New Years eve is right around the corner and you’ve probably got a few resolutions already on your mind. Maybe you want to lose weight or maybe you want to work towards that promotion this year, but when all is said and done, none of these will be as meaningful to you as having a better relationship with your spouse/significant other. So why are you focusing on that other stuff? That’s not to say you can’t focus on those. Those are good, too. But while you’re at it, why not throw in some resolutions that will help your relationship as well? I got some tips below for you that will do just that. These will help you personally AND help your relationship in the meantime.
New Years Resolutions for You AND Your Relationship
1. Be More Present
If you’re like everyone else in the world, you have 24 hours in a day, too. If you take away about a 1/3rd of that for sleep and another 1/3rd for work, that means you have about 8 hours left in a day to make dinner, taxi kids around, help kids with homework, and spend time with your spouse. Unfortunately, in all the hussle of this, we get caught in worrying what we’re going to do next instead of focusing on what we’re doing here and now. So instead of worrying about what’s going to happen next focus on who’s around you in the moment and focus on making meaningful conversations while you’re doing what you’re doing
2. Put Your Phone Down
When you were a kid, you had a Nintendo or an Atari or maybe you just had Lincoln Logs. Either way, you had toys and you thought they were fun. And your parents would get on your case because you played with them too much when you should have been going outside or spending time with your family more.
Now that you’re an adult, you have a supercomputer in your pocket that is 100 times more capable than that old Nintendo or Lincoln Logs you used to play with. And it makes sense that you like to play with it. But this is one of those cases where your parents were right. You really are spending too much time on it. And you should be spending more time with your loved ones instead of on your phone. I promise you that when your kids leave the house or when you’re on your deathbed this is going to be one resolution you’ll be glad that you made.
3. Make Love More
Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “Gee, I really don’t want to have an orgasm today”. And nobody wakes up saying “I hope I don’t get closer to my partner today”, either. Well, this resolution will address both of those.
Too many couples fight about sex. But why? What’s so bad about it? I’ve been doing counseling for about 9 years now and nobody has yet told me that they don’t like it or that sex is bad. So stop quarreling and just do it more. It releases something called oxytocin which makes couples feel more bonded, and it forces you and your partner to get to know each other better on a deeper more intimate level, too. When you look back at your life, I promise you that you won’t have any regrets that you had too much sex with your spouse.
4. Turn off the TV More
This is a favorite past time for a lot of couples. It’s nice to finally have the kids in bed and sit down on the sofa and just relax with your spouse next to you. But that’s the problem. They’re next to you. You’re not actually interacting at all. You’re not discovering anything new about your spouse. And most couples don’t feel any bit closer at the end of a TV show than they did at the beginning of it. In fact, watching TV with your spouse is usually just two people in the same room bored as they’re trying to find something good to watch.
So don’t let this be you. Start off slow by committing to one night without any TV. You’ll feel a little awkward and uncomfortable as you try to find something else to fill this time (and no, smartphones are not an alternative. See tip number 2 above) but just embrace it. Break out some old board games, dust off that deck of cards in your junk drawer or spend time just talking about how your day really was. You’ll be surprised what you two find to occupy your time. You may even find a new hobby or project for the two of you. Either way, I guarantee that whatever you find will be a lot more rewarding and fulfilling than watching a show on TV.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. He specializes in working with couples heal after infidelity and creating more intimacy for a better sex life.