Relationship Milestones (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

Certain relationship milestones will be encountered by you and your partner as your relationship evolves. These markers mark the beginning of new chapters in your lives together.

These important events will bring you closer together and add layers of depth to your relationship.

Quick Overview

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Many new parents have read the book What to Expect When You're Expecting. It has become a kind of Bible for parents who are about to welcome a new baby into the world.

It is beneficial because it defines the process of pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Being prepared eliminates the guesswork and provides much-needed insight into becoming a parent.

Becoming a couple and establishing a strong partnership is a process in and of itself. Wouldn't it be nice to know what to expect at this stage of life as well?

Let's look at some of the milestones that couples can expect to encounter on their journey together.

1. Transitioning from “Just Dating” to Exclusivity

It's a numbers game when it comes to dating. It can take some time to find what you're looking for. It's similar to going shopping and trying on several outfits before finding the one that fits perfectly.

(((Instant Book Preview of Developmental Milestones of Young Children)))

It can be difficult to find the perfect fit in life's store, but once you do, it's very rewarding.

After a while of dating, you may realize that the person you're seeing is pretty much everything you've ever wanted in a partner. You have similar goals, are compatible, and enjoy spending time together.

You may decide to become exclusive and work on building your relationship at this point. This relationship milestone is a great start and deserves to be recognized.

Having difficulty finding the right person? Check out 6 Proven Methods for Online Dating Success.

2. Declaring “I Love You!”

Who is the first to say it? This is a semi-scary relationship milestone because you are gambling with your heart by telling your love interest that you love them.

What if you say those three words and your love interest simply stands there and says, “That's nice?” Ouch.

(((Instant Book Preview of Meanings Over Milestones)))

When you realize that your feelings have transformed into love, you may feel vulnerable. Declaring your love is fraught with danger. However, great things usually do.

This milestone, if both parties agree, sets the tone for many more to come. It's definitely worthwhile to rejoice in your newfound closeness.

3. Having Fun

This can be a watershed moment in a relationship. It can occur before or after the first time you say “I love you.” In any case, by the time you get to this point, something amazing has happened in the relationship.

You're developing a special bond with her. You've both let down your guard, and there's a sense of belonging between you.

If you've decided to wait until you've gotten to know each other better before reaching this relationship milestone, the lovemaking will be even more exciting.

Sex with a new partner can be nerve-racking, exciting, and definitely unforgettable.

(((Instant Book Preview of Family Discipleship)))

It is, after all, the first time. Maybe not for the first time, but certainly for the first time with a new person, right? So, yes, this is something worth remembering.

“Dear Diary…”

NOTE: If you've been single for a while, gone through a difficult breakup, or lost a loved one, this milestone is critical because it means you're opening yourself up again.

There may be some hesitation and uncertainty, but once you're both ready, things will fall into place and it won't feel so awkward.

“At first, your heart will be at odds with your body. But it will gradually recall the beauty of love, intimacy, and the physical experience we are here to have. AND IT WILL SUBMIT TO IT.” – Christina Rasmussen (no. 1)

4. Getting Together with Friends and Family

This is a critical relationship juncture. The Stamp of Approval from friends and family effectively seals the deal.

Even if you've fallen hard for your person, it's always nice to know that your family and friends think they're just as wonderful as you do.

(((Instant Book Preview of Are My Kids on Track?)))

It makes your relationship easier in the long run. There will be many events in your life together, some of which will be with friends and family. If at all possible, you want to ensure that everyone gets along.

“Relationships do not happen in a vacuum…

The truth is that our romantic relationships are intertwined with our larger social lives. Thus, our romantic relationships take place within and around our larger social networks, as well as our relationships with family and friends…” Erica B. Slotter

Getting along with your partner's close friends and family members is critical to the relationship's success.

Maybe Aunt Marsh isn't very nice, but keep in mind that all of these people were there before you, so smile and be polite. The reunion will not last indefinitely.

5. Engaging in Your First Fight

It is unavoidable. Disruptions will occur regardless of how deeply you are in love.

(((Instant Book Preview of Wanting My Brother's Best Friend)))

Guards will drop as you become more at ease with each other, and the baggage you've both been carrying will eventually spill out.

This is obviously not a reason to rejoice, but do you know what is? Talking it out, getting to the bottom of the issue, resolving it, and then moving on.

Every couple has disagreements. What matters is how you handle them. Every time you can get through an argument and come out stronger for it, you've improved your relationship as a whole.

If you get through your first fight, go out to a nice dinner and talk about how much closer you feel.

6. Your First Trip As a Couple

Taking your first vacation together is an important milestone. Spending so much time away from home and all of its comforts will provide you with insight into the state of the relationship.

How well do you get along when you're traveling together? How adaptable are you? Are you both willing to make a compromise?

To travel together, you must collaborate to plan a trip that you will both enjoy.

Your true personalities will undoubtedly emerge at some point during the planning and execution of the trip as unexpected events arise.

“Travel takes us out of our routines and comfort zones, allowing you to get to know a different side of a person. You'll see how they react to misplaced luggage or venomous mosquitoes. And they'll notice you when you're hungover…” Hannah Howard is an author.

How you both handle situations reveals a lot about your personalities. So, if you have a great time on your trip and get along great, you've passed another relationship milestone!

7. Getting Married

You've been dating for a reasonable amount of time — long enough to know that your love interest has kept your attention and that you want more. There is a lot more. It's a solid relationship, and you're convinced that this is The One.

After much deliberation, you decide that getting married is the next logical step. This achievement is significant because it will serve as a springboard for many more significant chapters in your life.

Getting engaged indicates that you are prepared to take your relationship to the next level. You don't just want to date or shack up; you want to make plans for the future.

It is definitely worth celebrating if you have made it this far. It wasn't easy getting here, but you made it to the point where your heart and mind say, “This is the person I want to share my life with.”

8. Planning a Wedding

Getting engaged is exciting, but getting married seals the deal. The act of tying the knot indicates that you both want to fully commit to each other and that you are both willing to have each other's back.

Taking this final step is not “just a formality,” as I frequently hear; it means you're both all in, for better or worse.

When you marry, you are not simply declaring, “Yeah, I'm going to be with you forever!” You are demonstrating it by taking the necessary action and sharing it with your friends and family.

Getting married, on the other hand, does not always have to be a big event in front of many loved ones.

Some couples prefer it to be brief, sweet, and private. That's all right. You're still saying you're all in while closing the door on everyone else.

9. Purchasing a Home

Consider this relationship milestone to be a boulder rather than a pebble! When you and your partner decide to buy a home together, you're in the thick of things.

You may or may not be married, but you expect to be in the relationship for the long haul.

Purchasing a home is a major commitment that necessitates both parties working together to consider mortgage payments, taxes, decorating ideas, and other factors. To create a cozy nest in your home, you will need to be completely in sync.

Closing escrow, which essentially means the sale is complete, is definitely cause for celebration.

Making a home together necessitates sacrifice, effort, and a lot of love. When you've accomplished this, it's time to throw a housewarming party!

10. Disseminating a Horrible Secret

When you tell each other your darkest secrets, you know you're both deeply committed. I'm not talking about saying, “I killed a man in a brawl a couple of years ago.” They still haven't realized it was me.” (Yikes!)

I'm talking about things — embarrassing or painful things — that you've never told anyone else about. If you are able to open up to each other and reveal your BIG secret(s), it is a sign of deep intimacy and trust.

“[I]t may take some time for you to confide in a partner about potentially embarrassing personal secrets. But, eventually, when you feel comfortable enough, those long-buried truths will likely surface — and you and your partner will become that much closer.” – Susan Krauss Whitbourne (no. 4).

You've built up a lot of trust in each other by the time you share your secret(s). That is one way to keep your relationship growing on many levels, and it is certainly worth celebrating.

11. Expecting Your First Child

This relationship milestone is one of the most significant life changes of all time. Nobody is fully prepared for this one. You may have set up the nursery and thoroughly read What to Expect When You're Expecting (see above), but no one is prepared.

Having a baby will put you, your relationship, and everything else to the test. However, believe it or not, it is also an opportunity to strengthen your bond with your partner.

To make important decisions about your baby, you will need to get together frequently. As you share the most valuable thing in your lives, your love for each other will grow.

When your child is born, you will need the stamina of an Olympic athlete and the patience of Job. It's a big job, but it's doable. Make sure you make time for each other during this time.

You may be tempted to put romance on hold, but it is critical to keep the flame of love alive. Children are happier when their parents are happy. Don't skip out on date nights!

Raising a child can be exhausting, but it can also be one of the most incredible experiences of your life. And think about all the photo opportunities for Facebook and Instagram!

Are you still worried? Read our list of the 50 Best Parenting Tricks and Hacks to Make Life Easier and More Fun.

12. Dropping Off Your Child on the First Day of School

What parent doesn't cry as they drop their beloved child off at kindergarten for the first time? Their child is no longer a child. Kindergarten is where it all begins. It is the start of the educational journey.

However, for you as a couple, it is an opportunity to spend more time together. You can both celebrate this momentous occasion by going out to brunch after dropping off your child.

Celebrate how far you've come; share some of the cute things you've done; and discuss some of the things you're looking forward to.

Consider this: with all of your extra time, you can plan more romantic outings for you and your honey, not to mention share proud moments as your child learns to count to 100.

Take a lot of photos and enjoy this significant and sentimental relationship milestone.

13. Adolescence! Yikes!

Your child will become a tween, and then a teenager, without you even realizing it. You're beginning to wonder who they are.

“Where has my little princess gone?” You may inquire. “What happened to the boy who used to cuddle with me in the middle of the night?”

Yes, there will be a stranger in your home.

This stage lasts a long time. It's most likely one of the most challenging relationship milestones. There is a lot of attitude, smart-mouthing, disregard for orders, hateful words, and other things.

You and your partner may disagree on how certain issues should be handled. But now is the time to band together, to stand strong, and to form a unified front.

Lean on one another for support and encourage one another when discouragement sets in. This is another bonding experience that can help to strengthen your relationship.

During this period, I highly recommend Michael J. Bradley's book, Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! : Loving Your Child Without Losing Your Mind.

When my son became a “stranger,” I read this book thoroughly. My highlighter was my best friend.

This book is well-written and extremely useful. It will give you hope and normalize your situation. You'll feel better about yourself and your misbehaving teen.

It can guide you as a couple so that you are more capable of dealing with difficult situations that may arise.

This, too, will pass. Stay strong! I'm not sure if this is a relationship milestone to celebrate, but it is a milestone. What you'll be celebrating is the day they regain their humanity.

The going will be tough, but it will feel so good when it is over. Ellen Pompeo says in an episode of Grey's Anatomy, “Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer?” Because it feels so good when it comes to a halt!” And it will come to an end!

14. Obtaining a Promotion

You and/or your partner may be offered a promotion somewhere between raising your teen, teaching them to drive, and surviving it all with a tasty dinner after their high school graduation.

You may have worked hard in your chosen careers and are now being rewarded with a fantastic opportunity.

This could mean more money, a title change, or both, as well as the ability to afford things you couldn't before. It will also imply increased responsibility.

Remember to be conscientious of the time you do have. Use your new benefits to get closer, plan trips, and spend more romantic time together.

This is a fantastic relationship achievement. It is saying, “You did an excellent job, and we appreciate it.” This is the time to congratulate one another and celebrate your accomplishments.

Allow jealousy to set in if both of you work hard but only one of you gets promoted. Be pleased for your partner. What is good for one of you will benefit the other. After all, you're a group.

Celebrate your promotion(s), but continue with the date nights and communication.

To achieve the best work-family balance possible, read 7 Habits of Successful Working Parents.

15. The Empty Nest Syndrome

After all is said and done, your child will have grown into an adult right before your eyes. They'll be packing for college, getting married, or simply relocating.

This will be a bittersweet moment in your relationship. You will miss your child's presence, no matter how much you want them to be independent.

Consider this: If your relationship was neglected during the child-rearing years, there may be some consequences as a result of that neglect.

When your child leaves, so does the distraction. It'll just be you and your partner, “alone again, naturally,” as Gilbert O'Sullivan sings. The good news is that now is an excellent time to rediscover each other.

This milestone can be used to grow as a couple by going on dates, traveling, and spending time with friends. Don't worry, the sadness will fade. Everything will fall into place, and new habits will emerge.

NOTE: In some cases, a son or daughter may return home after discovering how difficult life is in the REAL WORLD. So, enjoy and celebrate your time away from them while you can.

Final Thoughts

The relationship milestones listed above are not the only ones. You may have celebrated milestones that aren't even on this list but are very important to you.

Whatever markers your relationship encounters, they must be acknowledged. After all, you're constructing a life together.

Isn't it worth celebrating all of the shared experiences that led up to that 60+ year anniversary?

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