Do you want a more romantic, intimate and connected relationship in the New Year? What’s that—did I hear a “Hell Yes!!!”? Of course you do!
On January 1st, I encourage you to sit down with your spouse or significant other to reflect on the past year in terms of your relationship.
Grab some peppermint cocoa and get cozy. This should be a positive, calm conversation, rather than a blaming and defensive one.
What were your highs and lows as a couple this year? Share specific memories that stand out. What did you improve upon from last year? What were your biggest struggles?
Really listen to your partner’s responses.
Now ask yourself what is one thing that you can commit to in the New Year to better meet your partner’s needs?
That’s right, just one thing! I don’t want you to over commit because when you try to change too much, it likely feels overwhelming and you give up.
This year, it’s all about making small changes that will help you love more successfully in the long run.
For some inspiration, here are 10 suggested relationship resolutions for the New Year:
1) Commit to giving your partner undivided attention every day
Happy couples prioritize each other constantly. Everyone has distractions—work, children and obligations that take you away from each other. That’s why it’s imperative to put him or her at the top of your to-do list.
It’s time to unplug and tune in. This doesn’t happen by chance, it needs to be a willful effort. Stop checking work emails, log ogg of Facebook, turn your phone on airplane mode and connect!
2) Commit to expressing gratitude for your partner daily
Grateful couples are happier couples—science says so!
Researchers found that partners who expressed gratitude felt more loving, peaceful, proud and satisfied with the quality of their relationship, and they viewed their loved one as more validating, understanding, caring and responsive.
Focus on your partner’s little day-to-day actions that may normally go unnoticed or unappreciated. Create a bedtime gratitude practice every night before you go to sleep. Simply look each other in the eyes and say:
- Today I'm grateful you...
- Today I appreciated that you...
- Today I'm thankful you...
This will cause both of you to be more mindful of doing sweet gestures for each other, and each of you will feel more recognized and connected.
3) Commit to speaking your partner’s love language
You and your partner may give and receive love in different ways.
For example, do you like to receive love through physical touch, gift giving, words of affirmation, quality time, or acts of service? In which way do you most naturally show love?
Couples often feel disconnected and butt heads because each partner is speaking with his or her own preferred love language, rather than through the words or actions in which your partner likes to receive love.
You have to learn to give the love your partner wants to feel.
Make it a point to identify his love language(s) through this free assessment, then commit to speaking them on a daily basis to feel more connected.
4) Commit to exercising together
Psychological studies have found that couples who sweat together stay together! Couples who engage in physical challenges together tend to feel more loving and satisfied in their relationships.
Think about it—when you work out together, you’re spending more time together. You’re also encouraging and praising each other as you work towards your fitness goals. This creates a supportive environment.
Have a date night at the gym, sign up for a 5K together, take a salsa lesson, or go standup paddle boarding. Your options are endless, but it’s clear—you need to get moving together!
5) Commit to a weekly date night:
When you date your mate, you put yourself in the mindset that your relationship is a privilege, rather than taking it for granted.
Research has shown that being in a rut or rarely doing exciting things can lead to boredom, which is a silent relationship killer. It’s easy to get stuck in a daily routine that doesn’t leave much room for novelty.
Reigniting the spark isn’t rocket science, and it doesn’t have to break the bank! It’s about surprising each other.
If participating in new and exciting activities together on a weekly basis is unrealistic, can you commit to a biweekly or monthly date? Then on the down weeks, make it a point to do something low key that you enjoy, such as going to your favorite restaurant, or snuggling up with a movie—kid free.
6) Commit to letting things go
How many times have you blown up about something in the moment, just to realize later on that it was not worth the fuss? You likely feel guilty or even embarrassed about your behavior.
This resolution is all about letting go—no more grudges or silent treatments. A successful relationship is not about right and wrong.
Ultimately you’re a team. Problems are not mine or yours; they are “ours.”
Ask yourself what’s more important—the issue you’re upset about, or your relationship. If you argue, bicker and fight enough, it’s only a matter of time until you wind up unhappy.
7) Commit to creating more intimacy and desire
Think back to when you first started dating him. There was probably a lot of laughter, flirting and passionate sex. Things likely felt lighter. There was positive energy, a go with the flow mindset, a sense of relaxation and fun.
So much has changed! The honeymoon stage is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring back those butterflies.
Great sex at a frequency that satisfies both partners is important for a successful relationship, but it’s not the foundation.
Relational happiness is built on intimacy. When you have emotional intimacy, sex and other forms of affection tend to be the result of feeling connected.
Try creating intimacy by sharing memories, such as your first kiss or the first time you slept together. You can also watch Esther Perel’s TED Talk together for a better understanding of maintaining desire in a long-term relationship.
8) Commit to processing your relationship
One of the best aspects of being in a relationship is getting to share your emotions with someone else. So open up in order to increase the connection—it’s a beautiful thing!
“Processing” just means identifying and talking about how you’re feeling in the moment. Are you a smitten kitten? Are you feeling distant?
Processing the good things is just as important to your relationship satisfaction as effectively communicating about the bad things.
9) Commit to being respectful even when you’re PISSED
Raise your hand if you’ve ever said something unkind to your partner when you’re angry, annoyed, or hurt? I should see everyone's hand up!
It’s easy to snap, criticize, and name call when you’re irritated or disappointed, especially if he fired first. But you can’t take back your words, even if you say, “I’m sorry.”
I get it—sometimes snarky things just pop out. This resolution is about being more aware and controlling your temper.
Take your internal temperature. On a scale from 1-10 (10=most), how angry or upset are you? If it's over 5, take a time out by saying, “I’m really upset right now, but I know this is important to talk about, so I’ll have to continue this convo once I cool off,” rather than letting something hurtful slip. Notice this statement also communicates to your partner that you care and know it's important.
10) Commit to communicating your needs
Unless some crazy new technology is released in the New Year that allows you to read each other’s minds, then you need to make a serious effort to clearly communicate your needs!
There’s no way to guarantee that your partner knows exactly what you want, unless you tell him—and even then he may not listen! You also can’t assume you know how he or she feels about an issue without talking through it.
Let’s eliminate passive aggressive behavior this coming year. Be direct about what you need—be it an orgasm or more attention—and how can help give it to you.
Now look up at your partner, make eye contact, and commit to a New Year's resolution. Say, "In the New Year, my relationship resolution is to..."
Cheers to much love, romance and happiness in the New year!
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