The Importance of Discussing Goals with your Partner

Jordan Dann, Psychoanalyst

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Do you have a clear understanding of your partner’s goals and visions? Do you know what your partner wants for themselves? Do you know what your partner would like to experience with you?

Goal setting is one of the characteristics of a healthy partnership. Discussing individual and shared goals are important ways to experience intimacy and partnership. 

Whether you are sharing autonomous goals with your partner, or clarifying goals for your partnership or family, communicating about visions and how to get there is one of the most precious aspects of being in a relationship. Dialoguing about goals invites partners to communicate their needs and desires with one another, and to clarify what visions are shared, and what visions are autonomous. Clarifying what goals are shared, and what goals are individual goals, can support differentiation and circumvent unmet expectations. Additionally, discussing goals for the relationship means that both partners tend to make behavioral adjustments to move towards those goals which ultimately means an investment in the health of the relationship and greater relationship satisfaction. If my partner is supporting me to move towards what I want, I feel closer them them and more connected.

Here are a few questions to start a conversation with your partner about your goals:

  • Do you have a clear picture of your partner’s goals and visions for themselves? 
  • Do you know what your partner envisions for their body/health? 
  • Do you know what your partner’s image is for their relationship to work? 
  • Do you know what your partner’s vision for spirituality and meaning look like? 

Do you know what “home” means to your partner? “Home” means more than the aesthetic of your dwelling or where you want to live, “home” means your partner’s vision of emotional security, shared rituals, family, play -- and more! 

Do you know what “sex” means to your partner? Do you know what your partner’s view of themselves as a sexual human means? Do you have an understanding of what kind of sex your partner wants and needs to feel fulfilled? Do you know if there are sexual experiences that your partner is curious about having with you? Start by asking them to share one of their favorite sexual or erotic memories with you and to tell you what was so enjoyable or satisfying about that experience. 

Do you know what “money” means to your partner? Do you know your partner’s goals and visions are for embodying financial health and hygiene? Do you have a shared vision, or are there differences about saving or spending that are important to clarify and understand? Ask them to share what their image or fantasy about what their financial health looks and feels like to them. 

Do you know what “play” means to your partner? Do you have a clear vision of what spontaneous aliveness feels and looks like for them? Invite your partner to share a memory of a time when they felt spontaneous, playful, and free with you. 

These are all topics for dialogue and discovery with your partner. Taking time to answer these questions for yourself will develop your vision and clarity as well. The more clear you are about the vision you and your partner have for the future, the more able you will be to support one another to move towards those goals.

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Jordan Dann is a dynamic psychoanalyst and educator. She writes extensively about her work with couples so that people can empower themselves with the knowledge to move towards increasing fulfillment, growth, and healing in their relationships.

New York, NY
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