dating, relationship, roadMany of us have seen the “relationship goals” trend growing on social media, with memes being posted of the “perfect” couples kissing and cuddling, exchanging cute text messages, wearing matching outfits, posting their expensive gifts and riding together on the wings of love all for the world to see. #RelationshipGoals has even become a popular hashtag, with people sharing this messaging in an effort to express to their friend-base their deep desire to have a fairytale love. And while nothing’s wrong with expressions of love, the #RelationshipGoals trend misses a huge mark. When you take a second to step outside of the superficial world of “fairytale love”, you’ll see that there’s more to love than fake portrayals of what relationships should look like. If you’re about genuine love with your partner, here are six relationship goals that are actually worth achieving. If these things are a part of your relationship practice, you have something special.

Truly Being Best Friends: It’s one thing to say you’re best friends with the person you’re with. It’s another thing to be best friends with the person you’re with. You value your relationship more when you’re with your best friend. While some argue that you shouldn’t invest your heart in a relationship with your best friend because if things don’t work out, it will end your friendship or that a relationship with a best friend is different than having a relationship partner, this is far from the case. If you want someone as a lover and a lifetime partner, there is nothing better than having your partner as a best friend. When you’re involved with your best friend, you can be yourself because you’re already close. This includes inside jokes that no one else gets. This includes random singing, dancing and laughing together just because. You embrace each other for who you are, and love each other for who you are and what you’re not. When you’re involved with your best friend, you know each other’s quirks, weaknesses and insecurities and know exactly how to respond to each accordingly. When you’re with your best friend, you know their relationship patterns and histories so you can handle responding accordingly. And ultimately, you see each other in true form. No need for to put on a façade to display publically. When you don’t have friendship as a relationship foundation, things will fall apart.

Being Able to Communicate Directly: How many of us struggle with expressing our feelings directly with our partners? A relationship goal we should always be striving for in our relationships is being able to communicate directly with the person we’re with. While communication is the key to any healthy relationship, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t take a lot of work. But if you value the person you’re with a and communication is something you want to make better in your relationship, then you have to be willing to not only express your own needs and concerns, but also be willing to listen to your partner’s needs and concerns. In order to grow in your communication abilities with the one you’re with, you should make it a point to respond to situations proactively, not reactively. You should be able to put your ego to the side and use “I” statements, instead of the accusatory “you” statements when conversations or arguments occur. You should have a game plan for expressing what you’ve been feeling so you know the main point you’re trying to make instead of jumping on your partner for all the things you think they’re doing wrong. When you have a foundation of strong communication, there’s little confusion about where you both are. When you have a foundation of strong communication, you won’t want to let that person go.

Being Honest and Open: We all know that the ability to be honest and open with our partners is the key part of every healthy relationship, but when you’ve been through a series of bad relationships where lies were a constant and insecurities were present, it’s easy for those same lies and insecurities to show up in your next relationship. This ties in well to the point about communication. On top of being able to communicate directly, healthy communication requires both parties to be honest and open each other, even when the truth hurts. You won’t always be perfect. Admit this to each other. And when you fall short, you should both be willing to apologize instead of making excuses. It may be hard in the beginning, but when you’re able to communicate openly, the two of you will feel better and it will strengthen your relationship.

Financial Stability: Financial stability should be at the top of any couple’s relationship goal list. Financial issues can kill your relationship. Financial arguments and instability can have lasting effects on your relationship. Studies have even shown a correlation between financial disagreements and divorce. Why? Because it tends to be harder for couples to recover from arguments about money than it is to recover from other arguments. Financial instability also decreases relationship satisfaction which really eats away at your relationship. Both partners in the relationship need to be open about their financial histories when they get together so there’s no confusion where anyone is related to debt, spending habits and money management. If there’s an area where one of you is falling short, the other needs to be pulling up the slack. If you’re the one who tends to be more financially responsible, you should be the one managing the expenses. If you or your partner has trouble controlling your spending, you both should be acknowledging your strengths and shortcomings and buckle down on your spending for the sake of not only your personal future, but also your future together. This may mean less restaurant outings, online shopping and mall visits, but it will get you to where you need to be. Trust me. Couples who get this right tend to be happier in the long run.

Mutual Respect: Mutual respect is essential in maintaining any healthy relationship and should be at the top of any couple’s relationship goal list. Your partner’s feelings and wishes should be valued and they should know that you are making every effort to keep their feelings and wishes in mind. If you treat your partner with respect, and they return that same respect, it’s clear that you truly value each other and you are well on your way together.

Commitment from Both Parties: One of the best relationship goals you can have is being in a fully committed relationship with your partner. If you haven’t been in a fully committed relationship with someone before or carry insecurities around commitment, this is a lot easier said than done. Relationships take work and while many people think (or at least tell themselves) that they’re giving as much as they can, there are always areas where the two of you are falling short and can improve. Research has shown that couples, who have stayed together, lasted because of commitment and forgiveness from both parties. Remember, love is a verb. It’s a very deliberate action. There’s nothing more beautiful than a couple that’s fully committed to the happiness of each other.

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