New Year’s has always been a time for reflection. It’s an ideal time to look back at the past year and resolve to do better in the new year by making a new beginning for personal habits and goals. New Year’s resolutions are typically about self-improvement, but if you are part of a couple, New Year’s resolutions can also be about improving your relationship.
This New Year, give yourself and your partner the gift of a stronger relationship. These are ten healthy relationship resolutions to make, and keep, with your significant other to give yourselves a better relationship this year.
1. Make Time for One Another
Couples often get so wrapped up in their own lives that they forget to make time for each other. This resolution is a commitment to spend quality time together, face to face and present in the moment. That means engaging and interacting with each other without distractions like cell phones, computers or TV.
Some specific steps you can set to help you keep this resolution could include designating one night a week as an official date night; blocking off an hour or two a day, maybe during and after dinnertime, as no-electronics periods for both partners (or the whole family, if you have kids); and committing to completing certain chores or responsibilities together, such as grocery shopping or making meals.
2. Show Appreciation
New couples often express appreciation frequently through gifts and verbal affirmations. However, once the honeymoon stage has expired, it’s easier to take a relationship for granted and forget to show appreciation for one another. Make a resolution to show sincere appreciation for your partner at least once a day.
This can be done through a kind gesture, such as surprising your partner with lunch; saying thank you for doing household chores; or sending a heartfelt note or text.
3. Communicate Effectively
Communication is key in any relationship. Resolve to communicate openly and honestly with your partner. This includes being clear about what you want and need from each other. It also means listening attentively and without judgement.
You may want to start by setting aside one hour per week to plan your week’s schedule together, express appreciation for each other, and also express concerns or discuss areas of your relationship that need improvement without judgment. As you get more comfortable navigating hard topics together, it will get easier to express needs and create an effective, loving, and frustration-free partnership where both individuals feel understood.
4. Divide and Conquer
In today’s society, there is unfortunately still an all-too-common expectation that one partner can or should be mainly responsible for housework, especially in relationships where one partner is primarily responsible for childcare. This simply isn’t realistic. Resolve to evenly distribute the workload in your relationship, both big and small tasks. This will help to create a sense of equality and fairness while preventing resentment from building up.
5. Be Sensitive to Your Partner
With close relationships comes the capability to cause a lot of joy–but also a lot of hurt. Resolve to be more sensitive in your communication. Ask yourself how what you’re about to say might affect your partner before you speak. Intentionally think about their feelings and needs and avoid being hurtful or derogatory when talking with them.
6. Practice Good Health Habits
Having a healthy relationship means practicing good self-care individually and as a couple. Resolve to work on your own health and fitness and make time for activities and hobbies that promote good health and wellbeing.
Two partners that are healthy and well-rested will be less prone to irritability and frustration with one another. Make a goal together to get enough sleep, eat healthier, get outside more, or do other health-promoting activities together.
7. Set Realistic Expectations
It’s easy to get caught up in unrealistic expectations for your relationship and for one another, especially when there’s a world of social media telling you what a “perfect” relationship should look like. Make a resolution to be more accepting and forgiving of each other’s flaws and quirks, while still holding one another to high standards.
The specifics of setting this goal could look like sitting down and going over expectations for everyday activities like dividing housework, spending time together, or larger life goals and lifestyles. Understanding one another’s wants while acknowledging limitations will help you both to create the life you want together.
8. Spend Time Apart
Spending all of your free time together can be counter-productive to the longevity of a relationship. Make a resolution to work on separate hobbies and interests, maybe spending one night each week alone, and find creative ways to enjoy some solitude without drifting apart.
Maintaining your individual interests can help you maintain your sense of self and avoid feeling smothered or frustrated by your relationship.
9. Have Fun Together
Couples that play together, stay together. Resolve to make time for fun and laughter in your relationship. Playful banter and intimate moments are key to keeping the spark alive.
To fulfill this resolution, you could make a list of things you’ve never done before that you’ll complete together this year, or take turns planning surprise dates. Even when you don’t have something big planned, keeping this resolution in mind can help you intentionally turn a small task into a chance to have some fun together.
10. Remember Why You Fell in Love
This is perhaps the most important resolution of all. Take some time to reflect on why you fell in love with your partner in the first place and what still attracts you to them. Remembering why you love your partner can help to keep your relationship strong during tough times.
Get the Help You Need
While some couples may be able to recognize where their relationship needs help and take the necessary steps to do better, others may need a little more help to repair harm done and learn how to communicate with one another. Setting and keeping these resolutions will sound more daunting to some than others, and you may not even be sure where to start communicating your needs and desires for your partnership.
The new year is the perfect time to prioritize your relationship by going to couples’ therapy. Couples’ counseling can help you get your relationship back after trauma or just losing the spark and help you and your partner reach new levels of communication, understanding, and love.
Happy New Year!
Making resolutions for your relationship is a great way to start the New Year. By committing to these ten resolutions, you and your partner can work together to create a stronger, healthier, and more fulfilling relationship. Best of luck!