will hold the tradition of doing this the first of the year, and others will choose an anniversary. Perhaps Spring is a good time for you and your partner after all of the chaos from the holidays and new year have settled.

Whatever date you land on, keep up on the yearly cycle of planning. By practicing this annual habit of charting your course, you will be on the right path to strengthen your connection together as a couple.

Do you and your partner have an annual goal setting date? What types of goals do you have as a couple? We’d love to for you to share with us in the comments!

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