Dr. Gottman suggests that couples give purpose to their relationship through the use of rituals, roles, goals, and symbols. Bill and Melinda Gates created The Gates Foundation to improve education and world health. Just last year, Mark and Chan Zuckerberg launched The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to promote human potential and equal opportunities.
While many of us don’t have that kind of influence or money, we can offer our time to volunteer like Beth and Shawn do at a local homeless shelter.
Couples can strengthen their bond by creating what Dr. Gottman calls shared meaning. Beth reminded me of this when she said, “I would have done this on my own, but having Shawn join me and care about the less fortunate makes it an even more rewarding experience.”
Creating shared meaning through goals is one of the most rewarding aspects of a relationship. What are your goals? What are your partner’s goals? Do you know? Talking about your deepest hopes and dreams will give you the opportunity to explore something together that can have a profound impact on yourself, your relationship, and much more.
If you’d like to take the full Shared Goals Questionnaire, add your email below and we’ll send it directly to your inbox. The Questionnaires blog column offers quizzes to help you assess the strengths in your relationship and identify areas that may need attention.
Note: These questionnaires are intended to be psychoeducational. If you would like a full evaluation of your relationship, you can ask your therapist to invite you to complete the Gottman Relationship Checkup. If you’re not currently seeing a therapist, you can find one in your area on the Gottman Referral Network.More in The Questionnaires