Search the term “relationship goals” on any social media site, and you’ll be flooded with thousands of photos of beautiful couples who seem just about perfect. Whether they spoil the heck out of each other, go on the greatest adventures or even do day-to-day things like going to the gym, #RelationshipGoals are the standards that this generation strives for in their own relationships.
It’s silly though, because relationship goals should never be about how much money is spent on one another, or how perfect you look in a photo together. Our goals for relationships should start with God, and our actions should follow suit. #RelationshipGoals should be about a lot more than a silly hashtag and impossible standards. Here are eight real “goals” to chase after:
1. A Strong Prayer-Life
There’s a reason this is first on the list. A strong couple is only as strong as their relationship(s) with God. In any relationship, you cannot have success without a solid foundation, and the only solid foundation is Jesus. Any man or woman who is “goal” worthy should lead you toward God with their words and their actions, and praying is one of them. Praying makes your relationship with God stronger. So, praying together makes your relationship with each other stronger, and holds you accountable in the ways you each serve and love the Lord.
2. Someone Who Puts You Second
This comes in at a close second. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” SO many people in this generation think that the goal you should set for your relationship is to put each other first. But that’s not true! God has to come first in both of your lives in order for you to serve and care for one another in a healthy and “goal” worthy way. A person who puts God first and loves the Lord with all of their heart is one who will lead you in the same direction.
3. Healthy Communication
It might sound pretty general, but healthy communication is definitely a relationship goal. If something happens between you and your boyfriend/girlfriend, you should be comfortable discussing it with each other—not running to your friends to gossip about it. Your girlfriends can’t solve what happened between you and your boyfriend, and his bros can’t either. Communicate well, and practice often. Being able to talk about the hard things makes the easy things that much more “goal” worthy.
4. Don’t Date on Social Media
Take a look at your social media accounts. Does your relationship look like it does when you show it off to the world and seek “likes” from other people? The truth is, it’s okay to share photos and profess your feelings for each other on social media, but if you need affirmation that your relationship is “goals” from other people, then it really doesn’t matter what your relationship looks like. Don’t date on social media. At the end of the day, the only two “goals” that need to be met are the ones you set for each other. You don’t need other people to tell you how strong your relationship is. You’ll know.
5. Be Present
This one is probably one of my favorites on the list. A real relationship goal is to be present. Be present with the Lord, be present with your significant other and be present right now. The true goal of dating someone is to determine whether or not y’all could get married. Obviously it’s fun to look toward the future, and it’s important to discuss the future, but don’t rush. Be present. Embrace the season that you’re in right now, whether it’s dating, single, engaged or married. Something is always coming next, but you’ll never have this time again right now. Soak it up and be present.
6. Put Down Your Dang Cell Phone
Let me tell you, one of the most annoying things to me is when I go out to eat, and I see a couple—probably on a date—and they’re sitting across from each other on their phones. Why did you bother going out together in the first place? Social media, texts from friends, emails and work will always be there, but this moment will not. You’re missing out on an opportunity to learn something new about your boyfriend/girlfriend because you’re too busy admiring somebody else as “relationship goals.” Put the phone down and be present with each other.
7. Surround Yourself With Healthy Community
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” God calls us to live together in community. Even when Jesus was here on earth, He loved everyone but surrounded himself with other believers. These were people who would pray with Him and for Him, and lift Him up. The same is true for us. You become the most like the people you have around you. Even those with the best intentions can be a bad influence on you and your relationship with both a significant other as well as the Lord. Good community is imperative to being in a “goal” worthy relationship.
8. Don’t Compare
The whole idea of “relationship goals” came straight from comparing other people’s relationships to either our own or the one that we hope to have. But if I think about it for a second, why would I ever want to have the same relationship as somebody else? And why would I want my relationship to be “better” than anybody else’s? We all deserve to be happy, and happiness with another person looks different for everyone. Don’t compare what you have now to something that you think is better—that should never be your “goal.”
Relationship goals should have you chasing after Jesus, not “likes.” I wish you the most authentic, Christ-centered relationship. One that is your own and not shaped around the idea of anyone else’s.