Close this search box.

Understand the importance of setting and clarifying goals in relationship

Table of Contents

When two people come together to get into a relationship, they may be looking for a short term fling or a long term serious relationship.

It is obviously important that the two partners have the same expectation from the relationship or have Common Goals in Relationship.

What is not so obvious is that the partners should also be able to understand each others goals that may not be related to the relationship but to other areas of their life as well.

Lack of understanding of partner’s goals can become a major source of problems and conflicts in a relationship.

Goals in Relationship: Case Study

Couple having conflict due to difference in their relationship goals

Rohan & Mona, after being together for nearly two years, decided to get married. However it was only within few months of marriage that they started having troubles & issues.

It all started when Mona wanted to go for the course of interior decoration & needed money.. Whereas Rohan insisted her on doing a computer course.. rather than wasting both her time & money… over learning things that one can even do without having a degree.

This conflict continued for months. Mona, during those days used to feel like a puppet… Merely dancing on the strings… Controlled by her master (Rohan)… Whereas Rohan on the other hand, used to feel frustrated.. that why Mona is not understanding him..? Why is she doing this..?

Importance of understanding partner’s goals in relationship?

This lack of understanding regarding what each of them want & why, lead to bitterness in their relationship. The bubbles of love were smeared by thorns of differences!!!

This is a very common problem between partners.

Anywhere when different goals or outcomes come in the picture, friction is experienced whether we like it or not.

Being in a relationship is not only about sharing “Love”. It is also about sharing responsibilities, caring commitments & adhering acceptance for one-another & for each other’s “GOALS”.

You may be wondering… “Is it really that important to understand the goals that partner’s have in relationship?”

Honestly we undermine the importance of goals that partners have in a relationship.

Entering into a relationship means merging of two different worlds. This merge can be difficult if the “walls of goals” become too thick without doors of understanding and adjustment. Which then leaves no way for love to enter in!

What do we mean by goals in relationship?

Graphic representing setting goals in relationships

‘Goals’ simply stated, is an aim or a ‘dream’ that one wishes to achieve.*¹

It can be anything like… Getting a degree, a high paid job in MNC, learning piano, getting married & starting a family, establishing a new business etc.

It functions as a “motivational force” that makes individual strive hard for its accomplishment.

Once achieved it provides a sense of happiness, fulfilment, & satisfaction.

The joy is doubled because there is a companion who has a “same goal as ours” or simply because there is someone to “support” us and enjoy the journey and the success with us.

What if partners have different goals in relationship?

It’s not simple and straight forward at all times after all, is it?

There are times when the partners have “different (at times even conflicting) goals”.

A typical example would be where one person may want to spend more time with family while the other person in the relationship maybe wanting to focus more on career that requires them to spend time away from family.

Does this have a potential to create problems?

It does, doesn’t it?

Their lives seem to be moving in two different directions.

This could lead to, each becoming lost in their own worlds or even worse, where one “compromises” for another!!

They change, adjust, sacrifice & forget to live for themselves.

Just so that their partners can achieve their goals!!

(btw… this is not a healthy egalitarian relationship, Where one person’s dreams are fulfilled at the cost of another)

For the partner that seems to be sacrificing, life begins to feel like a struggle. The love slowly drifts away, problematic issues arise…!

So are we saying that if partners have different goals in relationship, all is lost?

Or Can we do something to minimise problems and maximise love?

Tips to make relationships work when partners have different goals in relationship?

If you really want, you can always do something.

Here are few things that can help immensely.

  1. Be “clear” regarding what you and your partner wants.
    Define your outcomes & let your partner do the same. One needs to think and decide over here “what matters most for them” & “which is their first priority?”
    This can help the partners understand each others behaviours and choices.
  2. Mutually” plan & agree upon goals that you both wish to achieve.
    Begin with the common ones first. Like- loosing weight & starting with early morning exercises, having a pet or buying a new home…
    This will focus your efforts in one direction. (And in a way enhance the love & relationship!!) Once you plan the common ones then look for individual different goals, like: I wish to learn guitar or  I want to open up & manage the society’s club house.
  3. Share your plans , experiences, success & failures with one another.
    Motivate each other and take help from your partner if required.
  4. Respect each others goals !
    Don’t fall in to inferiority / superiority complexes. What ever goals it may be, however trivial, funny, silly, Big or small… it may sound impossible or imaginary; never ever mock, criticise or demean your partner for aspiring them.
  5. Try to work together with equal partnership!
    Don’t burden each other with the weight of your dreams!!
    At the same time support each other in achieving the desired outcomes. This working together (directly or by virtue of support) will lead to synergistic outcomes i.e 1+1=3*² (metaphorically!!!), where you both can achieve “more” than working individually .
  6. Learn to communicate better.
    Understanding suggestibility, sexuality and love languages can help! Also invest on learning ways to improve communication if required.
  7. And finally “LOVE” one another unconditionally.
    Remember, it is unfair to say ‘I expect unconditional love’. By doing that you have already put a condition to it.
    It will make your life easy when you accept “the way your partner is”.
    You don’t have to agree with your partner but only because you do not agree doesn’t mean that the partner has to change their choices.
    In simple words, you love your partner both because of and despite of their choices.
    All the previous steps can help you here..!
  8. However if you still find it hard to be able to align your goals with that of your partner, it is a very good idea to go for relationship/couple counselling session to have an objective independent person help you and your partner understand each other and find a way forward.


Effective Counselling doesn’t make you compromise on your goals. It helps you develop skills to manage the goals and the relationship effectively!

Therapists Niche:

Therapists, like in all cases, need to maintain an objective stand. Personal bias by no means should interfere with the therapy (be aware of your feelings to prevent any counter-transference).

The focus of the therapy ideally should be to enable the partners to work with each other towards attaining their goals along with maintaining harmony in their relationship. A well trained therapist by no means will try to sabotage any of the partner’s goals or ambitions but will provide a platform that will help partners regain balance.

For instance, say one partner may want to focus on present and future, whereas the other partner (genuinely agreeing to it) may find it difficult to get over the past (any feelings, instances). In this case, the therapist can help the other partner get over the difficulty and then encourage to focus on the current goal.

Many concepts, processes and techniques (some already mentioned in this post) from Hypnosis, Cognitive therapies, NLP and Metaphors can aid in relationship counselling / coaching and provide great results!

If you are a coach or a trainer who would like develop advanced coaching competencies that enable you to help clients set and achieve their goals be it about relationship or otherwise, you would love the Comprehensive Cognitive Hypnotic Coaching™ Certification Program.

If you are a mental health professional who would like to help clients overcome major life issues about relationships or otherwise, you must search for the Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy™ Program that focuses on developing advanced therapeutic skills that enable you to help the client work with their past, present and future quickly and effectively.

[*¹ : person’s goals can vary depending upon age, situations, life events & time.]

[*² :1 + 1= 3 by Celes in article  “how to manage between your goals and your partner- Personal excellence”]