No matter how many challenges you are looking at or how many you conquered in the past year, 2019 is going to be a great 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 time 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.
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!
[…] –Family lawyer Shel offers 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Couples (without using the word ‘weight’). […]
Your suggests are always refreshing, Shel! We added something this year in the spirit of #7. We want to start family activities that promote life-long health. For example, we want to participate in fun runs/walks with the kids. Plus, we want to do some of these things–just the two of us.
Love it, Brandi! Happy New Year!
Great tips. We will have to implement some of these. I remember trying new restaurants. We’ll do that again someday!
I can help you with that one, Sheila – we can meet for lunch and compile a list!! Happy New Year!
I’ve been better about #1, probably inspired by your previous posts, but I shall focus on #9, too (while keeping the other 8 suggestions in mind, too). Thanks!
You’re very complimentary about your wonderful hub, Sonia – you’re probably doing better than you think on that one! Happy New Year!
Good stuff Shel
Thanks, Angela – Happy New Year!
love your ideas…keep them coming!
Thanks, Lin! I hope you have a Happy and blessed New Year!
Another excellent list of suggestions, Shel! Totally love that last line in #4. We recently started doing a few things that would fall under #7; always fun to work on something as a team! 🙂
You’re doing great on the health changes – working your plan! If I ever get on Twitter I’ll tweet that line from number 4!
Thanks for the ideas. I am going to start with the Gratitude Challenge. Might as well do one thing well. Some of the others we are already doing which is a good thing in itself!
I love that, Mutti – you’re committing to a big one! Based on your choice, my guess is that some of the ones you already have down pat are those that show appreciation for the other! Happy New Year!
I don’t know how you come up with this time after time. So happy to not read about weight loss, and so thankful for the positive reminders. Seems like these tips would work well in any relationship, including employee / employer. Thanks Shel!
I agree that some of these suggestions would make great resolutions in other relationships. But not the kissing. Employers and employees should definitely not be kissing! I’ve missed seeing you this holiday season, Gina – hope to catch up soon. Meanwhile, Happy New Year!
Great list, Shel! I like number 9, but for us, it’s every day that we compliment each other. It’s not a conscious effort, it just happens naturally. I have to add a number 11…watch Gone With the Wind together…I’m still trying. 🙂 I hope your recovery is going well. Happy New Year!
I am laughing aloud, Jill! Can you hear the snort! gasp! hahahahaha…!
I love that daily compliments are part of your norm, Jill. I believe that will be the end result for those who commit to complimenting their spouse on a regular basis. Gratitude breeds gratitude. With regard to GWTW, I actually agreed to watch it on the last night of my sister’s visit – until I found out it was 4 hours. FOUR HOURS!!! Maybe I’ll pick up the Cliff Notes. I hope your New Year is especially blessed, Jill!
Great tips, Shel. I especially liked #1 and #2. If we’re appreciative, the rest is so much easier.
I agree, Maria – the compliments and kissing will be a natural evolution!
I’m not sure how to do #6. We’re kind of different from each other, and we haven’t met anybody where we live that is a good couple for us to be “couple friends” with.
I agree, Luanne – finding good ‘couple friends’ is such a challenge. It’s hard enough to find good friends, let alone having four people who all connect well. Some years back, my husband and I moved from Michigan to Oklahoma for a job and knew no one. In addition to no family or friends, we didn’t go to church at that time and had no children to connect us with other school parents. We had never had to learn how to make friends because with 11 siblings between us, two sets of parents and our life-long buddies, our social life in Michigan was spelled out – and (in hindsight) very routine. As we developed the friend-making skill over the years, we spent more than one evening with ‘interesting’ people that we never became friends with. And we also learned that some of the most unlikely couples turned out to be a lot of fun. We met a couple once at church that neither of us thought: “Hey, they’d make great buddies!” The wife was very precise and proper and the husband could be described as ‘intellectual.’ Descriptions nobody would ever use for either me or my husband. A comment from one about enjoying a particular card game led to a spontaneous invite to get together and play. A lovely friendship was born. They were so different from us that the conversations were always interesting and informative. We, of course, found things over the years that we did, in fact, have in common. Then they moved out of state. We kept in touch for a couple of years after and naturally drifted apart as the main thing we had in common was fun evenings together in the past. Many other of our associations continue on. Whatever the duration, we enjoyed the diverse company. I plan to do a post on this in the near future because I know we’re not the only ones challenged by establishing such connections.