Plastered under any lovey-dovey picture of a couple kissing, or traveling, or doing ridiculously contorted workout moves, it’s likely you’ll see the words #relationshipgoals. And while we know social media serves as more of a highlight reel than an accurate depiction of what a true relationship is like, people double tap and comment with heart-eyed emojis anyway. Jennifer Allen is looking to change the way we use the hashtag, in a broader effort to change the relationships we focus on and put our energy into, instead of our own. Allen has created #RelationshipGoals — a 12-month interactive workbook for couples in need of an algorithm adjustment, sans the "likes."
“In this social media age, everybody is so obsessed with #relationshipgoals, #goals hashtags are everywhere,” Allen says. “I find so many people are gauging their own love based on a picture that somebody posted online. There’s 24 hours in a day and you’re basing what your mate may or may not do for you off of a post of a girl getting flowers — when in reality you don’t even know the fight that could have came behind those flowers being received. The purpose of the workbook is for couples to become their own goals. That’s why naming it #RelationshipGoals was so important.”
By day, Allen works at an elementary school in Richardson ISD, but her 5-9 is Just Elope Dallas, a pop-up wedding company she runs with her husband that helps couples by relieving the stress, pressure and frustration that often come with wedding planning. So it’s safe to say that love is Allen’s turf. And when it came to developing content for the book, she pulled from a relationship she knows very well.
“Everything that I’ve written about in the journal and the other publications that I do are my real-life experiences,” Allen said. “Being married is hard, because you have to intentionally make that time to love the other person the way they want to be loved. For example, my husband is not a material person. I could buy him everything under the sun, but all he wants from me is my time. So anything I do for him that doesn’t involve us spending time together is really irrelevant because that’s not what he wants. The journal really does take you through the stages of learning what it is that your partner needs from you. Whether that’s how you handle conflict, or how they want you to love them, or how they would prefer your response to be when things happen. I think it’s so important to understand that the key to any relationship is being intentional. It takes work.”
And contrary to what you might be thinking, when it comes to the #RelationshipGoals workbook, much like the hashtag used on social media, it can be applied to all couples, not just married folk.
“The book is geared toward anybody that’s in a committed relationship that wants to make sure that they’re operating at a 10,” Allen explains. “Society thinks that if you’re in a relationship, you shouldn’t have to work, that everything should just come natural — that love should be easy. That’s not true. Anything that you have that’s important to you, you have to keep it up. Your car, your front lawn. If you have to take time once a week to mow the lawn, or water your plants, what do you think you have to do for your relationship?”
#RelationshipGoals is available for pre-order Sept. 13-15 on WeddingtoWife.com. It will be widely released on the same site Oct. 1.
Aside from getting inspiration from her personal life, Allen got feedback from couples close to her. And one of the subjects that came up repeatedly was sex, and more specifically, intimacy.
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“It’s very common for couples to stop being intimate,” Allen explains. “They stop holding hands. They still have sex, but stop kissing. And kissing is one of the first things that go when the intimacy is lacking. I’m not talking about a peck on the way out the door, I’m talking about making out. A lot of people don’t do that. And it's not intentional. It’s just that we have so many other things going on.”
Because of this, Allen created an intimacy tracker, which allows couples to document their daily affections for each other on a calendar. The book is also equipped with date ideas, a financial challenge, a bucket-list checklist, and a chore swap — among myriad other things.
The book, and Allen, aren't trying to preach to couples how they should navigate their day-to-day. The author even writes, "Your relationship, your rules." “The only people you’re trying to impress is yourselves,” Allen says.
Here’s to developing a relationship that’s successful in real life, not just on social media. #bestofluck.