When we think of New Year's resolutions, we so often think of goals that pertain to one's self, such as exercise, diet and personal goals. However, resolutions can also include relationship goals too. A healthy, strong relationship benefits not only each person in the couple, but the rest of the family and even the community too. Every couple has areas of growth, and there are some key choices that can lead to growth. One choice is to make a resolution to have fun together regularly. Even with young children, demanding jobs and bills to pay, there is always some time to carve out to have fun together! Is doesn't need to be expensive either. It could be tossing a frisbee in the park, going on a hike or picnic, or cooking together. When couples build up positive experiences together, there's more strength and energy to draw from when a setback, disappointment or disagreement happens.
Another positive resolution is to treat each other with kindness more often. Research shows that this is one the most important quality in a relationship. Everyone is human, and gets tired, stressed out, or frustrated, but how we communicate our feelings to one another is a choice. Choose to communicate kindly by expressing needs and feelings from a perspective of "I" as opposed to "you," as in "you don't.... or you always..." One tool I often use with couples is "The Five Love Languages." This is a relatively simple tool that highlights what leaves a person feeling most loved by their partner. For some, it is hugs and kisses more often. For others it's verbal appreciation or kind actions. Everyone is different, but knowing what helps your partner feel the most loved can go a long way is enhancing the quality of the relationship. With genuine effort and flexibility on both sides, relationships can grow and change in positive ways that you never expected!