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The New Year’s Resolution Spouses Should Still Make

new years res blog editNo excuses on this one. It’s not too late for you and your spouse to make a New Year’s Resolution. If your annual New Year’s Resolution is to not make one, make an exception this year. If you think you have already made enough/too many resolutions, I promise you there is room for this one, too – and it just may be the only one you actually keep!

It is an amazingly simple concept that has been chatted about over the past couple of years. You may have heard it referred to as “The Jar.” But it could just as correctly be called The Can, The Box,  or The Cool Pottery Bowl. My husband, Steve, and I gave it a try in 2015, and enjoyed the result so much it will now be an annual tradition!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Grab the container of your choice and set it in a place where you will both see it often.
  2. When something of note occurs – your spouse gets a raise, you accomplish a new goal, a dear friend shows up for a surprise visit – jot it down on a slip of paper with the date and drop it into the container.
  3. Celebrate at year end by grabbing your favorite festive beverage, and take turns pulling notes out of the container to read to each other. In other words, remind yourselves of the highlights of the past year and the meaningful moments you might have otherwise forgotten!

The New Year's Resolution Spouses Should Still MakeAs we sat down to read on New Year’s Eve, I knew I’d find notes summarizing the wonderful visit we had with my folks in Florida, the articles I’d published, the award my husband received, the visitors we’d enjoyed, as well as a few challenges we’d encountered. But I’d forgotten so much! Like the night we had friends over for cards and one silly joke had the four of us doubled over with laughter, eyes streaming (which, of course, had Steve and I laughing all over again!) And the special day we had spent with Steve’s mother – one where signs of her dementia were minimal. And the movie that sparked a conversation between us that we would not have otherwise had.

I have to admit that Steve wasn’t as enthusiastic about the project as I was back in January of last year. But, he loves me – so he humors me on such things. However, after the enjoyable note-reading session that had us chuckling, quietly remembering, chatting about progress made and plans to come, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of those notes with his handwriting on them as we celebrate our next New Year’s Eve!

While it would be pretty hard to screw up “The Jar” resolution, here’s a few tips that we found made it work:

  • Keep the container in a place where it’s easy to get to and you both see it often. Out-of-sight really is out-of-mind in this case.
  • While any container will work, of course, I liked using the clear jar because existing notes served as reminders to write others and  I could see the memories adding up.
  • Avoid paper and pen hunts by keeping a pen and a mini notepad right in the container.

The New Year's Resolution Spouses Should Still MakeAn unexpected benefit of the project was the mindfulness we developed about looking out for special moments in our daily lives. As the year moved on, we actually referred to having “a jar moment,” said “there’s one for the jar,” and had friends ask us if an outing we enjoyed together was “going to make the jar.” While it took only seconds at a time to do throughout the months, we ended our year with a lasting gratitude as we unfolded and read reminders of a year filled with blessings.

What other New Year Resolution could you make that cost no money, takes almost no time, and has such an uplifting result??

 Here’s wishing you and your spouse a year filled with wonderful moments that “make the jar!”


7 Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary When You Have More LOVE Than MONEY

7 Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary When You Have More LOVE than MONEYAnniversary celebrations can be romantic, fun, meaningful – or all three – without your bank account taking a hit! Whether you are experiencing lean times, saving funds for a common goal, or just enjoy the challenge of finding frugal festivities, there are plenty of options for your celebration. So if you have more love than money to commemorate this year’s anniversary, here’s some ideas to help put the “Happy” in the “Happy Anniversary!”

1. Put together a time capsule. Spend some time getting creative about a collection of things that represent your years together. The silly knit cap you were gifted, a treasured pet toy, the Cracker Jack prize you’ve kept all this time, that concert T-shirt – nothing’s off limits! You can go traditional and bury your treasures in a waterproof container to be dug up in the agreed upon number of years. Or wrap up your package and add a gift tag designating when it’s to be opened – put it in the attic or other location where it won’t be underfoot, but it also won’t be forgotten. This could turn into an annual tradition – every year you could dig up/unwrap your capsule and add a new treasure or two to represent your ongoing marital journey. BONUS: You have already created a future low-cost anniversary celebration.

2. Have a celebratory breakfast. A Belgian Waffle splurge will still come in substantially under what a dinner out would cost. BONUS: It’s a great way to start out your special day!

3. Go retro. Activities from your youth such as bowling, indoor ice skating, roller skating, or visiting a video arcade are easy on the wallet and great for generating memories. BONUS: Any sore muscles developed as a result of your blast-from-the-past activity could lead to an anniversary-extending massage!

4. Try out that upscale restaurant. But skip the dinner! Get yourselves dressed up and enjoy a leisurely-paced appetizer or two followed up with a grand-finale dessert! BONUS: You get to test-drive the wares and make an informed decision as to whether or not you’d even want to invest in a main course for a future splurge.

5. Head to the zoo. Now when was the last time you did that? There’s probably new features and animals that you’ve never even heard of. BONUS: the goofy selfies with the giraffe towering behind or the expressive photo-bombing monkey included are great Facebook fodder as well as souvenirs.

6. Rent THAT movie. You know – the one you saw at the theater when you were dating? This time you’ll be able to hold hands without worrying about if your palms are getting sweaty! BONUS: If sparks start to fly, you don’t have to mess with that romance-delaying drive home!

7. Write a love letter to your spouse. Whether it is your gift to your mate, or you each write one to trade, writing a  a love letter to your spouse  is a true treasure. BONUS: It is a portable, irreplaceable gift that has the power to keep on giving!



10 New Year’s Resolutions for Couples (without using the word ‘weight’)

New Year's Resolutions for CouplesNo matter how many challenges you are looking at or how many you conquered in the past year, 2014 is going to be a good year. It is a decision we can make right now. We can’t control everything in our lives, but we can control our choices. Let’s choose a fun way to improve our lives and our marriages by working with our mates to make this one of our best years ever! Here are 10 New Year’s Resolutions for you and your spouse to take on together – and none of them include the word “weight”!

1. Thank your mate daily. If a server at a restaurant fills our coffee, we probably automatically say “thank you.” But do we do the same at home? It’s so easy to forget to express appreciation for what is routine. If you get through the day and there hasn’t been a single incident – a door held open, a scoot over on the couch to make room for you, a kind word said – for you to say ‘thank you’ for, get creative. “Thanks for your great smile.” You keep this up and you will find yourself going through the day looking for something to express appreciation about.

2. Make each greeting a positive one. Trade in the morning grunt for a smile and ‘good morning.’ Avoid walking in the door from work and immediately announcing what a crappy day you had or letting your mate know they forgot to bring the trash can up from the curb. If those things need to be said at all, they can certainly wait until you’ve given your mate a hug, a smile and a kind word.

3. Have a technology free dinner at least once a week. Maybe tech-free Tuesday? A night where you sit down with each other and food and talk during your meal. No TV, no phone (as in off so that you’re not distracted by the all-important ‘you’ve got mail’ ping), no computer, nothing with earbuds. The one exception might be something that plays soft, mood-enhancing music in the background.

4. Do something new together once a month. Whether it’s taking a one-time class on something of interest, going to a restaurant you haven’t tried before, or something more dramatic, change things up a bit. A couple who tries new things together is a couple that has new things to talk about with each other.

5. Take the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. Whether it’s your first time taking the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge (click here to check it out), or it went so well last year that you want to make it an annual event, it’s a great way stay focused on what is positive and good about each other.

6. Make new friends with an established  couple. If you are fortunate enough to have some wonderful friends, it gets easy to stay in our comfort zone and not continue to grow. And many of us don’t even have couple friends that we can just hang out with. With all the dating sites, it’s probably easier to find true love than another couple that you’re compatible with. But once you find a good fit, the rewards are worth the effort. (I’ll have an upcoming post with suggestions to help you accomplish this goal.)

7. Add one new healthy habit to your routine. This is not about the ‘w’ word – it’s about doing something good for yourselves. Something you’ve probably talked about doing for eons. Well, now make it a plan. Meatless Mondays? Try a new vegetable each month? Fish on Friday? Habits are only behaviors that we have done so often they become routine.

8. Surprise your mate at least once a month. We’re not talking elaborate, expensive surprises. Just fun little actions that say “You’re Special” in a new way. Click here for 5 suggestions (each one free!) to get you started.

9. Compliment your mate at least once a week. This is different than saying ‘thank you.’ This is a recognition of something personal about them. An aspect of their appearance, their sense of style, the efforts they expend, the positive aspects of their nature are all rich opportunities for praise. Make sure it’s not a backhanded compliment – as in “you have great hair – which would look even better if . . . ”

10. Kiss more. I don’t mean increase the number of obligatory pecks we exchange coming and going. I’m talking about the more expansive I-really-love you kisses. If I were a doctor I could speak to all the health benefits I’ve read about that result from kissing our spouses more often. But since I’m not, I’ll just tell you that it feels really good and has been known to produce surprised smiles, wobbly knees, and other fun stuff!



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