The New Year means a fresh start and time for self-improvement, but it also means improving other areas of your life, like your relationship with your significant other. Here are 14 New Year's resolutions for couples who are determined to keep the flame burning all the way through 2016.
Every relationship faces its ups and downs, trials and tribulations. The key to making it through hard times is taking on challenges together and working toward the same end goal. Successful relationships are founded on fundamentals like communication and respect, but are also bolstered by things like making time for special activities and nurturing each other's individual growth.
Rather than compare your relationship to what you see in movies or your Facebook feed, hold it to your own standard. Relationships move at different paces and ebb and flow in different ways. You can't expect happiness by striving after an ideal set by someone else. Be candid with your partner about what you expect from the relationship, and what you need to be your very best with them. See challenges as obstacles to overcome to make your love stronger. Celebrate what makes your partnership unique and enduring.
Whether your current relationship is all butterflies and rainbows or you're not sure you'll last till Valentine's Day, if your shared objective is to make it through and make it better, these resolutions will help you along your way.
1. Work as a team
First and foremost, remember that you and your partner are a team. You're taking on the world together: their obstacles are yours to help fight and their achievements are yours to help celebrate. Stand by each other in hard times, and when your conflict is with each other, be open, honest, and work through it together. You both have the same end goal to be happy with one another and make the other happy, so remember this as you take on life's challenges.
2. Try new things together
A new year is a chance to try new things. Sharing the experience with someone, especially someone you love, makes it that much better. Try your hand at a painting class (even better, one that's BYOB) or sign up for some salsa lessons or an indoor rock climbing trial membership. You don't need to be discovering your next big hobby. You're simply exploring something novel you two can enjoy together.
3. Show interest in your partner's work and passions
You know you love and support your partner's life, but all too often we forget to show it. As we deal with our own personal drama, we don't always take the time to check in on our loved one and see how they're doing. Go beyond the simple "how was work today?" and get to talking about the deeper stuff. They may feel bad about spending time detailing their professional concerns or personal matters so they'll need that extra nudge to open up. Showing interest shows support. When you care about what they're dealing with in their life, you're communicating that you can be counted on in tough times and will always have their back.
4. Laugh together
Make laughing together a priority in your lives. Share funny stories that happened to you during the day or a particularly entertaining meme you found online. Go out to comedy shows together. Stream standup sessions on your laptop, and cozy up for a night of laughter from the comfort of your bed.
5. Have a morning routine
If you live with your partner, create a morning routine to make that time shared together each day a little more special. Take turns each day making each other breakfast. While one of you is cooking, the other can be getting both of your belongings ready for the day. Put on music and make an event of it, even if it's just cooking eggs and checking the weather.
6. Make time for intimacy
Even as you find yourselves falling into a routine, be sure to always make time for sex. If it doesn't occur as naturally as it used to, plan it out some nights with a playlist and candles but also let it happen spontaneously first thing in the morning. Don't let outside stresses or worries interfere with your sex life. Keep it interesting, try new things, and view comfortableness and compatibility (just not complacency) as a right of passage, not a rut.
7. Sweat together
In addition to a healthy sex life, keep active together with some physical activity. Go to the gym together, or if working out indoors isn't your thing, go on a bike ride or a run. You can even tie the activity in with a daytime date, like going on a run to a scenic destination or a food truck festival. You'll be able to motivate and push each other, and it will make the whole workout more fun.
8. Hang out with other couples
Go on double dates and triple dates with other couples. You'll learn more about each other interacting with other couples, and you'll all be able to playfully divulge your silly struggles and strifes. What you'll realize is that everyone goes through hard times, and that they can be overcome.
9. Tell each other you love each other often
It's just three words but we don't say them enough. Take a moment to say it unexpectedly when you're out getting groceries, walking the dog, or seeing each other for the first time after work. Say it spontaneously, and say it sincerely.
10. Have that special thing you two do
Nurture having your "thing." Maybe it's that you've gone all the way back to season one and indulge in an episode of SVU every night before falling asleep, no matter how late you two get home. Maybe it's a minor taco obsession and every time there's something to celebrate, you pick up tortillas and fixings on the way home and make it a taco night.
11. Be wary of social media
Social media can be treacherous territory when it comes to relationships. Suspicion, jealousy, and too much information can be the downfall if social media usage isn't curbed and conducted appropriately. If you and your partner have an unhealthy relationship with social media, focus on spending less time on your phones and more time interacting face to face. Don't fixate on their past life or prior partners that are accessible with just a couple of clicks. Also don't over-share your current situation online, either venting about the bad or playing up the good.
12. Find happiness outside the relationship
Make time for yourself apart from your relationship. Give each other space and room to grow as individuals as you grow as a couple. Continue to pursue the personal goals and interests you had prior to becoming an item. Make time for your friends and nurture those relationships as well. Your partner should be a part of your world, not be your world, and you'll value each other more if you allow yourselves to continue being strong independent individuals.
13. Create a date night
Once a week, set aside a special night to enjoy each other. This could mean going out to a new restaurant you both want to try, or staying in for a home cooked dinner by candlelight. Reserve this time for the two of you, and bar all rain checks.
14. Be weird together
Celebrate the quirks that make you two tick. Be yourselves in the most honest way when you're alone together. Embrace your wild side and be weird. Dance around naked while you're getting dressed in the morning. Have a '90s movie marathon and compete with each other impersonating the characters. Do whatever your thing is 100 percent.
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