Want a perfect relationship? Of course you do, just like the rest of us!
We all dream of relationships like the ones we’ve seen in the movies–laughing together without a care in the world, spending every free moment thinking about our partners, everything like a dreamland mixed with a fairy tale spun with angel’s hair. Then we look at what we have with the person we’re with, and things just don’t seem quite as good as we think they “should be”.
But here’s the truth: relationships are never like that. The reason TV and movies are called “entertainment” is because they’re a distraction from real life. In real life, relationships can be messy, turbulent, magical, exhilarating, heartbreaking, chaotic, and wonderful all at once. Sharing a life with someone and falling in love can be the greatest thing in the world, but it’s never perfect.
So forget about everything you’ve heard about, seen with your friends, or watched on a screen. Fantasies aren’t going to get you anywhere–of anything, they’re going to lead to an unrealistic expectation that no real relationship can ever compare with. It’s time to learn about the real hallmarks of a great relationship.
There’s no one size fits all approach to being in a relationship. They can be the easiest thing in the world but ultimately fail, or they can feel like pulling teeth yet ultimately succeed. But here are eight realistic relationship goals that you can strive for, knowing that once you reach them, your relationship is as real and rock solid as you could ask for. And, in the end, that’s what we all want, right?
Don’t Base Your Relationship On “Superficial” Happiness
Happiness can be a fleeting feeling, one that’s here today but gone tomorrow when the s*** hits the fan. External stressors (work, health problems, financial issues, etc.) can amplify internal stressors (anxiety, stress, emotional deficiencies, etc.) and steal your happiness. You can go from wildly happy to devastated to miserable to happy again in the space of a few minutes.
No, happiness isn’t the metric you want to base your relationship on.
Instead, look beyond your temporary happiness and go deeper. Contentment is a feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, a sense of rightness that tells you-you’re doing the right thing—or, in this case, with the right person.
Stop thinking about how happy or miserable you are right now, and push a bit deeper into the core of your feelings.
- Are you truly content with the person you are when you’re with them?
- Do you feel a deep-seated contentment knowing that they’re with you?
- Do you just know you’ll weather the storms of life with them beside you?
Happiness is fleeting, but contentment is the feeling you want when you’re with your partner.
Explore The Unknown Together
Variety is the spice of life, and every couple needs that variety!
Explore the unknown can mean something different for everyone:
- Trying new foods together
- Taking up a new hobby together
- Traveling together
- Exploring new passions together
- Making new friends together
- Getting involved in each others’ projects
Whatever you need to do to keep things fresh and alive, do it!
You may not like everything you try, but so what? All that matters is that you’re trying. That effort is what will keep your relationship alive—the moment you stop putting in the work, that’s when your relationship begins to decay.
Move Past Your Differences
Everyone is different—it’s what makes life fun and adds color and variety!
Differences can sometimes be what draw you two together. She’s fun-loving and outgoing while he’s shy and withdrawn, but he’s a boss at handling the business side of things. One of you is cautious while the other is more adventurous, but ultimately you’re better off for each other.
Differences can lead to break-ups; they’re not called irreconcilable for nothing!
Your goal is to be able to move past those differences. Even if she hates the sci-fi you love, he despises your favorite dramatic TV show, and you can’t agree on the best way to save up for that house, you can still have a functioning, fruitful relationship.
It’s tough to get past your differences, but it can be done. All it takes is two parties willing to compromise and meet the other halfway.
All Healthy Couples Fight, But…
All couples fight—there’s no way around it, because we’re always going to disagree about things.
The secret to a success is going into every fight knowing that no matter what happens, you’re going to get past it.
This knowledge changes the way you argue. When you’re just trying to hurt the other person, there are no off-limits topics. You pull out all the dirty laundry, say every hard-hitting thing, and throw all those low blows. Ultimately, a fight like that can be the end of even a good relationship.
People in a great relationship know that fighting is a part of life, so they’re not afraid of it. Yet they know that there are ways to fight that won’t leave the other devastated. The goal of the fight is to eventually work through the problem and find a way to make peace.
A fight governed by that rule will be far less hurtful and easier to recover from.
You Enjoy Each Other’s Company
No matter how different you are, it’s essential that you enjoy each other’s company.
Relationships are built on time spent together. If you never get time together, the love will slowly die. The more time you spend with each other, the better you’ll know your partner, the more robust the foundation will be.
This is the relationship goal that builds a better future.
- Watch a TV show together
- Take a trip
- Cook together
- Eat together
- Talk to each other on the phone or via text
- Plan activities your partner enjoys
- Find recreations and hobbies you can do together
The more time you spend together, the stronger your relationship will be. Enjoying each other’s company is a sign that your relationship is build on a solid foundation.
Support Each Other
You may have no idea how to help her become a best-selling author or help him re-build that old motorbike, but you don’t need to know everything. All that matters is that you support your partner.
No doubt you have goals that you’re working toward as a couple—saving up enough to take a trip, move in together, buy a house, etc. But each of you also has your own personal goals, things you want to accomplish in life.
Personal goals can do one of two things:
- Pull you apart, because he/she is always spending their time focused on their own goals.
- Bring you together, because you’re there for emotional and physical support when they need it.
Even if you can’t help them directly, you can make it very clear that you support them. Helping your partner to reach their personal goals will build them up and show them how much you care.
Trust Is Given, Not Earned
If you’ve been hurt in the past, it can be hard to trust your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. But you have to be willing to push beyond your past hurts.
Relationships are built on trust, and one of you has to make the first move to prove that you trust the other. It’s easier said than done, but it’s imperative for a healthy relationship.
How can you show you trust them?
- When they’re out, don’t text them every five minutes to check up on them.
- When they come home, don’t grill them about everyone they talked to or what they talked about.
- When you talk about their lives, don’t pry into every previous boyfriend, hookup, or fling until they are ready to talk about it.
- When they leave their phone around the house, don’t go through it.
Everyone has a history, and that history can affect the present. It’s up to you to prove that you trust each other in little ways every day, and ultimately you’ll trust each other in the big ways as well!
You’re Comfortable Around Each Other
Yes, you can enjoy his company while wearing those faded sweatpants and a worn T-shirt. Yes, she can still like you even if you have a few extra pounds to lose.
It’s a fantastic feeling to be comfortable around each other. You can finally be yourselves, dress the way you want, talk the way you want, and be who you want to be without worrying that they’ll judge you. That is the end goal of every good relationship!
These relationship goals aren’t the only things to strive toward, but in our book, they’re the hallmarks of a solid relationship. Take a good, hard look at your current relationship and see if you have these eight things. If so, you’ve got what it takes to go the distance with your partner!