New Year’s Resolutions can be a good way to set your focus on something that you have been letting go to the side. Most of the time you hear people talk about it in the context of eating healthier, or working out more. But the same idea can go for your relationship. A new year can be a good opportunity to talk to your partner about ways you would like to grow closer together ways to try new things.
Spend Dedicated Time Together
I am a broken record on this point. But this topic comes up so often with couples that I believe it is very important. And Research backs this up! It is really important to focus your energy on having solid positive interactions with your partner. This can come through those bonding moments when you talk about your emotions. But it can also come from just having fun together. How we spend our time communicates our values. Focusing on time with your partner communicates that regardless of how busy life gets, your relationship is the priority.
Find a Hobby Together
Some couples have the luxury of shared hobbies from the beginning. As a matter of fact, that might even be how you met your partner. That is great if that is you! Sometimes you might have to re-focus on these things. Say that you love golfing together. Life gets busy and stressful and that might go by the wayside. Take time to focus on the things that you already know you enjoy together.
Some of us might not have those shared hobbies. That just means that you get to experiment together. There might be something that you have meaning to try for a while. Asking your partner to be start something new with you is a great to build your relationship together. This is good for couples whether it is a new relationship or you have been together for years.
Focus on Showing Appreciation
Showing appreciation is a great way to work on overcoming past barriers. Say you and your partner have been through a lot of conflict. It is important to verbalize the things that you see your partner working on that mean a lot to you. This does not have to be through grand gestures. A simple “Hey, thanks for doing that” can go a long way in increasing your positive interactions.
Acts of service can be another great way of showing appreciation. I will share a homework assignment I give most of my couples at some point. Do something nice for your partner, but try to not let them catch you doing it. This removes the transactional feeling that sometimes comes doing nice things for each other. Being sneaky about something nice can also just be fun. Think about the feeling you get when you surprise someone with the perfect gift.
Voice the Ways that You Would Like to Improve
Most of the stuff above is helpful whether your relationship is struggling or you are in a solid spot. But New Year’s is also a great time to try therapy if you have been putting it off. If you are looking to reconnect or reduce conflict give The Marriage and Family Clinic a call.
About the Author
Ryan Hicks is a licensed therapist and marriage counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in working with couples in high conflict and working with couples in the LGBTQ community. When he’s not working with couples, you’ll find him rock climbing or taking in the great outdoors of Colorado.