Every year, Americans make resolutions to improve their lives for the better. Some are easy to keep while others are a challenge for people. For example, people who vow to quit smoking might have a difficult time.
Couples should make an effort to keep their resolution to have a happier marriage. Reading My Marriage Manual is a good place to begin to keep the resolution. Here are some other options for couples for new year resolutions and happier marriages.
- Volunteer throughout the year together. Although people want to help others during Christmas season, many of these organizations need help throughout the year. Couples can build their respect for each other and help those less fortunate by volunteering together for causes they both favor.
- Cook together for date night. Although eating Chinese food and watching a movie on the couch could be nice, it would add pounds. You could make your date night special by finding healthy recipes and cooking together. Then, you could eat it and walk briefly after dinner. If you have not ever done date night, try adding it.
- Exercise together. Often, people don’t keep their weight-loss resolutions and goals because they don’t want to be alone when they exercise. Couples who exercise together share a bond and shed pounds. They encourage each other and get healthy together.
- Get intimate. Busy lives often mean that intimacy takes a back seat. You should make sexual acts a priority. Find the time to reconnect with your partner in some way. If the sex has become routine, put some energy into figuring out how to make it exciting again. Try a new position, try role-playing or do it somewhere other than the bedroom.
- Avoid conflicts. My book talks about being a skunk and a turtle when dealing with arguments. Find out how to communicate with your spouse effectively. You have to listen attentively to have a happy marriage. You also want to avoid those small backbiting comments can erode the foundation of your relationship over time. Pick your battles. When you sense a fight coming, ask whether it is important enough to disturb the peace in the household.
- Strive for emotional honesty. I talk about this issue of communication in my book too. You want to use words, such as “I feel …” instead of “You make me feel …” You also don’t want to discredit those feelings of your spouse. After all, blaming each other causes nothing but woes for both. Talk about the negative feelings and let them go.
- Turn off technology. Don’t let computers, tablets, smart phones and television sets come between you and your spouse. Schedule time with all electronics in the off position to sit and discuss family issues. This advice also works for parents and children.
- Don’t take spouse for granted. Often, we treat our spouse differently from our friends. We believe they are with us for the long term. We tend to take them for granted. Take action to change this behavior but remember that these behaviors don’t change overnight. Keep going and soon the changes will be come routine.
- Listen attentively. When your spouse is talking, sit near him or her and listen to his or her tale. Ask questions. Active listening is one of the best things you can do for your marriage. Although it is a difficult skill to learn, it is worth the effort.
- Focus on the good. Praise often. Thank your spouse. Criticize less. Think about reasons why you married your partner and continually let him or her know.
Although these resolutions are meant for couples, other relationships can benefit from these resolutions. For example, many of the ideas can help parents have better relationships with children and colleagues get along with co-workers. If your relationships need help repairing, you can talk with a therapist who is willing to mend fractured relationships and healing the brokenhearted.