As the Houston marriage counselor, one frequent comment I hear from my clients is that they feel like they want different things out of their relationship than their partner. We enter every relationship with an idea of what we want it to be based on our desires and experiences, and it can come as an unpleasant surprise when this idea doesn’t exactly match that of our partner, which is often the root of relationship problems.

However, these differences don’t have to mean the end of a relationship. If you and your partner find yourselves disagreeing on what you want, try creating a relationship vision by following the steps below.

Houston Marriage Counselor: How to Create Your Relationship Vision

First, remind yourself that your partnership is unique. Before you begin this exercise, keep in mind that your relationship doesn’t have to be like that of your parents and friends. Don’t feel like you must be bound by conventions: just think about what you want in a relationship.

You and your partner should write down your vision. Each person should take one piece of paper and make a list of the things they like about their relationship as well as the things they want out of the relationship.

Share your visions. Trade lists with your partner and make a check by all similarities. If your partner wrote an idea that you didn’t think of but that you agree with, add it to your own list.

Prioritize. On your own paper, rank the importance of each list item, with 5 being “not very important” and 1 being “very important”. Circle the 2 most important items and share these with your partner.

Create a mutual vision. On a new sheet of paper, you and your partner should work to come up with a shared vision based on what you’ve learned from looking at each other’s individual list. Creating this vision will allow the two of you to have a shared goal and to focus on a positive future instead of dwelling on any past relationship issues.

Most successful couples merge their Individual Relationship Vision into a Word document titled “Our Relationship Vision” and date it. Then together they review it annually or more often, making any desired revisions just like a successful business would.

To build Mindfulness, you can print it out, particularly the initial Vision, and tape it where each person can see it every morning, like above the bathroom sink.  Some people choose to frame the document and hang it on a wall. Others cut out each line into strips (like in a fortune cookie), place them all in a fish bowl, and then regularly read one.  One young husband texted his commitment to one line of their Vision to his wife every day. Vision can be an integral part of Mindfulness, especially when a conflict has emerged.

Remember, if starting this process on your own sounds daunting or relationship problems persist, the Houston marriage counselor is here to help.

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