A new year is almost upon us, can you believe it? Now is the time of the year that I like to advise others to take a look at how the past year has gone, especially if you are in a relationship. Take a look at what went well between you and your partner. Think about the things that you could have done differently in your relationship and use your resolutions for the new year as a stepping stone to improve yourself and your relationship. To get started, ask yourself the following questions:
- How have I grown in my relationship?
- What are some of the areas in my life, and in my relationship, that I am unhappy about?
- When I look back a year from now, what will I have wanted to change?
- What are some things in my relationship that I wish could have done differently or wish were different?
- Am I happy?
You may find, upon looking back at how the past year as gone, that you have had a crazy schedule and simply haven’t been able to give your relationship the time and attention it deserves. You may find that you and you partner haven’t been on the same page lately. You might even find that you have been more short-tempered and that there have been more instances of fighting in your relationship. Maybe you’ve noticed these things earlier in the year and have been making an effort to enhance the communication and sense of intimacy, but the relationship still just isn’t quite where you want to be.
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time for reflection. If you aren’t happy with your answers to the questions above, then now is a perfect time to start implementing changes in your life. Setting goals and resolutions is a great way to take control of your life and by starting them at the beginning of a new year, it allows you to visualize a timeline for implementing your goals. Having goals makes you accountable. By setting specific targets, you are able to easily see if you are on the right path. Keep reading for our 4 resolutions that will improve any relationship.
4 Ways to Revive Your Relationship During the New Year
The concepts listed below may seem simple but it is surprising how often they are neglected when we find ourselves busy with work, children, or just the humdrum of our day-to-day lives. Think of your relationship as a puzzle. When every piece is in its place, then everything works. When your relationship is strong, there is nothing that can stand in your way. But try to leave out a piece, no matter how small that piece may be, and it just doesn’t work right. These seemingly small ways will make a great impact on your relationship.
1) Practice gratitude. At Solid Foundations Therapy, we are huge proponents of expressing gratitude. We constantly encourage our clients to identify what they appreciate about their partners and actually share those things with their partner. When relationships are in distress, it can be so easy to focus on the negative. By focusing on the negative, we often dismiss the good things that are happening which results in us feeling even worse about the relationship.
By expressing gratitude toward your partner, you are validating the importance of them in your life. It’s a way to grow that feeling of love and tenderness between the two of you, showing them that you appreciate the things they do and the efforts that they make. Knowing that someone is grateful for you, or something that you’ve done, just simply makes you feel good.
Look for the little things that you can thank your partner for – maybe it is something as simple as your loved one picking up your favorite candy bar when they stop into a gas station or leaving the porch light on when they know you won’t be home until after dark. Brag on your partner to friends and family. Write your partner a small note or send a text with a compliment. You can even make it a habit at the end of the night to share a few things you are grateful for with each other.
2) Include more play in your interactions. Sharing laughter and being playful increases our connection to one another. It helps to reduce our stress, allows us to relax, and gives us a break from our daily commitments.
Give yourself permission to just let go and be goofy together – don’t let your self-consciousness get in the way. Play a favorite game together. If you’re lucky enough to get snow, build a snowman or have a snowball fight. Flirt (with each other) on a regular basis. Try out a new activity together.
3) Be more affectionate. A lack of affection in a relationship can decrease how connected we feel with our partner. Once we fall out of the habit of showing affection, it can feel awkward to begin again and over time, our ability to show affection fades completely. This is damaging to a relationship because even the smallest gestures of affection can result in us feeling closer, more united in a relationship.
Regardless of how long it’s been since you’ve shown your partner affection, make it a point to start being more affectionate today. You can start simple to make it easier. Plus I find the the simpler actions are the ones that are easiest to maintain when busy.
Hold your partner’s hand or make sure your legs are touching when you sit on the couch. Give your partner a hug or a brief kiss every time you leave for the day or come home. Touch their arm or shoulder as you walk by. These small acts will make your partner feel wanted and paid attention to by you.
4) Take the time to rest together. Our society prides itself on being busy. We tend to run around like crazy, focused on checking things off of our to-do list that we treat like a badge of honor. If you aren’t focused on the next thing, the next task at hand, then you are considered lazy. But let’s face it, living life in a constant state of activity can be exhausting.
There is nothing wrong with taking the time to rest with your partner. Give yourself permission to have a “do-nothing” day (or even weekend) where you allow time to slow down and focus on the intimate moments together with your partner. A time when nothing HAS to get done and you don’t NEED to be anywhere specific by a certain time. Take this time to do the things that feel relaxing and will recharge you and your partner.
This could be anything ranging from watching a movie that you’ve been wanting to see, to snuggling on the couch, going for a walk, or even just having a meal together at your leisure.
If after all of this, you still find that your relationship is getting the short end of the stick and you are having a hard time connecting with your partner, Solid Foundations Therapy is here to help. We are here to help equip couples with the skills necessary to reduce conflict, regain intimacy, and improve connection. You don’t have to continue on in a relationship that is merely treading water. You can make real and lasting changes in your life.
Start improving your relationship now so that when you look back on your relationship at the end of next year, you will see that you really have really made a positive impact. Contact Solid Foundations Therapy today to set up an appointment.