It’s a new year, so it’s time for a new outlook, right? New Year’s resolutions are not just great for individuals to plan, but also for couples. We’re talking #militaryrelationshipgoals for the win.
While you plan your New Year’s resolutions, why not think about your relationship goals checklist, too? As a military couple, you have to put major work into your relationship to keep it moving forward. By setting military relationship goals, you can set the bar a little higher and focus on building the healthiest relationship you can — even when it isn’t always easy.
Whether you’re tackling multiple PCS moves, deployments, or command schedule changes, when you keep your relationship goals front and center, nothing can come between you and your other half. Here’s a look at 11 goals you can strive for together in 2021:
1. Make Your Relationship #1
This may seem obvious. The military may also have other opinions on this, but making the health of your relationship a priority is a must. Whatever that means for you as a couple, focus on it. Sometimes, it may mean missing out on precious sleep when you’re separated to be able to connect across time zones.
How to make it happen: Avoid petty people, gossip, and use open communication methods to keep your relationship front and center.
2. Find Ways to Surprise Each Other
The element of surprise can really keep your relationship fresh and exciting. It doesn’t have to be anything big, either. Picking up flowers on the way home or even cooking your spouse’s favorite meal on a whim can be enough. Even picking up the movie from Redbox that they’ve been looking forward to seeing is a nice gesture.
How to make it happen: Put it into your phone’s calendar reminders so it pops up and reminds you to do it. Otherwise, life chaos will make you forget! The key is doing it often enough to let them know they’re on your mind, but not too often where it loses its sweetness.
3. Talk About Money
Money may seem like the least sexy of topics to talk about, but it’s one that will make your relationship stronger if you’re on the same page. When you get married, you’re a team. Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say. Learning how to make your money work smarter for you means you have to work together to help your goals and dreams come true.
How to make it happen: Make it a point to sit down and discuss finances at the beginning of every month. Nail down the important bills that must be paid. Consider taking a financial class together on base or through a course like Financial Peace University.
4. Work on Fitness Together
Fitness is a huge part of a healthy military career. Consider taking time to workout together so you both meet your fitness goals and feel healthier. It will also give you much-needed time together, and it’s a better option than sitting on the couch doing nothing. If you like making fitness new year’s resolutions, this is a great one to pick as a couple!
How to make it happen: Figure out a time that both of your schedules have an open slot to workout together. Even if it’s only once a week, it’s quality time you can spend together whether it’s on a run, in a spin class, or lifting weights.
5. Have Fun
All relationships need a little fun. That looks different for every military couple. For some, it’s dressing up and going out to fancy restaurants. For others, that means packing up and heading out for a day-long hike. Sometimes it just means cuddling on the couch with takeout and binge-watching your favorite movie series together. Whatever fun looks like for you, plan it out, and do it.
How to make it happen: Even if you both have different ideas of fun, take turns switching off who gets to pick the activity. It means a bit of compromise, but it also means exploring each other’s interests, which can ultimately bring you closer together.
6. Make Time For You
Even if you’re really close with your partner, alone time can help you feel refreshed. Needing some alone time doesn’t mean you don’t love your significant other, it just means you love yourself enough to take a break when you need it. Taking the time to care for yourself is an important part of meeting any military relationship goals.
How to make it happen: Not sure what to do? Think of what you loved to do before you met your other half. Set a date to go do it. It could be as simple as getting lost in a good book, taking a bubble bath, doing yoga, or even walking in nature.
7. Discover Each Other’s Love Language
Counselor Dr. Gary Chapman wrote the book The 5 Love Languages®, a worldwide best-seller that explains the different ways people show love. Since everyone has different ways they feel appreciated, it’s important to know how you and your partner feel most loved. The five “love” languages include: Words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.
How to make it happen: Check out the book, The 5 Love Languages® Military Edition and read it together. It will give you a deeper understanding of each other’s preferred method of receiving love.
8. Communicate in Any Way You Can
Once you know your love languages, it makes it easier to communicate and minimizes frustration. In military life though, communication is sometimes is limited. Get creative and discover ways to connect, even when you’re miles apart.
How to make it happen: Learn how to build intimacy over long distances. Writing letters, sending care packages, and calling and texting when you can are all ways to communicate. Miss hearing your spouse’s voice? Ask them to record a voice memo for you and send it.
9. Try Something New Together
When you have the military dictating much of your time, it can be easy to fall into boring patterns and routines. After all, that’s the military life, right? Keep life interesting by changing your couple routine up. Take a walk together after dinner instead of heading for the couch. Find a cookbook and make a new meal out of it each week. Is skiing always your go-to winter activity? Consider tobogganing instead.
How to make it happen: What have you always wanted to try? Think about it. If you always go to the same restaurant for a date night, find a new one. Do you always go to the commissary for groceries? Head to the local farmer’s market and get creative with your ingredients to make a meal together.
10. Talk About the Hard Stuff
Life, in general, can be hard. But military life can feel super challenging. With all the long work hours and surprise deployments, it can sometimes feel like life is giving you whiplash with all the emotions you feel. Stuffing it down doesn’t help, though. If you’ve been shoving your emotions deep down, it’s time to stop that in 2020. Talk it out. Deployments are going to happen. Debt can pile up. Death happens. There’s a lot of tough stuff that would be easy to ignore, but it’s not healthy to do so.
How to make it happen: Educate yourself and talk about how it feels. Attend deployment briefings, hold finance meetings, and get your living will done ASAP. Handling it while it’s easy will be less stressful when you’re in the moment facing tough decisions under pressure.
11. Root For the Same Team
Military life as a couple can be as exciting as it is challenging. No matter how stressful life gets or how tough situations may seem, knowing you’re in it together can make it easier to face.
Be each other’s cheerleaders and lift one another up when one of you is dragging. You’re on the same team, so it’s a must to root for your teammate!
How to make it happen: Avoid the blame game when possible. Using “I feel” or “we’re on the same team” statements is more conducive to a productive conversation. If a conversation gets too heated, pause for 10 to 15 seconds to slow your heart rate and racing thoughts before speaking again.
What Does Your Military Relationship Goals Checklist Look Like?
A new year means a fresh start. It also means trying new ways of doing life, too. Whether you’ve been a couple for two months or two years, it’s not a bad idea to start 2021 with military relationship goals.
If you’re not changing, it means you’re not growing. That’s the quickest way to end up stagnant, which is a not-so-great place to be when you’re in a relationship. As you put together your relationship goals checklist, talk through it together. It will be easier to pinpoint your weaknesses and learn where your strengths are as a couple.
Some points to consider:
- Which techniques worked best for navigating challenging times?
- What have you enjoyed doing together in 2020?
- What could you do better together?
- Where have you struggled?
Every relationship is different, so you know what works best for your unique situation. Use these goals as a launching point to discover the best military relationship goals to set for yourselves in 2021.
Happy goal planning!
Feature image courtesy of PXHere