The new year has arrived, and if you’re like me, you’re probably setting some goals for yourself. Maybe some of them have to do with relationships.
If you’re in a relationship, you may be charting your relationship and laying out some godly goals for your romance. If you’re single, you may be aiming to network more or meet a potential spouse. Even if you’re single and lovin’ it, you may have goals to make more friends or get along better with your coworkers.
Whatever your situation or status, you can and should have relationship goals. And I’m not talking about a cute old couple playing a piano duet (although that video is adorable). I’m talking about goals that can help you with all kinds of relationships and buoy your interactions in every area.
Relationship Goal #1: Consider the interests of others
I think about myself a lot. When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts are often about my day: what I’ll wear, where I’ll go and how I’ll accomplish my to-do list. It’s natural for us to think about ourselves. That’s why Paul said, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
This is a daily battle for me; it’s unnatural to put others first. But when I consider the feelings and desires of those around me, my relationships go much more smoothly because I’m acting in a more Christ-like way.
Relationship Goal #2: Pray
When it comes to prayer in relationships, we tend to hear about three applications:
- Pray for a spouse.
- Pray for your future spouse.
- Pray with your future spouse.
Those are great applications of prayer. I remember how freeing it was to me to learn I could pray boldly for God to provide me with a spouse. But prayer holds benefits for relationships of all kinds. 1 John 5:14 tells us, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
We are invited to talk to God about all of our relationships. Pray for God to provide a spouse. Pray for wisdom and blessing for a current relationship. Pray for your friends. Pray for spiritual growth through your relationships — even the difficult ones.
Relationship Goal #3: Serve
As Christians, we know we’re supposed to serve, but we may not consider this a relationship goal. But 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Most of us would agree that good marriages require spouses to serve one another. But you don’t have to wait until you’re married to serve. When I was single, I realized that I could start practicing by serving my friends, roommates and kids at church.
An unexpected byproduct was when a cute (and single) children’s ministry guy at my church took notice and asked me to co-lead a Bible study with him. A year later we were married. I have heard many stories of men and women who were initially attracted to their spouses when they noticed them serving.
Relationship Goal #4: Be Yourself
I realize this sounds cheesy, but whether you’re single or in a relationship, you can only up your interpersonal game by being who God has created you to be. When I was single, I wasted a lot of time wondering if I needed to be something I wasn’t to attract a husband. I worried that I was too independent or too overpowering because I had developed the talents God gave me. In the end, it was those very talents and interests that drew my husband, Kevin, to me. And today we serve God together better because of our individual personalities and gifts.
If you’re already dating someone, don’t force yourself to change for him or her. Over time, that kind of relationship becomes stressful and draining. Now is the time for you and your significant other to be yourselves, so you can truly discern if God is drawing you together.
You don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to have relationship goals. Maybe one day you will be part of a little old couple playing the piano duet; God knows. But He also calls us to greater goals for our interpersonal relationships. Aim high this year, knowing you’ll be building a foundation for great relationships throughout your life.
Copyright 2019 Suzanne Gosselin. All rights reserved.