Finding a balance between individual goals in a relationship requires effort and couples can work towards finding a solution that honours both partners' values and goals.

How To Resolve Differences in Personal & Couple Goals: Expert Speaks

partner goals, couple goals

Baely's Consulting Editor Mahima Sharma recently spoke to relationship counselor MK Juneja. She shared how some couples struggle to align with each other’s goals and how they can work together to understand each other and improve their relationship at the same time. She shared how these couples had different individual goals and priorities that often clashed. She also shared some secrets towards navigating through these differences without sacrificing anyone's own ambitions and dreams.

The expert asserts, "Whether you're a newlywed or have been married for decades, in today’s fast moving and demanding life finding a balance between individual goals can be challenging. But with the right tools and mindset, it's possible to create a relationship that honours both partners' values and aspirations. As a relationship counselor, I have witnessed many couples struggle to find a balance between their individual goals. Let me start with first things first: 

Why do couples struggle with striking the balance between each other’s goals?

There could be various reasons Mahima, but I am sharing the most important ones and the most common at that: 

  • Differences in personality and temperament: Each partner may have a different personality and temperament, which can impact their goals and priorities. For example, one partner may be more focused on career advancement, while the other may prioritize family and personal relationships. And this could lead to conflicts among the couple.
  • Differences in communication styles: Partners may have different communication styles, which can impact how they discuss and set goals together. For example, one partner may be more direct and assertive, while the other may be more passive or indirect.
  • Lack of trust or intimacy: If there are trust or intimacy issues in the relationship, it may be difficult for partners to share their goals and aspirations with each other without the fear of being judged. This can lead to a lack of shared vision for the future.
  • Different stages of life: Partners may be at different stages of life, which can impact their goals and priorities. For example, one partner may be focused on starting a family, while the other may be more focused on career development.
  • External pressures and stressors: External pressures and stressors, such as financial difficulties, work-related stress, or health issues, can make it difficult for partners to focus on setting and achieving shared goals.
couple hugging illustration

Why are shared goals important for a strong relationship between a couple?

Shared goals can help to create a sense of mutual purpose, strengthen emotional bonds, and foster feelings of trust and support between partners. In a relationship, setting shared goals together can help to align your aspirations and expectations, and establish a roadmap for achieving them as a team. For instance, shared goals could be 

  1. Financial stability e.g saving to buy a house, paying off debt, etc
  2. Focussing on health (physical or mental) e.g exercising together, eating nutritious meals, and prioritizing self-care.
  3. Family planning e.g saving for college
  4. Personal growth e.g exploring new hobbies, picking up new skills, etc
  5. Quality time together by exploring new places, finding new places to eat, have date nights often, etc.

When couples work on shared goals, a sense of belonging sets in place for each other; and this helps reduce conflicts and misunderstandings, and improve communication and collaboration between partners. Moreover, shared goals can help to build a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when they are achieved together.

10 tips on how you can achieve this balance as a couple?

  1. Identify and discuss differences

One of the first steps in finding balance is to identify and discuss the areas in which you have differences. For example, one partner may value career advancement while the other values spending time with family. In such a scenario, it is important to understand each other's point of view and work towards a resolution that honours both values. A couple I worked with had a similar issue. The wife wanted to focus on her career while the husband wanted to start a family. They discussed their individual priorities; the husband realised that the wife was keen at giving the child a good baby life and towards which they would need better finances. An open conversation helped him understand and align with his wife’s plans ahead. 

  1. Focus on shared values

Focusing on shared values is another important step in finding balance. These can be creative things like passion to travel, listening to music, or ethical like honesty, trust, respect, communication, empathy, compassion, and commitment, among others. Couples can build on their shared values as a starting point for finding common ground for their goals. For instance, a couple I worked with both valued travel and adventure. They decided to take a few trips together each year, making sure that they planned ahead to accommodate each other's schedules. When a couple shares common values/ passions etc, they are more likely to have a sense of mutual purpose and direction, which can make it easier to set and achieve shared goals.

  1. Communicate openly and honestly

Communication is key to any successful relationship. It is important for both partners to communicate openly and honestly about their values and goals. One couple I worked with struggled with financial differences - while the wife was a spendthrift, the husband wanted to splurge at parties. After bringing in a financial expert into our session, we helped them come up with a mutual financial plan by showcasing to them what could be the repercussions of going beyond a budget. They began having regular discussions about their monthly budget and spending habits, which helped them find a solution that worked for both of them.

couple talking couch illustration
  1. Listen actively

Active listening is an important skill in any relationship. Each partner should make an effort to listen actively to the other's point of view without interrupting or getting defensive. One couple I worked with struggled with communication because the husband tended to dominate conversations, so the wife didn’t share her views out of fear. How can a couple have shared goals, if they do not know each other’s mindset and likings or more? After I made the husband realise this, he began making a conscious effort to listen actively to the wife; she began opening up her heart and there came a point when they began making shared goals like focussing on more quality time together by doing things like long drives, date nights or even movie times as per mutual liking. 

  1. Mutual Adjustment 

While the word “adjustment” sounds negative, but it’s important when two different people come together and want to have for a healthy relationship. Think of it more like “adapting” to each other. Couples should work towards finding a mutual adjustment that honours both partners' values and goals. For example, one partner may want to quit the job and start a business. The other might not be ready to take the financial load.. In that case both have to sit together and do an analysis of what all strengths they jointly have to move ahead as a team, and also what challenges they might face. Accordingly, create a timeline to realise the former’s dream, when the financial burden could be the least for the other. For example, along with the job, run the shop with assistance of the other spouse/ or some external hand; once you strike a balance at the new business, then only quit the job. So on and so forth, the partners must align adjustments. Forcing one to make the other compromise will only sour the bond. 

  1. Be Flexible

Flexibility is key to finding balance in any relationship. Both partners should be willing to make adjustments to their values and goals in order to find a solution that works for both of them. For example, a couple I worked with had different ideas about where to live. The wife wanted to live in the city while the husband preferred the suburbs. They compromised by choosing a neighbourhood that was close to the city but had a suburban feel.

  1. Look at the bigger picture

It is important for couples to keep the bigger picture in mind and focus on their shared future rather than getting bogged down in individual differences. For example, a couple I worked with had different ideas about how to raise their children. They made an effort to focus on their shared goal of raising happy and healthy children, which helped them find a compromise that worked for both of them.

  1. Seek Guidance from Close Friends and Family

Sometimes, couples may need outside help to find a balance. Seek help from a family member, or a close friend to help find a solution that works for both of them. For a couple, to share things beyond the two is usually tough and that's where they get stuck, whether to share with anyone or not. This dilemma leaves a clarity divide, which can be bridged by someone who knows them inside out like close friends or family members. And that's where they can always reach out to friends or family where they can confide in, who know them as a couple. Because these close knit people can help them align their goals as they know them better than anyone else. 

  1. Revisit the Discussion

Revisiting shared goals and values over time ensures that couples are on the same page and working towards a common purpose. It helps them grow and evolve together, and strengthens their bond as a couple. Thus, couples should revisit the discussion over time and make adjustments as their goals and values can change. For example, a couple I worked with had different ideas about retirement. They revisited the discussion every few years and made adjustments as their retirement goals and plans changed.

  1. Take Help of a Relationship Counsellor

A counselor can be incredibly helpful in assisting couples to understand each other's goals and values and improve their relationship. One way a counselor can do this is by facilitating open and honest communication between partners, which can help them gain a deeper understanding of each other's needs, wants, and desires.

For example, let's say a couple is struggling to communicate effectively about their shared goals. The wife wants to have children, but the husband is hesitant about starting a family because he is concerned about their financial stability. They've tried to talk about it, but each time they end up getting into an argument, and they feel stuck.

In this scenario, a counselor can help the couple understand each other's perspectives and values. The counselor can encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment and work with them to find a compromise that satisfies both of their goals. The counselor can also provide tools and strategies for effective communication that they can use in the future to prevent similar conflicts.

In conclusion, finding a balance between individual goals in a relationship requires effort and couples can work towards finding a solution that honours both partners' values and goals. It's important to remember that every relationship is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Seeking outside help from a therapist or counsellor can also be a helpful resource for couples who are struggling to find a balance. By practicing active communication, empathy, and flexibility, couples can create a strong foundation for a happy and fulfilling relationship.

Do share this interview with your friends/family, because there are many couples around who might not say it, but would be in need of this advice in this fast paced, career-oriented world.


The opinions expressed within this interview are the personal opinions of the protagonist/protagonists. The facts & statistics, the work profile details of the protagonist/ protagonists do not reflect the views of Baely or the Journalist. Neither Baely nor the Journalist hold any responsibility or liability for the same.

About the Interviewer
About the Author
Mahima Sharma
Mahima Sharma is a Senior Journalist based in Delhi NCR. She has been in the field of TV, Print & Online Journalism since 2005 and previously an additional three years in allied media.
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