New Year’s Relationship Resolutions

Make New Year’s resolutions for your relationship.

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Make New Year’s resolutions for your relationship.

Make New Year’s resolutions for your relationship.

Have you been the best partner possible to your significant other over the past year? Even if you think you have been, you can always do more to strengthen your relationship. Here are resolutions you can make for your partnership.

Resolutions to reassess

If you have been meaning to change something about your relationship, but haven’t felt ready to ask for it, now is the time. Remember that your relationship is constantly evolving as you and your partner spend more time together. Your individual likes and dislikes may change more than you think. Reassess the state of your relationship, paying particular attention to how you both felt about your relationship over the past year. What aspect of your relationship was most satisfying? Most frustrating? Were you sexually satisfied last year? If not, what would you like to see changed? Where would you like to see progress?

Take turns letting each other speak. Don’t interrupt. Once you have each voiced your opinions, respond to each other’s comments. Do not make targeted suggestive attacks like “I don’t like the way you…” or “You need to…” Instead, make the conversation about your relationship as a whole by using positive statements like “I think we could…” or “We need to…” When “you” is changed to “we,” the conversation involves both parties. You become a team. Before making resolutions for your relationship, here are three tips to consider:

Set realistic expectations

Do your best to think about the things you’d like to change as well as what a real change would look like. If you and your partner struggle, don’t expect change to happen overnight. Making a long-term commitment to each other is the first step in getting your relationship to where you want it to be. Talk to each other about where you want your relationship to be in two months, six months, a year, and beyond.

Set both specific and holistic goals

Good resolutions focus on specific details as well as the bigger picture. While having a stronger relationship may be your ultimate goal, improving the way you communicate about your day at work or the way that the two of you decide which TV show to watch together makes for specific goals that are attainable. Relationships are incredibly complex. Break your resolution down into smaller goals and it will seem less daunting.

Focus on the means, not just the ends

Now that you’re prepared to make resolutions for your relationship, ask yourself what exactly you want to change. Whatever your decision, what is most important is that you are both equally committed to achieving the same goal in the end. Shared goals can be the bedrock for relationships. They can give purposeful pathways that enrich lives. To find out if you and your partner are on the same page, sit down together and answer the following questions:

  • “How can we keep or bring back the fun in our relationship?”
  • “How can we spend more quality time together?’
  • “How can we build intimacy, both sexually and emotionally?”
  • “What is something we can both do to improve our friendship?”
  • “How will we let each other know about our physical and emotional needs?”
  • “How will we handle jealousy, resentment, or competition toward one another?”
  • “How will we handle fights and bring them to a healthy resolution?”
  • “How will we communicate and ‘check-in’ with each other daily?”
  • “What is the most important thing to us about our relationship?”

If less than half your answers match your partner’s, you could use more dialogue. Which areas do you agree and disagree with? Can you form a compromise on the areas of different opinion? Find one aspect of your relationship where you and your partner share similar goals and discuss how you can both work toward it this year.

Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute and editor for The Gottman Relationship Blog.