Most of us are relieved to have survived 2011, and while we can check the holidays off for another year, the final chore is due by midnight of December 31: your New Year’s resolutions. So to make things easy, here is a pre-fab list that you both can do to keep close in 2012 (and don’t forget to seal the deal with a kiss at midnight):
Plan a date night at least once a month. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just an hour or two to get out of the house and spend quality time together. That can be in the form of eating, walking or taking a scenic drive. It’s important to dedicate time to each other, where there are no distractions but just one-on-one time to re-bond after a busy holiday season.
Be forgiving. Stop holding mistakes or past disappointments over each others’ heads. 2012 is the year to let go of the baggage– forgive and forget– and make a vow to not bring it up again. And on the same note: apologize (meaningfully) once and then sincerely try not to do it again.
Kiss and tell. Talk about each other’s positive attributes. If you’ve ever felt dragged into a complaining conversation, or it becomes a verbal competition between friends of whose spouse is worse…don’t let it suck you in. Talk each other up, focus on the things you love about your partner or what they do that makes you happy, and be respectful of what information you share. Imagine what you would want your partner to say about you if you were eavesdropping, or what they would think if they walked up behind you.
Start saving. Even when times are financially trying, you have to put a little money away for the future– whether that means buying a house, going on a long-awaited vacation, or finally fixing the leaky shower. Think of little things that you spend money on (coffee, fast food, cigarettes) and try to quit or cut back and put that money into a jar or envelope somewhere instead, or choose a dollar amount that you can put aside every pay day. When you get a flat tire and need a root canal in the same week, you will be grateful you have some cash.
It’s the little things in life. Do more of the little things– you know, the things that are free and go a long way to show your partner you care. Start their car to warm it up in the morning. Send a picture text of the neighbor’s cat asleep in the flower pot. Pick a flower from the side of the road. Greet your partner after a long day of work with a back massage. Do the little things you would do if you were still in that early dating honeymoon period. You know, the things that you used to do because you knew it would impress them and make them stick around.
Even if some people think it’s cheesy, New Year’s resoltions are a great tradition which gives everyone a time to evaluate the past year and figure out what they want to do to make themselves better the next year. So, think about the ways that you wanted to improve your relationship but didn’t get to put into action and make it happen this year! Marriages should never be taken for granted and so it’s important to make it a top priority.