No matter how many challenges you are looking at or how many you conquered in the past year, 2018 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.
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!