Entering the Decade of Spice: New Year’s Resolutions for Couples

Many of us are in the habit of setting new intentions or resolutions for the New Year, or even throughout the year. But, we don’t usually think twice about setting new goals for our intimate partnerships. This is a mistake, and here’s why.

At this stage of life, we become consumed with every other thing in our lives—career, kids, friends—that we forget about nurturing our relationship. This is arguably the most important, and dare I say, the longest-lasting relationship of our entire life. So, nurturing this relationship is incredibly important.

New Year’s Resolutions for Couples: Create Deeper Emotional Connection

When couples come to see me, I focus on one main relationship goal: increasing emotional connection. That can be accomplished by 1) developing a positive perspective of your partner, and 2) engaging in regular conversations. Here are my specific suggestions for you and your significant other for the new year:

Create a couple’s vision board. I wrote about vision boards in another post, but why not create one for you and your partner? Research shows that couples who dream together are happier, and vision boards are nothing more than dreams! (Be sure to read that other post to know exactly how to create a vision board; it’s so much fun!)

Have 20-minute conversations. Every day, have the intention of spending just 20 minutes of uninterrupted, kid-free time with your partner. No television, no phone, and no other distractions. Just you, your partner, and the space between you. Appreciate the silence, get used to being in each other’s space. 

Every day, do or think just one thing that helps you get focused on what it is you want to manifest or see in your relationship.

Develop a positive perspective. As with all of life, the energy you put into something is the energy you receive from that thing. Putting positive focus onto your relationship and partner creates a space where you feel more attracted to, in love with, and happy about the relationship you have. This is what it means to create a positive perspective. Here is a one-week example:

  • Monday: List one characteristic you find endearing about your partner.
  • Tuesday: Remember a romantic time you’ve had with your partner and write a paragraph about it. 
  • Wednesday: Think about one physical attribute you like about your partner.
  • Thursday: Write about one time you and your partner weathered a difficult time together. 
  • Friday: Write about the first time you met, and how that felt.

Have deeper conversations. Get to know your partner by asking deeper, more thought-provoking questions. Several years ago, the New York Times published an article entitled “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love,” and in it, it details a study by Arthur Aron who said that falling in love is easy if you know the right questions to ask. In my office, I have card decks and worksheets that help couples get talking. Believe or not, the biggest obstacle I find as a couple’s therapist is that partners just stop having conversations over time. I recommend buying a card deck to help guide you through some heartfelt conversations, like these:

Enjoy the New Year a little bit more by using these strategies and strengthening your relationship with these New Year’s resolutions for couples!

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan
Jennifer Slingerland Ryan knows a thing or two about kids and families. First, she knows they are joyous, exhilarating, loving and so darn fun. Second, she knows they suck your life dry and make you weep like a baby. By day she’s a psychotherapist; by night she’s a mom and wife. She claims to love therapizing couples, educating parents, reading dystopian fiction and sleeping in her free time (read: she never sleeps). Jennifer is a mom of twins who are sweet as sugar, but just hit that tween stage so all bets are off. Her youngest is...a joy. Let's just stop there. Most days you can find her in her office seeing clients, doing laundry, loading or unloading the dishwasher, or catching up on the latest episode of Real Housewives of (Insert City Here), Walking Dead or This Is Us. She is a tree-hugging country girl from West Texas who reads, writes, and teaches about human development and families as a hobby and profession. You can read more from Jennifer at her therapy blog, ichoosechange.com