Making relationship resolutions can be tough. There is still time if you think your partner is worth it.
We make New Year’s resolutions for every part of our life, why not for our intimate relationship? Somehow that escapes our notice, maybe because it is so close and all-encompassing that we take it for granted, and it slips by our awareness.
What does catch our attention, according to a study out of the University of Scranton, is listed below.
The top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2015 are:
1) Lose weight
2) Getting organized
3) Spend less, save more
4) Enjoy life to the fullest
5) Staying fit and healthy
6) Learn something exciting
7) Quit smoking
8) Help others in their dreams
9) Fall in love
10) Spend more time with family
Do you see anything about improving your relationship or marriage? Nope. Neither do I.
But, if we create a resolution for the relationship that focuses on our partner, we will encompass a number of items from the above list. By focusing on our intimate other and creating a better relationship, we encompass item number four – enjoying life more.
Learning something new and exciting about our partner might be the result of a resolution focused on the relationship (number six).
Item number eight could occur by supporting our partner in their dreams. Heck, we might even fall in love again (number nine) as we spend more time with our beloved. And, as our partner is part of the family, we hit criteria for number ten.
As you can see, by making one resolution regarding your intimate other, you can incorporate five items from the top ten list. Now there’s a good return on investment.
Seeing as having a good relationship with your partner is considered one of the major factors for enjoying life and good health, I say it is high time we included our spouses in the New Year’s resolution process.
To this end, here are my resolutions concerning my wife. This is not a long list as I would rather succeed than be overwhelmed. Also, using the SMART strategy for goal setting, our resolutions should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
For example, if you say I want to make love more this year, you may achieve your goal and make out ONE more time than last year. Not what you had in mind I’m sure. Specific in this case sounds like, “I want to make love twice a week.” Much better.
This goal is also measurable. We know exactly how many times you wish to have sex (if we were picky we would define what you mean by “sex” and “make love.” They could be different). You could create a log and now you have a record rather than just your memory.
This one is tricky because of the way we stated the original goal/resolution. We are not in total control. Our partner can determine if we get what we want. This influences the attainability of the goal. You can raise the odds by enrolling those who are affected by your dreams in their attainment. If they are on board, and feel that it is a reasonable goal, your chances of success rise.
Another way to increase your odds of success is to re-phrase how you state the goal. Instead of, “I will have sex twice a week,” you could say, “I will initiate sex twice a week.” That way you are in complete control of your intended action. You can initiate. What you do not have control on is the other’s response. They may agree or not.
Who determines what is realistic? Staying with the sex scenario, I might think that seven times a week is reasonable. But am I taking into account the outside world or am I just conscious of my needs? Being realistic is factoring in how much control I have over a given situation, the needs of others, how my request is perceived, and a whole host of factors both hidden and obvious.
Being realistic is not about dropping your dreams but of taking into account the totality (as much as anyone can) of the world within which we are embedded and setting goals accordingly.
Timely or time-bound
By when do you want to achieve your end result? By setting a date you will be able to measure your progress. Did you hit the goal and if not, what changes can you make to move you closer to your target?
Setting up a timeline helps keep the goal in the forefront of your mind. It can create a sense of urgency (though I don’t recommend this in the area of sex – unrealistic demands can play havoc on your libido and ability to perform).
Finally, here is something I picked up in my travels through life. When making goals or resolutions, try to frame them in the positive. For example, instead of using terms like I can’t, I won’t, I will not, use their opposite. For, “I can’t eat deserts,” use “I eat healthy deserts” (they do exist).
Now, with these guidelines in place, here are my intimate relationship resolutions for 2015:
- Meditate five times a week (5 minutes minimum). I picked this one because, when I meditate my overall sense of calm and well-being improves significantly and makes me much more pleasant to be around, which has a direct impact on my relationship with my wife.
- Buy or pick flowers for my wife once every two weeks. She likes flowers, and even though I know this, I can let it slip.
- Take responsibility when I get mad or judgmental for no good reason and own that it is my stuff.
- Clean up the kitchen after I make lunch for myself (my wife’s request, I thought I did. I may have to keep a log on this one).
- Make more money. Just kidding, though it wouldn’t hurt.
There you have it. Nothing fancy. These resolutions are simple, measurable for the most part, definitely attainable, well within reason (doable), timely in the sense that instituting them immediately will be appreciated by both my partner and myself, and they are ongoing.
I wish you the best of luck in creating and instituting, resolutions for your relationship.
Reference source for Top Ten List: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology. As posted at
Photo: Flickr/Zorro the Cat/Punta Cana – Couple Gliding High