Looking for a Better 2021: 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Couples
Typically, resolutions for the new year revolve around breaking bad habits or making new ones. We determine to eat less, exercise more, eat only healthy foods, get up earlier, meditate, stop smoking, curse less, etc. Most of our resolutions are personal and don’t include anyone else. But what about resolutions for our relationship? Have you ever considered making joint resolutions or goals for your relationship? Listed below are ten couple’s resolutions that you might consider agreeing upon together for the coming year.
- Make sex a priority. Don’t be intimidated by this being #1 on the list! It is surprising how this vital area gets relegated to the bottom of “to do” lists of those with busy schedules. Be intentional about your intimacy in this area. If your lives seem too busy for spontaneous sex, schedule it. Your relationship needs it. Bonding hormones are released when you make love, and they pull you together. Talk about what you want and what you don’t want. Communicate your desires and your needs. Be sensitive, open, and understanding. Seek help from a trusted professional if you need help to get your sex life on track.
- Compliment more than you criticize. It’s easy to criticize and nag and complain. And, really, does nagging ever work? Notice the positive things about your mate and remark about them. What do you love about their character, their personality, or their appearance? What have they done recently that you appreciate and possibly take for granted? Even mundane things like cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash, having the car serviced, etc., deserve notice. It’s the little things that add up over time and build a relationship.
- Have a weekly date night. This could be as simple as meeting for coffee. And speaking of meeting… try arriving separately to your date instead of going together. It feels more like a date if you come alone and look around to spy your date. You will anticipate seeing your mate whether you spot them across a crowded restaurant or see them walking toward you in a park. Take turns planning your date nights so that each of you feels considered and a priority. Play together. At least occasionally have a “play date” and do something purely fun – bowling, playing pool, dancing, etc.
- Tame the technology. Be mindful of your use of your cellphone or other technology when you are with your mate. You can’t really multitask and build your relationship! Before you walk in the door of your home, finish any phone conversations, and be fully present when you greet your mate with a hug and kiss. Turn phones off during meals. Limit your use of social media when you are with each other. You get the idea.
- Talk less and touch more. Hold hands when you can. Snuggle on the couch. Give random hugs when you pass by each other. It only takes a couple of seconds to help your mate feel loved and valued.
- Ask questions and listen. Ask questions before you make assumptions about your mate’s intentions, actions, or feelings. Ask questions about their day, their opinions, favorite sport or hobbies, how they are feeling, how they slept, etc. Show genuine interest and listen with empathy to their answers. This kind of validation is often what’s missing in relationships.
- Release past hurts and disappoints with your mate and your relationship. Wipe the slate clean. Forgive each other and hold nothing against your mate as you begin a new year. During the year, be quick to ask for forgiveness when you are the offender and be quick to forgive if you are the offended partner. It is okay to tell your mate that you forgive them but that you will not tolerate their behavior on an ongoing basis. You may also tell them what you will do if they continue the behavior. You do not have to trust your mate completely to forgive them. If there are deep hurts and trust needs to be rebuilt, you may need to seek guidance from a counselor or relationship coach to do so.
- Let it go! Some things are just not worth stressing over or arguing about. Overlook petty annoyances like their messy side of the closet, leaving food crumbs in the car, not putting a fresh trash bag in the trash can, etc. If they were to be taken from you, you would more than likely wish that they were there to annoy you in those ways. You know the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”? Well, it’s all pretty much small stuff, so let it go!
- Make a difference together. Volunteering and doing things that benefit others without expecting a reward is not just for holidays. It is gratifying and relationship-building to feed the homeless, do something to help single mothers or orphans, raise money for cancer research, etc. Look around in your community and find a worthwhile cause to volunteer for or contribute to.
- Grow together. Choose a book to read together that will challenge you and expand your understanding of a particular topic. Develop spiritual practices that you can do together that will enhance your spirituality as a couple – things like studying the scriptures, attending worship services, or joining a small group whose members seek to grow in this area.
Of course, there are the apparent resolutions that you could make, depending upon your own situation. You could resolve to sweat together by enjoying some form of exercise that you both could participate in. Breaking bad habits such as smoking or drinking too much can work if you are both on board with the effort and encourage, not judge, each other. The idea is to continue to grow, both individually and together as a couple. Celebrate your successes and growth and learn from the failures and get back on track quickly. You and your relationship are worth the effort!