As the new year is upon us, if you're like most folks, you see this as a time to make some changes. All sorts of resolutions tend to be made about how to improve yourself, from weight loss to better self care. These are all great ideas! As a relationship expert, I think it's also an opportunity to take stock of your partnership and see if it needs some tweaking.
In reality, I know that most relationships get stuck in a rut from time to time. After all, there's so much going on: finances, kids, pressured jobs, outside stress... well, life! If actively working on fixing your trouble spots seems like a lot of work, you might wonder, "How can I possibly add one more thing to the list?"
The truth is, the health of your relationship is vital. By doing simple and small things, you can make sure it survives and thrives. And the best part is that you can do all of these things yourself, on your on time. Of course, since you're already stressed to the max, I've got suggestions. Want to learn how to revitalize your relationship in the new year? Read on!
1. Initiate change
Though you don't have the right to change your partner, based on Action/Reaction ™, the way you act will have an impact on the way your mate reacts. At any given moment, you have the power to change the way things are going between the two of you. Do something simple like raise your head and smile when he or she walks in the room. The message you're sending is "You matter to me." Something as little as this small gesture can make a big difference.
2. Use technology.
Since you likely send texts to friends, co-workers and family throughout the day, why not send one to your mate while you're at it? It won't take lots of time to let him or her know you're looking forward to reuniting that evening. This is the "2014 version" of the notes you used to leave each other when you were first dating, and will have the same effect. Remember how cared for you felt when you received a note in a surprise place? An unexpected text can have the same result!
3. Date night.
The two of you really do deserve and need to spend time with each other. Even a little private time that's inexpensive will do the trick. Here are a couple of concrete examples: Set up 15 minutes to either eat pizza by candlelight or put on music and dance. The whole idea is to make this time about the two of you — no talking about problems, money, or kids. To make sure you keep the date, put it on your calendars like you would any other important event. (By the way, showing the kids the idea of Mommy-Daddy time as an important part of relationships is a great thing to model.)
4. Talk about your mate.
Lots of research indicates that offering support for your partner is important. It's also good to show appreciation. An easy way to do both is to tell someone in earshot of your mate something really positive about your other half. This can be either a trait or something your partner did that impressed you. It will give your partner the warm fuzzies to feel like they hit a home run with you.
5. Random acts.
Though schedules are busy and it's hard to add anything extra on to the list, be mindful of things your partner generally does — and do it instead. This can be really easy: take out the garbage, do an errand, bring home a dessert when you're at the supermarket anyway.
Sometimes, you need a little extra help. But, as I said... I get that energy, time, and money may stand in the way of getting it. So, one more suggestion to help. I've launched a site, www.MakeYourMarriageWorkNow.com to provide you with tools to common marital concerns plus monthly access to me for Q&A. I have no doubt that for mere pennies a day in the comfort of your own home, you will really be able to make a change in your relationship! I do hope you check it out.
The bottom line is any change starts by being aware that something has to be different. Though change can be hard, taking a small step can truly lead to the wonderful relationship you desire!
Wishing all of you the very best Empowered relationship in 2014!
More relationship expert advice: