Traditionally, New Year’s Resolutions tend to focus on yourself. Health goals, weight loss goals, even sleep goals are all great! But what about your relationship with your partner?
If you have young children you may be struggling to find the time to connect with one another like you used to.
Or perhaps your children are now getting older, and more independent. You suddenly have time for each other again but don’t know how to reconnect.
Make these New Year’s resolutions for couples and help keep the spark alive.
What is the most important relationship in a family?
If anyone asked us this question we would say ‘the relationship between a parent and child of course’.
Right? Well…maybe. Our children come first and we do everything we can to make them happy and give them the best opportunities in life.
However certain experts believe that the most important one is that between the parents. Or in the case of single parents, that parent’s own individual well-being.
Why? Because a child needs their parents, to be around, to be well and to be happy, to help them thrive. And the relationship between parents is one that we don’t always prioritise.
David Code, a family coach wrote a book in 2009 titled ‘Put Your Marriage Before Your Kids’. In it he says:
For many of today’s couples, the children are priority No. 1 one and marriage is priority No. 10 — and few of us make it past the top three priorities on our daily to-do list.
Between demanding jobs, busy everyday lives, and giving our children every possible attention, there is little time for parents to maintain their own relationship.
Parents, (whether in a relationship or not) are the glue that hold the family together. Without them the family unit doesn’t work.
So this is more than enough reason to prioritise your relationship and your own well-being too.
Make a resolution to bring yourselves and your relationship back to the top of the pile of priorities this New Year!
Set healthy boundaries
Children can take over all aspects of our lives from climbing into our beds at night to insisting they come into the toilet with us. We love them for it but sometimes it can make us feel overwhelmed.
If you’re feeling like you need just a little space, set some boundaries for yourselves.
It could be as simple as setting an hour a week of ‘quiet time’.
Organize the kids with engaging activities. Either get a trusted family member or take in turns to supervise them.
For 1 hour they know not to bother mom or dad for that time. Even if they know you’re in the next room.
You get a little time to talk or just relax.
Later on you can spend some one on one quality time with the kids. When you’re feeling recharged and ready to enjoy it.
Head out just the two of you
It might be a night away or just a dinner out. Leave the kids with a trusted babysitter and enjoy the time together.
It can give the two of you time to be alone. To sit and talk like you used to. You can even finish a sentence!
You could make date nights a regular event. Plan them out for once a week or once a month. Just for the two of you, doing something you both enjoy.
Be as kind to your partner as you are to your friends
It’s easy to end up taking each other for granted. Ask yourself if you speak to or treat your partner the same way that you do to your friends.
If you would never speak to your friends that way, then vow to change this year.
Treat your partner with the same kindness and understanding as you do your friends.
Start the day with THE question
Each day ask your partner:
What can I do today to make your day a little easier?
It might be something as small as making them a cuppa before you leave for work.
Or picking up ingredients for dinner. Asking shows you care and that you’re working as a team.
Plan to do something new every month
Novelty keeps the spark alive. This year plan to do something new each month.
It can be a small thing or a big plan. With the kids, or without.
It can be visiting a new city, trying a new restaurant, learning a new skill.
It’s all about adding something new together to your day to day.
Carve out more ‘me-time’
This might not seem like it’s a great resolution for couples, but ‘me-time’ is essential. Especially for parents.
When you’re running around after little ones, ‘me-time’ can end up being the last thing on your list.
However, keeping up with your own interest and hobbies can keep the spark alive in your relationship.
You both get an outlet, away from the day to day life of busy parenting and you both have a passion to share.
Dr. Nikki Goldstein, sexologist and relationship expert, said:
Me-time can make you a happier person and, therefore, an easier person to be in a relationship with. Not to mention, this happiness can also transfer to your partner. Dr. Nikki Goldstein
It’s a win-win.
Sex still matters
We all know that once the kids come along sex takes a bit of a back seat.
When exhausted parents can choose between sleep or sex, sleep wins every time. But, before you know it, your sex life can dwindle.
You miss out on that intimacy that made you stronger as a couple.
This year find ways to have more sex. Or, at least more intimacy through a massage or just lying down together.
It might lead to sex, or it might just make you both feel closer to each other. Some ideas to sneak in that romantic time are:
- Go to bed early once the kids are in bed.
- Sneak off at nap times on the weekends.
- Get a trusted babysitter to take over on weekend mornings so you can lie in together.
However you do it, remember sex matters too.
Put down your phones more often
Is ‘phubbing’ harming your relationship? Never heard of it?
It’s a term that means snubbing someone because you’re ignoring someone to look at your phone.
If it bugs you, you’re not alone. Many studies have found that it’s getting in the way of relationships.
This year vow to put down your phones and connect more.
Couples who laugh together stay together
Research done by the University of Kansas have found that this is in fact true!
Playfulness and inside jokes can make your relationship stronger. It can help you overcome the everyday stresses and can add excitement to couples.
Professor Hall who headed up the research said:
If you share a sense of what’s funny, it affirms you and affirms your relationship through laughter. Professor Hall
Research found that couples who made jokes together, were more likely to last.
So remember to make time, just for a laugh.
Have a PDA (Private Display of Affection) every day
Remember when you first got together and couldn’t keep your hands off each other?
When you would hold hands whenever you walked down the street. When you snuggled close on the sofa.
It’s easy for long term couples to stop touching each other over time. Especially when you throw in kids and sleep deprivation.
An easy way to get back into the habit is to vow to touch each other every time you watch TV.
Hold hands, cuddle up and kiss whenever you’re together watching Netflix.
Plan to have one Private Display of Affection every day.
Let the little things go
Anyone in a long term relationship knows how those little things you both do, start to annoy each other. Especially when you’re exhausted.
Those little things can send you over the edge and start arguments.
The way he never empties the dishwasher. The way you leave wet towels on the floor.
They make you mad but more than that, over time, they can start to erode your relationship.
So next time you feel yourself losing your rag over something small, stop and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.
Have a talk about the little things you both do that drive one another mad. Vow to make an effort to not do them as often.
Say ‘I love you’ more often
Each and every day. Like you mean it. Because you do.
Promise to do more of the little things
It’s not always about big romantic gestures. Sometimes it’s the little things that make us feel loved and valued.
Think of small ways you can spoil your partner that are quick and easy to do. And vow to do them. Often.
They might include sending texts throughout the day, writing each other little notes.
It could be picking flowers to brighten your partner’s day or bringing home their favourite treat.
Take after dinner walks together
This one depends on how old your kids are and whether you can leave them alone for half an hour or so.
But, if you have tweens or teens, taking an evening walk together can be a real way to find time to connect.
You can talk, hold hands and just be a couple.
If you’ve got little kids, whenever you can get a babysitter or trusted family member to stay for a little, take a walk together too.
It’s amazing how much you talk as you walk.
Kiss good night no matter what
Whether it’s been a tough day when you’ve hardly found any time together.
Whether you’re so tired you just want to hit the pillow.
End each night with a kiss.
New Year is a time when we make new promises and resolutions. By vowing to put your relationship first you’re taking great steps to make it better.
May it bring you a happier New Year as a couple and as a family.
Happy New Year everyone!
- ‘Phubbing’ Is Hurting Your Relationships. Here’s What It Is – Time
- ‘My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners’ – Science Direct
- 18 New Year’s Resolutions Every Married Couple Should Make Together – Brides
- In a family, parents’ relationship comes first, Parentguru
- Stop Putting Your Kids First – HuffPost
- Couples who laugh together DO stay together! – Mail Online
- How Laughter Improves Your Relationship, Because LOLing Is Like Taking A Mini Spa Day For Your Emotions – Bustle