New year, new couple. That's right: In between setting new year's resolutions for yourselves, you can use the new year as an excuse to boost your bond.
As Lesli Doares, marriage coach and Blueprint For A Happy Marriage, explains, "The new year is a time for resets and focusing on the possibilities the future holds to make things different."
With that reset, "what better time could there be for a couple to recommit to their relationship, to making it stronger, closer, and more satisfying?" asks relationship coach and psychotherapist Toni Coleman. So, with that in mind, here are six easy steps to help any couple do just that this year.
1. Identify what areas could use improvement.
The new year is a time to look back on the last year and celebrate what worked in your relationship — and what didn't, says Doares. But when you point out problems, don't complain. Instead, "make specific requests for what you would like," she says. "This gives each of you action steps and make it more likely the change will happen."
2. Make a commitment to better communication.
This year, make a commitment to one another that you'll really listen to each other. What does that look like? "Make an effort to listen deeply and validate one another's feelings and thoughts, regardless of any differences that may exist between you," advises Coleman. "Good communication is a hallmark of happy relationships."
3. Share your individual goals for the upcoming year.
You'll surely make resolutions for yourself, but the key to keeping them may just be your spouse, says Doares. "Your relationship should both support and be supported by what you each want," she says. "You can then intentionally make decisions and choose behaviors that create the life you both desire. Being on the same page and actively making room for each other is a key to a strong, healthy relationship."
4. Commit to complimenting one another.
If you worry that you take each other for granted, now's the time to promise you won't do that this year. "Resolve to note at least one thing every day that you each love or appreciates about your partner," suggests Coleman. "Too often we only take time to express frustration, disappointment, annoyance. Therefore, expressing how your partner makes your day better is a great relationship booster."
5. Plan for good times.
Take out a calendar and mark down specific time you'll spend together — whether a casual night in or a romantic weekend away — throughout the year, says Doares. "You don’t have to decide what to do or where to go," she says, "but having it on the calendar increases the chance it will happen. Making time for each other keeps your daily routine from taking over and diminishes the chance that you'll grow apart."
6. Build in time every day to check in with one another.
In addition to planning for time together, decide how you can work it into the every day, "to say, 'I'm thinking of you,' share a little information, a funny story, or anything that can help you feel more connected," says Coleman. "It's so easy for couples to drift apart as they move through their overly booked lives. Too often they tell themselves they will find time for one another 'later,' and later never comes."