You’ve heard the typical New Year’s resolutions before: lose weight, learn to play an instrument, save more money! These resolutions are all well and good, but they rarely last through the whole year. Most people will start strong for the first 2-4 weeks of the year but grow tired of forming new habits and let their resolutions fall to the wayside. But what if your resolution is a bit more…personal? What if you resolve to strengthen your relationship with your significant other? You don’t want to let that fall to the wayside after 2-4 weeks!
The key is to set smaller, specific goals, rather than establishing one broad-sweeping claim. Instead of declaring, “My New Year’s resolution is to have a happier relationship,” you need a plan to get there! Setting a couple of specific, actionable goals with your other half can make a huge difference in your relationship – and it’s much easier to stick with small commitments in the long run. To help you and your partner start your New Year right, here are seven New Year’s resolutions that will improve your relationship.
1. Limit Your Screen Time
I know – at the end of the day, it’s so lovely to “turn your brain off” and scroll mindlessly through Instagram! But if you’re giving your phone more attention than you’re giving to your partner, your relationship is bound to suffer. On the flip side, you could be the one feeling like a second priority to screen time and wishing you had the attention of your other half.
Make a resolution together, as a couple, to set a time limit for screen time at home, or designate some “unplugged” time when you’re together. Don’t just lock your phone screens; put your phones in another room entirely, and just focus on each other. You could do simple, fun things like playing a board game or use the time to do some serious soul searching together – it’s totally up to the two of you! As long as the screens are off, you’re doing it right.
2. Practice Everyday Moments of Thoughtfulness
Everyone gives and receives love differently — what does it for you may not do it for your mate. The five love languages we use to express love are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Maybe acts of service, like sorting the laundry or doing the dishes, are signs of love and commitment to you, but your partner finds romantic fulfillment through gifts or physical touch.
This year, commit to discovering each other’s love language and showing love in that preferred language once every day. You can take a quiz at 5lovelanguages.com to find your primary love language and use that knowledge to share your passion for one another in more impactful, meaningful ways.
3. Commit to Sex
Yep, you heard me! A healthy sex life is critical for a happy relationship. Boosting your intimacy game comes with other benefits, too, like more physical connection and reduced anxiety, so it’s a top priority to improve your relationship! Unfortunately, sex is often the first thing to suffer when things get busy – so you’ve got to commit to it.
As unromantic as it may sound, one of the best ways to reconnect sexually with your partner is to schedule a weekly sex date. Plan a time for intimacy every week and guard it closely! Scheduling a specific time takes away any pressure you or your partner may feel around initiation and reciprocation and will help you focus on the real purpose of sex – enjoying the pleasure together!
4. Sit Close When You Watch TV
Maybe you and your partner already have a healthy sex life and have no problem showing your affection in that way. But what about non-sexual affection?
When you’re watching TV or a movie together, do you sit on opposite sides of the couch, or do you sit right next to each other? Sitting close to each other increases the chance of non-sexual, affectionate touch, which seems to evaporate in long-term relationships. Stay proactive by cuddling on the couch. Bonus points if physical touch is one of your love languages!
5. Have Intentional Talks About Finances
Having money is a great thing, but if you don’t have honest conversations about it with your significant other, things can deteriorate quickly. It may be uncomfortable to discuss your finances, but it’s essential to do so – especially since 70% of married couples say they argue about money. Even unmarried couples can attest to tension and stress solely due to finances!
Rather than tiptoe around this touchy subject, regularly schedule an intentional time to discuss money with your partner. You could talk about your financial lives once a month, or every two weeks on payday, as long as you have an open dialogue. Discuss your financial goals with each other, your spending habits, and any investments you’d both like to make. Remember to keep a proactive mindset rather than a reactive mindset, and approach every conversation as a team – not opposing players.
6. Go to Bed Together
Wait, we’re talking about sex AGAIN? Nope! This time, “go to bed together” means just that – hit the hay at the same time that your partner does. Now, this may be difficult if you work opposite schedules, but try to go to bed together when you can, even if it’s just once or twice per week.
Why is it so important? The moments after crawling into bed can be special for you and your other half! You can take this opportunity to have some quiet time together after a long day of work; whisper to each other in the dark, cuddle close, connect with one another. And don’t forget to put those screens away when you do go to bed!
7. Make Time for Yourself
Yes, alone time for yourself can make your relationship better! It doesn’t have to be a major trip or vacation; it can be something as simple as getting a manicure, meeting a friend for coffee, or perusing the bookstore in solitude. Whatever you enjoy and “fills your cup,” do it for yourself!
People will often lose themselves in relationships or put everyone else’s needs first before attending to their own. But that could lead to exhaustion, burnout, and even resentment towards your partner! Make sure you show love and affection to yourself. It will allow you to be happier, which can only make your relationship a happier one, too.
Regardless of which resolutions you choose to adopt or the upcoming year, Loving at Your Best is here to help your relationship flourish. From marriage counseling to couples counseling, from family therapy to relationship therapy, we want to help you achieve happiness and satisfaction in your personal life. Book now to make your resolutions a reality!