Resolutions to Make for a Better Relationship in 2019
Making couples resolutions with a partner can help you stick to your promises and can also strengthen your relationship. This list of the best New Year’s resolutions-for-two will help you ring the New Year in right, and keep your relationship strong’ all year long. Include one (or all!) of these relationship resolutions in your 2019 goals:
FOCUS ON FINDING THE GOOD:
It’s no secret that optimism and gratitude make for a happy life, but they make for a happy relationship, too. While it’s incredibly easy to notice and vocalize what your partner does wrong (forgot what you said about your meeting last week, make corny jokes, not unload the dishwasher, again), this leads to resentment and unhappiness on both sides.
When you find yourself thinking about your partner’s flaws and shortcomings, try to reframe negative thoughts with what you love about them and what they do to make your life better and happier (i.e., brought you flowers when you got that promotion, is a lot of fun when you go out, or walks the dog every morning). Every day, think of at least one thing you’re grateful for in your partner to reframe your mind to start noticing the good.
Plan more dates:
A date should be any time the two of you get quality time alone, whether it’s dinner and a movie or a walk to your local coffee shop in the morning. For the record, it does not mean watching TV before falling asleep or eating dinner while you’re on your phones. Schedule a date and take it seriously — even if you’re tired after the kids go to bed or short on money, commit to making quality time a priority. This could mean sitting down to a homemade dinner (and putting away phones!), or going on a picnic in the park. Aim for a specific number (once every week or two), and schedule it into your calendars so it can’t be pushed back or forgotten.
Set your own career and life goals to achieve together:
Build common goals together, whether it’s financial (down payment on a house), or wellness (put away screens an hour before bed). Even if you don’t work together, and prefer to keep your personal and career life separate, you can still hold each other accountable to reach career goals you know you want to accomplish. Making goals for your life together or sharing your personal goals will feel like you’re on a team, and you’ll both feel more supported.
Try something you both haven’t done before:
Get out of that relationship rut — try rock climbing, take a pottery class, or just check out the new Thai restaurant down the street instead of your usual Italian take-out. Getting a little adventurous makes the relationship feel fresh and new, and trying new things with your significant other will help you learn more about them. Not to mention it will make for great stories and inside jokes later on when you mess up your ceramic vase or get food poisoning from the Spicy Thai Basil Chicken.
Plan a trip:
Maybe your relationship is on the newer side and this would be the first trip together, or maybe you’ve been together for years and have trouble getting a babysitter (or dogsitter) longer than a few hours, much less overnight. But if you can make it work, scheduling a trip could be a game-changer for your relationship. Getting out of your comfort zone together and spending an extended amount of quality time will make you feel more connected than ever. If overnight isn’t an option, try a day trip to a nearby beach, theme park, or landmark. The idea is to spend a longer amount of time together than your typical dinner date, and get into a totally new setting.
Actually tell them what you want:
When you’re hurt or disappointed, sometimes it’s worse to ask for what you want, because you want them to just know. Or maybe we don’t want to come off as high maintenance or needy. But the truth is that no one can read minds, no matter how long you’ve known each other. If your partner is worth keeping, they’ll want to do what they can to make you happy. That doesn’t mean they’ll always just know how to do it. Whether it’s your sex life, how you want to be loved, or the help you need around the house, work on communicating exactly what you want from them, and listen when they communicate with you.
Make your partner laugh more:
You’ve heard it before — laughter is the best medicine. But it’s also the key ingredient to friendship, and friendship is the key ingredient of a relationship. Basically, laughter is the solution to just about anything. In fact, laughter is proven to be more about bonding social relationships than about humor. Laughing together makes you feel closer. So instead of always telling your funniest jokes to your coworkers around the water cooler, save some for your partner, or watch your favorite comedy together.
Do a digital detox:
Do you spend dates sending text messages to other people or scrolling through Instagram instead of talking? Let’s just say it can’t be helping with your bond. Focus more on your emotional connection than your WiFi connection — put away the phone when you’re spending quality time, and set boundaries for limiting phone use when you’re together.
Change your argument language:
The way you speak has a huge impact on everything from the closeness in your relationship to the way the two of you communicate. When you’re articulating something you’re mad about, always use “I feel” instead of “You did.” Focus on why you felt hurt, instead of what they did to make you feel that way. Say, “I feel like you don’t appreciate all that I do because I worked hard on a dinner that you came home late for,” instead of “You messed up because you’re late.”
Say “I understand” when making a point, and acknowledge their defense instead of ignoring it or feeling put off. Always remember that the fight should be the two of you against the problem, not the two of you against each other. The goal should be how to avoid the problem in the future, not who was right about the problem in the past.