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FRESH START: The Best (and Balanced) New Year’s Resolutions for Your Marriage

You partied with your honey, watched the ball drop, and rang in the New Year together.

Now it’s time to gin up some new resolutions as a couple.  As you capitalize on the momentum each new year creates, check out these ways to create more BALANCE in your marriage.

Engage in More – or Fewer – Activities

Some of you reached the end of last year in a heap of exhaustion after trying to please everyone else and taking on way too much.  Use the new year as a fresh start to scrub the list of your ongoing commitments and make sure it’s reasonable.

If you don’t see enough on this list to hold your interest, brainstorm some new ideas as a couple.  Is there a cooking class you’ve always wanted to try?  A book you’d like to digest and discuss?  This is an ideal time to start new hobbies and grow together as you refine what fits you as a couple.

Be More – or Less – Social

Because it seems that extroverts always marry introverts, there are often lively discussions in marriage about whether there is too much or too little time spent with extended family and friends.  Can you relate?

If you find yourselves out of touch with each other and spend a lot of time with family, make the decision to cut back and schedule more 1:1 time with your spouse.  If you get push-back (which you should expect), stick to your guns and refuse to feel badly about creating healthy new boundaries for yourselves.

And—I’m sorry to break it to you—but this includes the kiddoes too.  If you’re in the stage where your children are small and you feel like you can’t get away, commit to finding a great sitter and taking regular time outs with your spouse.  Don’t fall into the pattern of constantly putting your children first and your marriage last.  Your kids will eventually fly from the nest and you will want to have a strong and vibrant marriage—then, as always.

Friends can also be a sticking point, especially if you haven’t yet found “couple” friends you both like who support your marriage.  In every great relationship, there is room for both individual friends and friends you enjoy together but resist the temptation to make all your dates double-dates.

Being “social” these days also means being online, which can be a real kill-joy in your marriage!  Instead of mindlessly scrolling your feed this weekend, take a walk with your partner, breathe some fresh air, and see what new things you can spot in your corner of the world.

Have More – or Less – Conflict

Having more conflict, on the surface, sounds crazy but it could be exactly what your marriage needs if you’re the type who holds back and is afraid to express your feelings when disagreements arise.  Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not the presence of conflict but how you manage it when it arises that determines the impact on your marriage.

If you need to practice speaking up, start by raising an issue you’d like to resolve when things are going well and then ask for five minutes of silence from your partner while you express your thoughts.  Then return the favor and listen fully to all they’d like to share.  Focused listening makes your spouse feel loved, heard, and supported.  You may be surprised at how far you get.

On the other hand, if you’re stuck in a pattern of sniping and discord, work on putting some issues to bed by expressing empathy, keeping your conversation above-the-belt, coming up with concrete actions you’ll each take, or finally agreeing to compromise on something you both feel strongly about.

(If you struggle in this area or would like to enhance communication patterns that have become deeply-entrenched in your marriage, we’re here for you.  Hint: it’s one of our specialties)!

Give Yourselves a Grade

Have you tried out our Relationship Report Card yet?  (If not, just look to the right to grab your own copy)!

This is the perfect place to start when assessing strengths growth zones in your marriage.  And don’t be shy: we ALL have them!  Giving yourselves an honest grade in each area will allow you to quickly identify those you want to focus on as a team in the year ahead.

Lastly, for those of you who set resolutions every year but never seem to keep them, check out our post, “Focus on Results: Crush the Excuses that are Limiting Your Marriage (part 2)” in which I outline the ways circumstances, ego, and scarcity get in the way of achieving your goals and discuss ways you can keep your eyes on the prize when challenges arise.

We’re stoked to hear about your new goals and encourage you to prioritize BALANCE as you make them.  Stay committed, focused, and, most importantly, supportive of your spouse while implementing new habits. We’re here to cheer you on as you cross the finish line!

 

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