If you want a healthier year in your relationship, you need to start with clear intentions. Without a clear vision- how can you know where you're going?
I outlined 15 of the intentions I wish more of my couples kept in focus throughout the year to help you and your love stay close and connected all year long.
1. Express gratitude openly
If you do nothing else, saying thank you (with feeling) more often will strengthen your connection. The more specific you can be the better. Try "I love that I can always count on your to take out the trash, you are super reliable with that." instead of "thanks for helping with the house."
Seriously, this one tiny practice has turned around so many of my couples in the last seven years. Just set a few minutes aside to share some gratitude with your sweetie each day. Try it tonight!
2. Give them the benefit of the doubt
When we've got resentment building we start assuming we know what goes through our partners' head- and we assume the worst. But the more we assume without asking the further the distance grows between us.
When they don't respond we think "they never listen" (or worse) instead of "they must not have heard me." Increase the kindness in your relationship by starting with a baseline of trust and goodwill- challenge yourself to give them the benefit of the doubt.
3. Invest in your friendships
Being good friends with your partner is a really good thing. Friendship is a strong foundation for relationship success. But having your partner as your only source of support increases the pressure on your partnership.
Strengthen your relationship by creating a wider circle of support. Invest in each of your individual friendships for your (and your relationship's) well-being this year.
4. Move your body
Regular movement is key to happiness. Get out for a walk, try a new sport, or take your sweetie dancing. Your relationship will be better for it.
5. Be fully present for your kisses
When a relationship begins we usually give our full presence and attention to our sweetheart- but over time we start getting lazy. Practice presence by giving your kisses the full attention they deserve this year.
6. Say I love you
Apologize for the mistakes you've made or the hurts you've caused. Acknowledge your behavior and the impact you made on your sweetheart. Create a plan to do things differently next time- and then follow through.
8. Let them off the hook
Is there something you are still holding on to that you need to let go? Take a breath and wish it well as you move into the future with your sweetie. Let them off the hook.
9. Forgive yourself
Now that you've apologized, let yourself off the hook. Forgive yourself for making mistakes- it's only human. Move forward without the weight of that worry.
10. Try something new
Sit down and make a relationship bucket list- all the things you dream of doing together. And then start checking it off. Ther's plenty to do together to keep things fresh.
11. Offer support
Challenge yourself to offer help more often this year. Ask your partner what you can do to make their life easier. Then follow through.
12. Share your dreams
Couples who dream together make their dreams reality. Share your dreams and big ideas, brainstorm, and get their support. Make shared dreaming a part of your weekly date night.
Go somewhere new- a new park, a different restaurant, another country together this year. Learning and adventuring together makes couples stronger. Start now.
14. Prioritize self-care
You cannot love well if you are not well. Couples who report satisfaction in their relationships invest in self-care and support each other in taking good care of themselves. How can you support your partner's self-care this year?
15. Create a shared vision
Without a clear vision you can't move toward your dreams. Start future tripping together. Make a vision board of your future and get clear about what you want to be and who you want to be with each other.