Love is great, but I reckon it is shared goals that keep relationships going. Love may bring you and your partner together. But without shared goals, without something to fight for together, love will eventually fade. Traditional shared goals, particularly for younger first-time couples is to buy a house (or at least make a home together – in some cultures, buying a house is rare) and have children. Perhaps it is no coincidence that many couples divorce after 10-15 years, after they have bought their house and had their kids. Could it be that without new shared goals, each member of the couple is likely to focus more on his or her personal goals which at that age (mid 30s to mid 40s) are likely to be career oriented? I suspect it might be.
Moreover, when your partner seems more interested in chasing his goals than in supporting you in chasing yours, he can seem awfully selfish.
Clearly, what older couples need are new shared goals. These older couples might be the ones who have had children and bought houses and survived. Or they might be new couples who have formed from previous divorces. Of course, there are more and more couples who do not want children. Some may not even be particularly keen on making a home together, though this is awfully rare. If you do not wish to share your life with someone, you are unlikely to be envisioning a long term relationship. But there are exceptions.
So, what do you do when you lack shared goals? Create them!
With a Bit of Creativity
Some couples naturally have shared interests, beyond children and a home, which form the basis of long term goals. These shared interests might include travel, sporting activities or renovating old houses. In other couples, it is necessary to find the shared interests that can become shared goals. It can also be a challenge to transform an interest into a goal. A shared love of tennis alone is not a goal. Participating in clubs and tournaments, on the other hand, can form a goal.
Fortunately, creativity is a useful tool for identifying interests and goals. First you need to do a little research and make some lists. What interests you? What interests your partner? Do you have any hobbies? Did you have hobbies, now abandoned, in your youth? What are your personal dreams and aspirations? Your partner’s? Look at couples who are doing interesting things. Is that something you would like to be doing? Or do you just admire the fact that they so enjoy collaborating on those things.
Make notes of your thoughts and ideas. Indeed, finding goals can become a goal in itself. Eventually, one or more possibilities will begin to flower in your minds. Take it further.
Keep in mind, also, that you are not limited to one shared goal per couple. Some couples have big shared goals – like opening a restaurant together. Others have numerous smaller goals such as pursuing sports and hobbies.
Most importantly, have fun! The goals you share as a couple should be rewarding in terms of fun, growth or personal satisfaction. If pursuing a goal becomes an unpleasant chore for one or both of you, it is time to rethink that goal.
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