With 2018 right around the corner, it's the perfect time to reassess your romantic relationship. With a few simple relationship New Year's resolutions, you can recharge your relationship and start the year fresh. After all, even though you may think everything's great between you and your partner, every relationship can benefit from some recharging every now and then. For instance, if you think back to this past year with your significant other, you can probably think of some examples of relating to one another that you could have handled differently.
"Many people make New Year's resolutions that typically include personal goals or intentions, but making couple's resolutions can be beneficial to a relationship, too," Rachel Needle, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist in West Palm Beach, FL, tells Bustle. "Making relationship resolutions in and of itself shows you are prioritizing the relationship. Relationships take energy, attention, and work. Couples benefit from constantly reevaluating their relationships and finding ways to strengthen them. Couple's New Year's resolutions are a great way to begin the new year, committing to connection, strengthening your relationship, and overall relationship satisfaction."
Like Dr. Needle says, couples will benefit from making relationship resolutions and strengthening their connection. That said, here are some easy-to-do relationship resolutions for you and your significant other to try in the new year.
1"We Will Do Meaningful Things Together"
When it comes to hobbies and free-time activities, do you and your significant other do them together, or separately? To strengthen your relationship connection, Dr. Needle recommends choosing an activity to do together. "Come up with something that is important to you both, and participate in a meaningful activity together," Dr. Needle tells Bustle. "Volunteer together, help others out. Spending time giving back can create a deeper connection and can strengthen your bond with your partner. It can allow you to grow together, have a new view of your partner, and bring you closer."
2"We Will Learn Something New Together"
In addition to doing something meaningful together as a couple, like volunteering, Dr. Needle also suggests learning something new together. "Take a class, learn a new language, try something different together — this can help strengthen your relationship bond," she says. "Plus, doing something regularly can give you something to look forward to as a couple."
3"We Will Be More Present With Each Other"
How many couples do you see out to dinner, yet they're typing into their phones instead of talking to each other? Personally, I'm a big fan of taking technology breaks together, as I quit texting a few years ago and it's life-changing (i.e., it makes you more present, have more in-person conversations, etc.). "Take technology breaks and spend undistracted time together," Dr. Needle says. "As a society, we are constantly distracted by our technology gadgets. Put your phone and computer away, and turn off the TV! Be present, don't multi-task, and give your partner your full attention to allow for a deeper connection and to create more meaningful moments together."
Shlomo Zalman Bregman, Rabbi, matchmaker, and relationship expert, agrees with Dr. Needle about being more present with your partner. "When you've been with someone for a while, it's easy to fall into a rut and an unhealthy routine," Rabbi Bergman tells Bustle. "Go back to how you probably treated them at the beginning of the relationship. When you are with them, make sure ALL of you is there! That means put down your cell phone, stop texting, emailing, and doing 23 other things while they are talking to you — whether in person or on the phone. Life moves fast, and we don't always have the ability to add more 'quantity' to our time with our significant other. So we should at least add more 'quality' in the form of presence."
4"We Will Communicate More, Not Just 'Talk'"
Similar to Dr. Needle's suggestion above — less technology, more talking — Rabbi Bregman recommends taking the talking to a different level. Because, when you think about it, when it comes to talking to your partner, do you talk to talk, or do you truly listen and have a healthy back-and-forth? "Couples may talk all the time, but I believe 'communication' connotes a concerted effort to have one's beliefs, thoughts, and feelings conveyed to another person," Rabbi Bregman tells Bustle. "This creates a greater understanding and connection and, ultimately, an enhanced relationship. So, do you two 'talk' or ‘communicate'? If you are able to truly communicate on a regular basis, this is an excellent sign that your relationship will make it over the long haul, in the new year and beyond!"
5"We Will Continue To Prioritize Sex"
When you're dating someone for a long time, sex may wane, and you may wonder how to keep the spark and romance alive. "Sexual satisfaction contributes to overall quality of life," Dr. Needle says. "If it doesn't happen spontaneously, that's OK, but be sure to plan time to engage in sexual activity with each other and write it in pen in your datebook. There is a myth that sex should be spontaneous, but life can get busy and things can get in the way of being physically intimate with your partner. Planning ahead can build anticipation and excitement — prioritizing intimacy and scheduling time together can maintain the health of the relationship."
6"We Will Focus On More Win-Win Scenarios"
Even though arguing is a natural part of relationships, including romantic ones, it's often about how you and your partner argue, and how you resolve your disagreements and arguments. "Many times, we run into relationship trouble and friction with our partners because of selfishness," Rabbi Bregman says. "Specifically, when we find we are unable to move forward past fights, it's because one or both partners is focused on zero-sum solutions. If you want a more harmonious relationship in 2018, seek to move past speed bumps by crafting win-win solutions to your friction."
7"We Will Not Be Passive-Aggressive"
At some point, you maybe passive-aggressive toward your partner instead of just telling them what's on your mind. "Passive-aggressiveness in relationships is huge — it's not the best way to communicate problems," Dr. Suzana Flores, clinical psychologist and author of Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives, tells Bustle. "If someone's being passive-aggressive and you ask what's wrong and they're negating it, obviously you two have communication issues. The foundation of a good relationship is to be able to talk to someone, about anything and everything. The more you can talk to each other, the more likely you'll trust each other and be able to confide in each other, and without being passive-aggressive."
8"We Will Have Regular Check-Ins About Our Relationship"
Sometimes, you may think everything in your relationship is going well, but your partner may not — though he or she also may not say anything. To make sure you're both in sync, you can have check-ins. "I encourage couples to check in with each other on a regular basis, typically weekly," Jeffrey Sumber, Psychotherapist and Author of Renew Your Wows: Seven Powerful Tools to Ignite the Spark and Transform Your Relationship, tells Bustle. "It's not only an opportunity to see whether things are going amazingly or if someone's struggling, but it's also an opportunity to offer appreciation for one another on a regular basis and express what you each need." Sumber also has an exercise, The Check-In Dialogue, that walks you through doing check-ins with each other, whether you decide to do them weekly or monthly.
As long as you set a regular time and date to do some sort of check in, that's all that matters, and then you'll see how they benefit your relationship.
9"We Will Remember To Have Fun Together"
As a relationship becomes routine, sometimes the fun lessens, too. "At the beginning of a relationship, when things are new and exciting, we often have a lot of fun with our partner," Dr. Needle says. "When people get comfortable in their relationships and all of life's other factors (stress, family, children, etc.) come into the picture, the fun and play tend to fade. However, it is important to continue to play and have fun together. For instance, try new things and be silly together — it will keep you happier and more satisfied.
As you can see, the above relationship resolutions seem simple enough and definitely worth a try. Although no relationship is perfect, there *are* ways to revamp your relationship to make it more communicative, fun, and exciting. #RelationshipGoals, right?