Posted on 01/08/2018

Keep Your Relationship Resolutions [5 Tips]

Keep Your Relationship Resolutions  [5 Tips]

If your goals for 2018 include improving your relationship, we have tips from some of the experts here at Marriage Friendly Therapists to help you succeed.

Research shows that setting goals which are specific and attainable– rather than vague, sweeping changes – makes you much more likely to achieve your goals. When aiming for the nebulous goal of improving your relationship, it can be easier to measure actions rather than progress; specific behaviors will keep you moving on the path toward building a meaningful relationship full of intimacy.

The good news is that even if you don’t quite hit the target, just striving for an improved relationship will increase your feeling of fulfillment. Even small changes won’t go unnoticed by your partner and can have a profound effect on the satisfaction that you find in your relationship.

As you think about these tips from relationship experts, keep in mind that goals should not be about what you ‘should do’ but about what works for you and your partner. Have a frank, honest discussion together about how each of these tips can be tailored to your own situation.


Relationship Goals


  • Schedule Time Together – we know, your relationship is a priority and you intend to invest time in it this year. But trust us: put it on your schedule. If time devoted to reconnecting with your partner is not on the calendar, it will be devoured by the scourge of busyness.

Camie Vincent, a licensed professional counselor in Alpharetta, Georgia, advises, “Set aside time every day to relax and talk. Put the phone away and make sure you're ‘fully present’. Ask your partner about their day but be sure to ask open-ended questions so they don't reply with the standard, ‘fine’. Talk to them about their dreams, things that inspire them, or ideas they would be interested in trying.”date night idea

Think of specific ways to fit this important time to reconnect into your schedule.

What will it look like for you? When you come home at the end of the day? After the kids are in bed? Over coffee in the morning? Set a reasonable amount of time and carve it out of your schedule. Plan for how it will impact other areas of your life.



  • Tame the Technology – your phone is not invited to the conversation. It’s important that your time to bond be as free from distractions as possible. Make the time you spend with your loved ones an exception in our constantly connected world.date night idea

Make a conscious decision to not only look up from your phone, but silence and then put it away. Don’t be afraid to remove yourself from the distraction of constant notifications and be present – the world will keep spinning, take the time you need for genuine connection.


  • An Attitude of Gratitude – Researchers have found a strong correlation between gratitude and greater levels of happiness. Your relationships particularly can benefit from focusing on the positive.

Camie Vincent shares, “Pay attention to the little things your partner does or what you love about them and let them know! Most people are really good at pointing out what their mate does wrong, or what needs improvement and don't appreciate and share, everything they do right.”

Look for ways to compliment rather than criticize and have an idea of the approach that works best for date night ideayou. If words of appreciation don’t come easily to you, take a moment to compose your thoughts on a quick note.


  • Rethink Date Night – is it time to give date night an overhaul? If you’re a foodie, a meal out at a restaurant may sound like your idea of heaven; but for others, it may be a draining experience without much joy. Remember that a date with your partner is about time alone to take a break from your responsibilities and be playful together - whatever that means for you.

    We have some great ideas on our Pinterest board to inspire you with creative ways to have fun together. Pick a few that appeal to you and put them on your calendar.



  • Read a Book – Researchers in the area of relationships have made significant strides in understanding the behaviors and emotional skills that strengthen your bond (and those that can weaken). Use these tools to better understand the ups and downs that all relationships face and the best path through them to find a fulfilling relationship that stands the test of time.

We recommend The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman and Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson.

 

Remember that the key is to choose a goal that isn’t too big, too vague, or too far outside of your control. Think of specific ways that these tips can fit with your life and personalities.

Remember too that setbacks are bound to happen. Some days your best-laid plans just won’t work out – and that’s okay. A willingness to be flexible and make tweaks when the time or activity you’ve planned isn’t working will keep you on the road to success. Don’t let challenges detract from your efforts and your relationship will emerge stronger for it.

If you find that your relationship could benefit from some professional help, use our search feature to find a counselor in your area for a boost in the right direction.

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