This guest article from Psych Central was written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
As you’re creating your resolutions for 2012, don’t forget about your relationship. Making goals together can greatly improve your relationship in the New Year.
Even if you don’t adopt these goals, take some time to consider your relationship priorities and values and figure out what goals you’d like to set as a couple.
1. Every day spend 10 minutes chatting with your partner.
Days can fly by without couples having any meaningful conversation. Orbuch suggested “talking to your partner about anything under the sun, except kids, work, household responsibilities, or your relationship.” The goal is to get to know each other, she said. Be creative and have fun with your talk, she added.
2. Thank your partner daily.
Do you remember the last time you thanked your partner? Expressing gratitude shows your partner that you value them. You can express gratitude by complimenting your partner, such as “You’re so handsome;” “Good morning, gorgeous;” “You’re the best dad/mom,” Orbuch said. Or you can give thanks by taking action. Orbuch suggested everything from making your partner’s favorite dessert to gassing up their car to texting them to sending a thank-you card in the mail.
3. Ditch technology during dinner at least once a week.
Tuning into technology, whether it’s your cell phone, computer or MP3 player, means tuning out from your partner. This prevents you from fully focusing on and enjoying each other’s company. As Orbuch explained, “This meal is just for the two of you to focus on each other and ask each other questions about the day, week, or goals for the future.”
4. Sweat or get scared together once a week.
Arousal-producing activities are known for perking up relationships. According to Orbuch’s research, chemicals linked to fear or exercise are similar to the chemicals that promote sexual arousal. “Rent a scary movie, ride a roller coaster, go to the gym together, or find another activity that causes your adrenaline to surge,” Orbuch said.
5. Designate a night when you don’t cook.
If you’re already tired, cooking and cleaning can potentially ruin a romantic evening. So Orbuch suggested keeping it simple by getting takeout. This way you can focus all your attention on each other.
6. Try a brand-new activity once a month.
Doing new activities together helps jolt couples out of a stale routine. Another plus is that it can feel like a first date, Orbuch said. For instance, you might try eating at a new restaurant, visiting a museum you haven’t been to or taking a cooking or dance class, Orbuch said.
7. Take turns planning time together.
“Reciprocity is a great way to strengthen your emotional connection,” Orbuch said. This also helps couples get out of a rut, especially if one partner tends to make all the plans. You can have each partner write down a date idea and swap notes, Orbuch said.