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Relationship resolutions for couples
Now that we are several weeks into the New Year, how are you doing with your resolutions? Have you set aside the time, made a plan, explored necessary resources, and/or taken the first steps towards achievement? If you are like many people, you probably haven't, or did for a week or so and then your goals got put on the back burner. The good news is that you can get back on track with little lost in the process. All it takes is a reboot on your resolve, some planning, prioritizing, and a determination to go after what you want.
Whatever your resolutions may be, if you are in a relationship, your goals should ideally reflect its importance in your life. Of course, any goals that support good health, lower stress, higher productivity, more mindfulness, and greater life satisfaction will have an impact on your partnership. But what about having one or more specific relationship goals?ones that you can set and work on together? After all, isn't everything more fun when you have someone to share it with? Not to mention you are more likely to maintain motivation and stick to them if you have someone by your side offering support and encouragement. Now that I have your attention, the following are some of my best winning resolutions for two. One or two be just what you need.
* Share mindful and healthy eating
Mindful eating requires making conscious decisions that begin with meal planning, and include setting aside time for shopping, meal preparation, and unhurried mealtimes. Ideally you would do some of this together as both of you need to be at least in partial agreement about what foods you will chose and when and how long your meals together will be. In addition, there are all the extras that fill pantries--if yours are mostly chips, sweets, and/or sugary drinks, this will need to be addressed. Emotional eating is a primary cause of unhealthy choices and weight gain and having these foods on hand can make it almost impossible to stick to your resolve when you hit those nasty bumps along the road of life.
* Resolve to talk less, listen more
Learn how to listen with a third ear--giving your partner your full attention, which includes eye contact, and no distractions such as multi-tasking. It's also important to refrain from interrupting, and to be mindful of your body language and facial expressions that send a message all their own--and usually the one you are attempting to disguise when you are rushed, tired, frustrated and/or just not feeling open to something your partner wants to discuss.
* Agree not to sweat or argue about the little things
Pettiness leads to negativity, bickering, bean-counting, and emotional distance. Learn how to pick your battles and save them for the issues that really matter. Also don't approach any discussion, no matter how difficult, as a battle to be fought and won. Letting go means not holding on to every little hurt and annoyance--and it also means not insisting on emerging as the winner following every disagreement and subsequent negotiation. Understanding, compassion, and empathy are contagious, so spread them freely in your relationship.
* Perform daily acts of kindness
Something as simple as a good morning kiss, bringing your partner their coffee, putting their phone and keys by the door so they don't forget them, or offering a few words of appreciation--will brighten their day and help keep your bond strong. It only takes a minute to acknowledge how much you enjoy, are turned on by, and/or appreciate your partner and what they bring to your life. When the moment presents, be careful not to override it with a thought about being too rushed and getting to it at a later time, or just thinking it, but not taking five minutes (or less!) to share that positive thought or action with him or her.
* Establish unplugged time zones in your home
Have you ever been on one end of a conversation when the other person is multi-tasking on their personal device while feigning attention to what you are saying? If so, you know what it feels like to be minimized, disregarded, and for your message to not be taken seriously. In other words, it doesn't feel good, especially when this message is sent by your intimate partner. When a partner's behavior contributes to them feeling like this, it's destructive to the relationship and often leads to an erosion of trust, an impairment in or shut down of communication, and a resistance to confide in or rely on one another. Turn off your devices when you are eating together, sharing conversation, enjoying an activity outside of the home and/or winding down from your day and have an opportunity for some intimate connecting.
* Make intimate sharing and sex a priority
It may seem unromantic, but if the result is great sex, no one will remember you planned for it. When we make something a priority, we carve out the time, make sure we have the energy, and clear away any distractions in order to allow us to focus solely on it. When both people in the couple are satisfied with their sexual life--it takes the edge off. They feel attractive and get the nurturing they need; which makes it less likely they will nick pick or get upset over the little annoyances that arise.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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