5 Therapist-Approved New Year's Resolutions For Couples
If your romantic relationship got derailed this year, you are not alone. Many couples struggle to be in sync and prioritize their relationship in the hecticness of daily life, especially the longer you've been together. The good news is, the start of the new year is always a good time to refresh your optimism and efforts toward your romantic relationship. Here are five resolutions you can make as a couple to help recommit and breathe fresh life into your partnership:
1. Resolve to learn at least one new thing about each other.
Achieving longevity in a relationship is a major accomplishment. However, finding new things about your partner that keep you excited can become a challenge. Luckily, most people continue to grow and change in relationships. Even if you think you know your partner well, you may be surprised to discover subtle differences you may have missed. This year make it a point to learn about any new interests, dreams, or concerns your partner may have developed. Find ways to get involved in these parts of each other's lives that you haven't known much about yet.
2. Add a new couple to your social circle.
If your relationship routine feels stale, then it probably is. It's easy for couples to fall into a rut of frequenting the same hangouts, spending time with the same friends, or not including people in their social life at all. This year, make an effort to meet and befriend a new couple that can add another dimension to your relationship by sharing different experiences and ideas with you and your partner.
3. Add a new dimension to your sex life.
Once couples find a comfortable rhythm around sex, it's common to stop exploring in this area. However, if you and your partner have experienced less satisfaction, it can lead to stronger feelings of disconnection down the line. And even if you feel fairly satisfied with your sex life, you can never have too many ways to connect on a deeper level with your partner. This year, make an effort to read an article or book, take a massage class, or consider a new sexual position you'd like to try together. (Here are a few sexual resolutions couples can make together.)
4. Take one risk together.
The key to growth is stepping outside of your comfort zone. A great way to develop more intimacy in your relationship is to choose an area of your life that each of you would like to take a risk in and go for it. Allowing your partner to support you while you try something new can foster trust and confidence in each other as well as the relationship. Start small and work your way up to bigger challenges that require each other's support this year. Deeper trust equals increased intimacy.
5. Resolve to check in quarterly with your partner on your resolutions.
One of the most common pitfalls of making resolutions at the beginning of the year is losing steam along the way without a plan to regain momentum. This year, resolve to support each other differently by checking in every quarter on each other's resolutions (including the ones you're making individually, not just the couples resolutions!). Making a point to remind each other more frequently of important goals and to provide encouragement along the way will increase your chances of individual success and greater happiness as a couple.
Before you set your resolutions: Take inventory of what's working.
It's important to validate the areas of your relationship that are working before you create a new vision. Many couples begin to gloss over their strengths and focus on their deficits when they become disenchanted with each other. Take the time to get back in touch with the valuable contributions your partner makes and commit to showing appreciation for those things before rolling out a new plan.
Make sure you're both on board.
Committing to these couple resolutions can be a great way to reset as a couple, get back on the same page, and foster togetherness. Importantly though, goals work best when there's real, intrinsic motivation—and intrinsic motivation comes from within. If one of you is motivated to break from routine and step outside of your comfort zone and the other partner isn't, then it will be more difficult to get in sync with each other. Work to develop shared goals and interests. Making sure that you and your partner are prioritizing your relationship the same way will ensure a better return on your investment in the new year.
Weena Cullins, LCMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 15 years of experience working with individuals, couples, and families. Her clinical advice has been featured at NBC News, The Huffington Post, Insider, Redbook, and many more mainstream media publications.
Cullins speaks to local, national, and international audiences about relationships, money matters, parenting, and the role of spirituality in achieving your personal goals, and she serves as a moderator/facilitator for community-based panel discussions sponsored by local nonprofit organizations. She previously worked as an adjunct professor and clinical supervisor at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she obtained her master's degree in family studies, and she has intensive clinical training in working with trauma survivors. She uses empirically validated treatment modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy and emotion-focused therapy with her clients.