It’s the time of year! A fresh start! A time for you to set new goals and refocus on how you can be the best version of yourself. When we think of New Year’s Resolutions, we often think about creating a gym routine, increasing our emergency fund, or improving our productivity at work. Imagine what could happen if you focused this time and energy on your relationship or marriage, too! Here are four New Year’s Resolutions that you can make with your partner to create a more connected and fulfilling relationship.
Be more intentional!
I get it! You’re busy. However, when you let structured time with your partner fall to the wayside you could be sending a message about where your priorities lie. The reality is that if you wait until you “have time”, it likely will not happen. Instead, try reserving a few hours each week to connect with your partner and stick to it! Are finances or childcare getting in your way? At home date nights can effective when you are in a pinch. Be sure that you are using this time to connect and not just to watch your favorite television program.
Many of the couples that I see tend to communicate about their relationship the most during conflict. However, having these conversations in a more calm and positive space can help normalize them and make them easier to navigate when things become escalated. Try checking in with your partner about your relationship at least once a week. Questions like “How can I best support you in the next week?”, “What discussion have come up for us in the past week that need resolution?”, and “How are you feeling about our physical intimacy?” can help you and your partner feel seen and cared for.
State Complaints in the Moment
Many of my clients avoid communicating complaints to their partner out of fear that they will cause unnecessary conflict. However, choosing not to communicate complaints can lead to resentment, bitterness, and eventually loss of connection. Instead, try to be mindful of how you are communicating with your partner. Are you coming across as critical? Are you unable to see your partner’s perspective in the situation? If so, it may be helpful to slow down and approach the situation with respect and curiosity. Doing so can prevent your partner from becoming defensive or shutting down. Still not convinced? Try noticing how you feel and act towards your partner when you make the conscious decision to communicate a complaint in the moment compared to when you choose not to. It is likely that you will feel more positively towards you partner when you choose to be honest and transparent and opposed to bottling things up.
Nurture Relationships with Friends and Family Members
One person cannot meet your needs all the time. Maintaining meaningful relationships with friends and family members outside of your romantic relationship can alleviate this pressure and help you feel energized and fulfilled. These relationships also allow you to maintain a healthy sense of independence, outside of your couple relationship which can lead to as greater sense of satisfaction long-term.
Michaela Standhart is a Marriage and Family Therapist Candidate. She specializes in couples therapy, betrayal trauma, and works with adolescent as young as 12 years old.