I’ve posted a few times this year about my own goals and dreams and how I am breaking down those goals month by month, week by week, day by day. In light of my anniversary a few weeks ago though, I wanted to post a bit about setting goals with your significant other.
My husband and I have been dreaming together for a long time. We probably started making plans together earlier than I thought I’d ever be comfortable with as an ex-commitment-phobe, but we really started aligning goals and dreams when we had our pre-marital counseling. The pre-marital program at our church was mandatory for all engaged couples, and included a FOCCUS test and a weekend away together at an Engaged Encounter. While some of the things on that test and that we discussed that weekend seemed so painfully obvious that we could hardly take it seriously, other things came to light that we realized we had not thought about or discussed in depth. We also learned to start communicating together better.
We are still learning and growing on that front. We’ve had times where we’ve let our external situations or complete lack of sleep get the best of us (I really REALLY can’t have serious or sensitive conversations in the morning before at least a cup of coffee… it will not end well. HE does not appreciate being woken in the middle of the night to discuss something I feel is urgent because my brain is awake and whirring 100 miles per minute. We’ve learned this about each other over the last five years of marriage…)
So while we had one typical date night out to dinner on our actual anniversary, we had an additional at-home date night to talk about dreams and goal over some wine. We also decided to try out the Couples Guide from the Cultivate What Matters Shop to help us with some prompts.
WE LOVED this tool. Similar to the way the Engaged Encounter brought up subjects that we hadn’t thought about or that it might have seemed confrontational if one of us had mentioned out of the blue, this booklet gave us a chance to really dig in and discuss what is important to us, what’s taking up our time now, what can use some improvement, and what we are thankful for.
It also allowed us a few times to be silly. You can adjust this to whatever fits your personality. We had fun guessing what the other person was going to put down for various categories. We worked through this over two nights so we could let some of what we talked about the first night sink in before we set some formal goals together. What I particularly loved about this workbook is that there was a section for mutual goals and then a section for individual goals with prompts about how we could support each other in those goals. I am really bad at articulating that sometimes- both in expressing it for myself and in asking what I can do from my husband. We fall into routines where we figure the other one just knows. Some of the goals we set were things we’d talked about before, but they felt like more of a commitment when we wrote them down. Some were new goals that we hadn’t realized we wanted to go after. All of it was really good, meaningful, important conversation. It’s one of my favorite dates we’ve had so far.