It’s that time of year again: the time for reflection and resolutions. We all think about the best movies and music of the last year, so why not review our marriages too?
It’s time to talk about the highs, lows, and in-betweens before we kiss the year goodbye!
If you’re like most couples, your marriage has improved in some areas and slacked off in some areas—maybe without your even realizing it.
Below are three major areas you should assess when evaluating the state of your union this year.
YOUR MARRIAGE HEALTH
It can be challenging to make the time for fitness, but we all know that regular exercise leads to improved mood, better sleep, and more energy . . . all things you bring home to your mate. How did you do this year? Whether you work out separately or together, staying fit never fails to pay dividends in your marriage. Check out these seven reasons regular exercise is worth your time.
Saying “yes” to improving your marriage often means saying “no” to other things in your life. Learning how to say this small-but-significant word in a clear, firm, and kind way can help you prevent burn-out! Be aware of your tendency to over-commit your partner when you accept additional responsibility yourself. What obligations or hobbies do you need to release this year so you can pick up some new, exciting, or more meaningful things as a couple?
Having fun isn’t just for kids! Finding enjoyable activities to do together brings levity and joy into your marriage and helps take the edge off your daily grind. Did you laugh a lot this year? The Bible tells us that “There is a time for everything under the sun”, including dancing and laughing (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4), making it important from a faith perspective too.
Did you grow in your faith this year? Connecting with your core beliefs is one way to keep yourself grounded and true to your values. Whether you walk this journey alone or in conjunction with your spouse, consider where your spiritual walk is leading and share this with your partner so they can walk beside you. Commit your plans to God, pray for your marriage, and remain in a spirit of anticipation about all that awaits you as you enter the new year.
[Use our Relationship Report Card to the right to grade yourselves in these and a few additional areas!]
YOUR SOCIAL SECTOR
Regular time spent with supportive friends allows you to “do life” with others and create memories that you’ll cherish as a couple for life. Friends provide a tangible and intangible safety net (and a necessary reality check on occasion). Couple friends are also important to a happy marriage and strengthen your own partnership. What friendships do you enjoy most as a couple? Are there individuals or couples who bring you down? What new connections would you like to make next year?
Relationships with extended family members often get tricky, especially when they have clashing personalities or divergent values. Identifying how these relationships impact your marriage is an important part of completing your annual relationship assessment. Do you need to set new or different boundaries with family? And don’t forget your own family too, which can feel disconnected amid busy schedules and changing plans. How can you and your spouse make your own home environment more peaceful or predictable?
Taking stock of how full or empty your piggy bank is at the end of the year can help you create a realistic budget for the new one! Spending and saving habits are best viewed from a big-picture perspective and there are many tools that can help you do this. Scripture reminds us that God gives us what we have and instructs us to properly steward what He has given us (Luke 14: 28-30). Talk about what is most important for each of you in the areas of saving, spending, and investing and put your plan in writing so you can gauge your progress throughout the year. (If you’re engaged and need to learn more about your fiancee’s financial habits and preferences, use our article here: https://www.marriagemojo.com/the-premarital-money-interview-top-10/).
Like most couples, you probably had goals for this year that just didn’t materialize. These can include those perky house projects like re-painting your bedroom, organizing your closets, or starting a garden in the back yard. Pat yourselves on the back for what you DID achieve this year, then sort through any outstanding projects left undone and determine which ones you want to eliminate and which ones deserve to roll over onto next year’s list. Knocking them out together will give you a real sense of accomplishment as a couple!
After recounting all the things – good and bad – this last year has held, what dreams do you have for the future? When you think of your relationship in five years, what does that look like and what do you need to do within the next year to get there? Let your mind run wild and do some daydreaming with your mate. You might be surprised and delighted at what you hear and what lies in store.
Taking a 360-degree look at your marriage is challenging but also rewarding. If you find some chinks in your armor and would like help to get back on track, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. We specialize in taking marriages from “better or worse” to “better and better”!
[If you enjoyed this article, use our Relationship Report Card to the right for additional areas and a way to grade yourselves.]
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