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As you pledge to share your lives together, it feels natural to make romantic resolutions: We'll never get angry at one another. We'll have sex seven times a week. We'll always split chores down the middle.
Yet much like New Year's resolutions, romantic resolutions may be hard to keep in day-to-day reality. It's admirable to set a roadmap for your life together. But steer away from the inclination to attempt the impossible-to-maintain as — wait for it! — there will be weeks when you won't feel like having sex every day. Instead, try something that downgrades the pressure such as, "Physical intimacy will be an ongoing important part of our relationship." Here, real married couples reveal how they managed to keep their relationship promises long after the honeymoon.
Resolutions as Reminders to Stay Focused.
When Tiffany Mason and her husband married, their resolutions were part of the wedding vows. "We said things like, 'We always place our marriage as top priority."
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These 'precedents' as she calls them were born from exposure to what might happen if clear-cut rules were not put in place. Two years in, their precedents are framed and hung on the bedroom wall! Tiffany explains, "Establishing these resolutions have helped us stay focused on our values. Looking at the vows on a daily basis reminds us of our commitment to one another."
Launa Schweizer and her husband also included resolutions in their wedding vows such as: "I promise to be married to you every day" and "I promise to grow and change with you."
Fourteen years in, the middle school teacher and author explains that resolutions born in idealism might eventually need tweaking. "Some of our vows have remained absolute constants but others such as — 'I promise not to make your life easy, but more meaningful' — don't work any more. Two demanding jobs and two kids later we decided it no longer makes sense to push each other to great heights. We defaulted to making things easy." She finishes, "Life is a whole lot nicer."
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.