When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, many of us turned to one another for a kiss and we celebrated. Did you take stock of how the last year has been, and think about what the new year will bring?

We review the events that made the news, rate the best songs and movies, and then we inevitably evaluate our own lives. We think about the joys and sorrows of the past year, who has left us through death or breakups, who has arrived in our lives, and we take stock of our health. We haul out our list of goals and resolutions made in the past and measure ourselves against them, and we set new goals for our lives in the coming year.

But very few of us sit down with our partner, the most important one in our life, to have a relationship check-in and make resolutions for our relationship. Below we’ll present some helpful questions to ask and topics to explore, and provide you with an exercise to make the process easier for you. Finally, we’ll make some recommendations for resolutions to ensure that 2017 is the best year yet for your relationship.

Let’s Get Started

It’s no secret that relationships take work. All couples have misunderstandings, distractions, and disagreements, and it takes commitment to bridge the gaps between us when they occur. One gift the near year gives us is the opportunity for one or more intimate conversations to check the vitals in our marriage. Where do you start?

The most logical place to start is to share your reflections about your own life with your partner. Under ideal relationship conditions, you would already be fully aware of one another’s current hopes, goals, and most importantly, life dreams. But the rush of every day always seems to get in the way. The jobs, kids, extended family, and other challenges life throws our way. So instead of plunging into an intense conversation, how about preparing yourself by just sticking a toe into the water first?

The perfect way to start would be a more lighthearted Q&A session like this one from Psychology Today that will let you deepen your connection. So make some popcorn, brew up a pot of coffee or hot cocoa, get cozy with your partner, and just talk.

New Year’s Relationship Check-in

As you start a check-in of your relationship, you’ll find it’s much easier to target the areas that are working well. If you can also address the issues that need attention without getting agitated, then you can, as a team, set goals for yourselves.

To help you both in this process, we’ve provided a questionnaire to give you lots of fodder for discussion. Enter your email below to receive the exercise directly to your inbox.

New Year’s Relationship Resolutions

Once you’ve completed the exercise above, you and your partner have done the hard work to evaluate the health of your relationship. Hopefully you’ve carefully sidestepped any land mines, and have come out of the process with a greater understanding of each other and your relationship.

It may be relatively easy for you both to identify your goals for the new year. The challenge is how to make the new behaviors stick. To get you both thinking along these lines, this article from Woman’s Day offers seven resolutions for couples and practical strategies for how to make them last.

After you decide on your resolutions, be sure to discuss how you will observe and measure the results of your work toward your mutual goals. We recommend revisiting them on a regular basis so you can stay on target throughout the year.

Make your relationship your New Year’s resolution and reap the benefits of a happy, healthy, and meaningful 2017.


This article was originally published on The Center for Relationship Wellness blog and has been edited with permission from its original version.


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The Center for Relationship Wellness, founded by Certified Gottman Therapists Dr. Don Cole and Carrie Cole, is a private practice for therapy, consultation, and training in the Houston, Texas area. Learn more at their website.