Typically, when you think of making a resolution for the New Year, it’s “get in shape” or “exercise more.”
It’s also not unheard of to make a financial resolution, such as saving more money. And, of course, there is always the standby of quitting something, such as cigarettes or alcohol.
However, have you ever considered making a resolution to improve your relationship in the coming year?
Even if you think that you have a pretty strong relationship, why not make 2019 the year you double-down to make it even stronger.
Consider these ideas.
1. Be Kinder and More Compassionate to One Another
We could all do a better job of being kinder and more compassionate to each other.
Think about it for a moment. Was there a time this past year when you could have been better at showing empathy and grace towards your partner? Did you miss the signals that they were sending out that they needed your sympathy and understanding?
These moments happen to us all, even relationship experts!
However, just because you missed those opportunities doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Recognize that when you feel your heart harden towards your partner, that might be a time to consider choosing kindness. Also consider that it may not be too late to say, “Hey, I was thinking about that time recently when you (insert thing they did) and I realized you might have needed (insert a more compassionate response) from me instead, and I’m sorry I didn’t realize it at the time.”
It doesn’t have to be a grand affair either. Something as simple as a smile, a hug, or just saying “I love you” from the heart goes a long way.
2. Spend More Quality Time Together
Another resolution for 2019 to improve your relationship could be spending more quality time together.
Let’s face it, you and your partner may be really busy people. Both of you may work, have commitments, need to keep schedules, etc. And, of course, when there are children in the picture, you may have very little time to each other. Plus, when you finally reach the sofa at the end of a long day, you might find yourself just zoning out on your phone rather than taking time to actually connect with your partner.
Yet, it’s still important to spend quality time with one another.
It could be as simple as chatting together over coffee in the morning or taking an evening stroll. Whatever it is, spending time together is critically important for not just communication—it’s also an opportunity to show kindness and compassion to one another.
3. Have More Quality Experiences
A great way to improve your relationship with each other in the new year is having more quality experiences. Often couples get stuck in the routine of daily life, especially when the demands of work and family take a toll, and the idea of “coming up with” new experiences can seem low on the list of priorities.
When you do things together that are fun, enjoyable, and satisfying, however, you strengthen the bonds of your relationship. So, take turns coming up with ideas and be open to new experiences. Perhaps, your partner would like to go hiking on a nearby trail. Or you’d like to attend the new musical production at the theater.
Be creative and go for it!
4. Recognize When You Need a Break
One of the more common problems, when couples get into arguments, is that they go too far. One person says something hurtful which is returned by the other partner until things escalate.
That’s why it’s helpful to recognize when each of you needs to take a break and step away from the situation. Even better, identify what triggers you both to even “go there.”
Then, when you do feel that anger begin to rise, make efforts to step away from the situation and agree to a time when both of you can return to the discussion. Consistently applying this tool will help prevent small disagreements from becoming something much more damaging to your relationship.
5. Improve Your Relationship by Listening…Really Listening
If there is just one New Year’s Resolution that you should definitely make for 2019 it's to listen more.
Not just superficial listening!
Intently and mindfully listen to your partner when they speak. Allow yourself to take in and empathize with what they are trying to communicate, rather than planning your response before they’ve even finished speaking. Once you’ve really heard them, use reflective listening by summarizing what they have said as you understand it, and give them an opportunity to clarify anything you may have misinterpreted.
Listening seems like such a simple thing to do, and you may even feel you already do it. However, everyone can improve when it comes to this skill and it can have a dramatic impact on a wide range of relationships in your life.
What better time is there than the new year to make a resolution to improve your relationship? Use the aforementioned ideas as a starting point to come up with your own relationships resolutions and set aside 2019 as the year when you made your relationship a priority.
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