As the holiday season wraps and the New Year begins, about 50 percent of the U.S. population sets a New Year’s resolution. But by Valentine’s Day, the vast majority calls it quits on these promises. How can you succeed? Making New Year’s resolutions collectively with your partner can help you commit to both the resolution and, more importantly, each other.
Here are eleven New Year’s resolutions for couples aimed to strengthen the relationship! Together, resolve to:
1. COMMIT TO A REGULAR DATE NIGHT
Date night is important for all relationships. According to a study published by the University of Virginia, couples with a regular date night routine achieved higher levels of communication, sexual satisfaction and commitment. Bottom-line: Twosomes are happier and more connected when they spend quality time together.
2. CLEARLY COMMUNICATE
Unless your partner is a mind-reader, your better half doesn’t always know what you’re thinking, wanting, needing, etc. Honest communication is key to a relationship and without it, your bond will surely fade. Some couples commit to eating dinner together every night to debrief on the day and life in general. Others schedule routine check-ins to revisit what’s happening with one another. Figure out what you need – whether formal or informal – and make it happen.
3. POWER DOWN TO TUNE IN
The best present is to be present! In today’s digital age, smartphones can be a distraction and, thus, a romance killer. In 2016, Time magazine published “How Your Smartphone is Ruining Your Relationship” and this article revealed that people who felt that their partners were overly dependent on their devices were less satisfied with their relationship. Yikes!
Recently, a friend admitted to me that, every night, she and her husband both scroll through their phones beside each other on the couch. The visual of them sitting so close literally but being so far figuratively seemed like an unfortunate (and avoidable) miss to me. They’re tuned into their electronics and not into each other. Sure, I get that on some days you just want to relax and skim Facebook, but that shouldn’t replace more meaningful engagement on a daily basis with your most important ‘friend.’ Are you guilty of this too? Make an effort to power down to up your connection. At-home date nights are the perfect alternative, like chatting over a cheese plate and wine or laughing over board games.
4. BREAK BAD HABITS
If you’re interested in setting a traditional New Year’s resolution, such as eating better or exercising more, ask your partner to be part of the plan. You are more likely to succeed if you’re on the same page; plus, telling your love that you want him/her to be healthy is a win too, right? Commit to making healthier meals together rather than ordering a pizza. And, you can have fun burning calories far from the gym. Think date night recreation, like taking a bike ride, going for a scenic hike or stocking up on fresh produce at the farmers market.
5. BECOME PENNY PINCHERS
Saving for date night or vacations can be challenging. Each week, toss extra change or dollar bills into your date night jar to have at the ready. Sure, it may not cover all expenses but it’ll help, right? Bonus: your wallet won’t be weighed down by coins.
6. FIGHT FAIR
Disagreements are normal. But be sure to fight fair. During an argument, stick to the issue at hand and don’t bring up irrelevant problems from the past. They won’t help resolve the present conflict and could even make your scuffle escalate.
7. SAY YOU’RE SORRY
So you want to be right. Yes, but at what cost? You don’t always have to fold of course, but think about what you really gain from being the tough one. I’ve tried to step up my game with apologies. The words “I’m sorry” are powerful. Yes, it can be challenging to swallow your pride and vocalize those two small words, but the end result is big time for your relationship.
8. BE OK WITH PDA
No, you don’t need to engage in full-on make-out sessions all the time, but physical contact is impactful. Squeeze his hand, kiss her forehand, rub her back and snag other tender touches often.
9. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELVES
You’re not single, but it’s still totally fine to crave independence when needed. Perhaps that personal investment helps your relationship too. For example, I schedule solo runs to benefit my mind, body and soul. Missing it can make me cranky and, as a result, my overall mood affects my partner.
10. LISTEN INTENTLY
Sometimes people just want to be heard. In an argument, for example, I don’t necessarily need my partner to agree with me or change his opinion to match mine. But, I do appreciate him hearing me out and, when possible, acknowledging that he can see my point (even if he feels differently). Also, when I’m venting, I don’t necessarily want my partner to solve my problems but rather listen and validate their feelings. Every now and then I just need to let it all out and have my honey withhold his gut reaction to offer a quick fix. Don’t you agree? The act of listening is meaningful.
11. WRITE LOVE NOTES
Actions speak louder than words, but the written word does speak volumes. Stash simple but sweet love memos in unexpected places. For example, stick a note in her shoe that says, “I can’t wait to take the next step with you” or, beside his watch, leave “I love spending time with you.” If you prefer to text, send unsolicited compliments like “You are the best kisser!”
Nancy DeVault is the managing editor of Date Night Guide and a contributor to publications such as Babble, AmeriDisability Services Magazine and Orlando Magazine. She enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband and toddler.