Divorce Busting 101 – Save Your Marriage – Relationship Goals

In this Divorce Busting 101 video, I  explain the value of setting relationship goals. By having a greater vision for the direction you’d like your relationship to go, you lay the foundation to save your marriage.


Do you want a better relationship? If you do you have to set relationship goals. Why? Because if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. When i talk to couples about setting relationship goals, they think about new years eve and they say I set goals on new years eve. But what are those goals for? They’re for eating less, exercising more, quitting drinking or quitting smoking. Think about it, what do all of those goals have in common? They’re personal goals, they’re not relationship goals. And so today I’m going to help you really identify what you need to do differently to set solution oriented relationship goals- goals that contain within them the seeds for solution.

There are 3 criteria.

The first one is that you have to state your goals positively. People generally don’t do that. When I ask couples in my practice, “what are you hoping to change about your relationship? What do you want to improve?” Generally they want to talk about they’re unhappy about. They’ll say, “I wish my husband wasn’t so critical. I wish my wife weren’t such a nag.” Those are not goals those are complaints. Let’s turn them into positively stated goals.

Back to the wife who says I wish my husband weren’t so critical. I would ask her, when he stops being so critical, what will he be doing differently? And she’ll say something like, “I wish he would compliment me more,”, “if he just thanked me once in a while for making great meals” or, “if he told me I looked really hot, I’d really know we’re on the right track.” That’s a great difference because if she thinks that her goal is I wish my husband were less critical, she’ll go home, looking for him to be critical, counting it, and hoping it’s fewer times. On the other hand if she goes home saying “I hope that he’s more complimentary” and she looks for him being more complimentary, saying nicer things, that’s going to instantly change the dynamics of their relationship. Get it?

Criteria number two: your goals need to be action oriented. Too often when I speak to people about goals, they’ll say things like, “I wish my husband were more loving or more affectionate,” “I wish my wife were more respectful or more caring.” What does that mean? Well it probably means one thing to you and another to your spouse, so you have to unpack the meaning. I’m going to give you an example.

When I ask women what is it you’d like to change about your relationship, they often say things like, “I wish my husband were a better communicator.” So I ask her, what will he be doing differently when he is a better communicator. She’ll say things like “I’d love it if he made eye contact with me, because too often he’s watching television when we’re having a conversation,” or, “I’d love it if he made a comment after I’m talking about something because he has the glazed over look in his eye, if he asked me a question or made a comment then I’d really know he was listening.” or, “when I come home from work my husband would ask me, ‘how was your day,’ ‘what are you thinking about,’ ‘how are you feeling?’ Then I’d know that he’s interested in who I am and he really wants to talk to me.” So remember, action oriented goals will get you to where you need to be.

Criteria number three: your goals need to be broken down into small doable steps. Things that you can accomplish in about a week or two. Too many people make grandiose goals that they don’t accomplish for six months or a year and that’s discouraging. So if you break them down into something you can do in a week or two, there’s nothing that breeds success like success. Let me give you an example.

I was working with a woman who discovered that her husband had been unfaithful and she wanted to stay married. I asked her about her goal, she said she wanted to have complete faith and trust in her husband again. Well, hello – that might happen a year from now or two years from now. So I asked her, what would be the very first sign that things are moving in the right direction. She told me that they weren’t even talking to each other, so the first sign would be that they would sit down and and begin to discuss what happened. Even if the conversation didn’t go very well and there were hurt feelings, she would be able to tell they’re moving in the right direction because they were communicating again. So make sure that your goals are broken down into small doable steps.

So here’s a quick review, criteria number one, your goals need to be positively stated, number two, they need to be action oriented, number three, break them down into small doable steps. Hopefully I’ve given you enough information to really get you started but if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself “I need some more help,”, don’t hesitate to call a Divorce Busting Coach. My coaches are fantastic! And if you’re wondering, “how in the world do I set relationship goals when I’m the only one working on the relationship,” don’t worry about that. Ninety five percent of the people who call a Divorce Busting Coach have spouses that are half way out the door. So make a call, get your relationships on track, have a vision of where you want to go, and we can help you get there.

About mwd27

Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW is an internationally renowned relationship expert, best-selling author, marriage therapist, and professional speaker who specializes in helping people change their lives and improve important relationships. Among the first in her field to courageously speak out about the pitfalls of unnecessary divorce, Michele has been active in spearheading the now popular movement urging couples to make their marriages work and keep their families together. She is the author of seven books including her best-selling books, DIVORCE BUSTING: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making Your Marriage Loving Again, and THE SEX-STARVED MARRIAGE: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido. Michele's work has been featured in major newspapers such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and magazines such as Time, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Essence, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Woman's Day, Men's Health, New Woman, and McCall's. Michele is a marriage expert on Redbook's advisory board, ClubMom.com and iVillage.com. She has made countless media appearances on shows such as Oprah, 48 Hours, 20/20, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News, CNN, and Bill O'Reilly. Michele's Keeping Love Alive program aired on PBS stations nationwide. She recently completed a reality based show for the BBC about helping couples save their marriages. Michele maintains that her true expertise in helping couples have great relationships is derived from first-hand experience. She and her husband have been married for more than thirty years.
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    [...] you read this blog, you should already know how important it is to have your goals be positively stated.  It’s equally important to remember that your goals need to be action-oriented as [...]

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    [...] of your desired outcome is the most essential step to making positive changes. Write down your relationship goals. Make sure your goals are positively stated- requests rather than complaints, [...]

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