Relationship Resolutions for the New Year
By: Liza Harbison

Many of us see the new year as a chance for a fresh start. We make resolutions to improve our health, finances, looks, and jobs. But what about our relationships? A new year is an opportunity to resolve to work as hard on your relationship as on those other resolutions. Just like with other resolutions, focus on the changes you can make to improve the relationship, not what you want your partner to change.

Try a few of these to start with, but to set yourself up for success, make them more specific to your relationship:

  1. Listen more. One of the best ways to know what your partner truly needs from you is to commit to listening more. All too often we interrupt, wait for our chance to talk, or try to “win” a conversation or argument. Next time your partner is sharing with you, slow down and take the time to really listen to what they are saying and the emotions behind it.

  2. Speak from the heart. Similarly, your partner can’t know your needs if you don’t voice them. Practice speaking about how you feel without blame, and don’t wait until resentment has built up to ask for something to change.

  3. Set a goal together. Maybe you’ve been looking to travel more, start a new hobby, or run a marathon. Work together on what could have been individual resolutions and you’ll have a partner in accountability and fun! Having a shared goal increases connection, and gives you a reason to spend more time together.
  4. Spend more (and better) time together. Date nights, fun rituals, and couple vacations can be hard to come by in a busy schedule, especially with kids. But these are all important opportunities to be attuned to your partner, reminisce about past experiences, and make new memories.

  5. Spend less time on phones and computers. So many of us are guilty of phone addiction. But not everyone thinks about how this changes our relationships. Screen time first thing in the morning takes away those special moments in bed with your partner, and screen time after work can remove the opportunity to check in about your day and reconnect for the evening. Screens have so much to offer us, but they can make us forget what’s right in front of us.

  6. Show gratitude. Healthy relationships need more positive than negative interactions to flourish. It’s easy to notice the things your partner doesn’t do, but more impactful to notice and point out things you appreciate.

  7. Know when to ask for extra help. Sometimes couples hit a wall and one or both partners realize they need to look elsewhere to fix the issue. Seeking couple therapy can greatly improve the relationship, but it can be a difficult conversation to have. Speak to your partner about how you would know it’s time to see a therapist and how you would have that conversation. That way, you are on the same page and don’t wait for a tough time to bring it up for the first time.

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