No matter how perfect your relationship, there is always room for improvement. If you'd like to resolve to better your relationship this year, try some of these suggestions from other couples and experts to make your New Year a loving, memorable one.
New Year Resolution: Compliment, Praise and Admire
"The happiest couples also have a specific ratio of positive to negative comments between them when they are together," says Caroline Miller, author of Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide. With this in mind, she suggests "saying at least five positive things before uttering a criticism."
"Give 3 sincere compliments a day to the one you love. We are quick to criticize and find fault and pick on shortcomings, but fall short on showing how much we care. Three compliments a day is a simple reminder and easy way to make a conscious effort to 'build up' the relationship instead of breaking it down." - Sheryl P. Kurland, author of Everlasting Matrimony: Pearls Of Wisdom From Couples Married 50 Years Or More.
New Year Resolution: Make Time To Connect
"My partner and I had a baby together in early 2008, so we've spent the majority of the year transitioning into being someone's Mom and Dad, which was been an enormous life (and relationship) change! There are times when we definitely feel like a couple of parents, versus an actual couple. Now, with our lives are more under control, our New Year's relationship resolution is to find a babysitter. We are both very busy working parents, and some romantic—even just adult—conversation and time together is a must." - Sara Auten Cowley, 30, Atlanta, Georgia, married.
"A meaningful yet amazingly powerful New Year's resolution that a couple could make together is to spend at least ten minutes every day in heartfelt union. I recommend that it include physical touching, with eyes open. Ten minutes is short - you can spend more time than that trying to end a phone call from someone you don't even want to be speaking with! Yet ten minutes is long enough to truly connect with your partner in ways that matter. Gazing into each other's eyes, touching each other's hearts, you will have a chance each day to celebrate and be nourished by the love that you share." - Diana Daffner, M.A., author of Tantric Sex for Busy Couples.
"My New Years resolution as a couple is for us to create a list of fun activities we can do together at least 2 times a month or every other weekend. Some examples are: hiking, go to football or basketball game, bowling, golf, sailing, skiing, beach, drive up the coast to favorite fish restaurant, rock climbing wall, museum, art gallery, wine tasting, see a play or movie, cooking class etc. And each weekend we do this activity we trade off on the activity of each persons choice. I pick one week and he gets to pick the activity the next time. This is a way we can experience fun and different things that can bring us closer and deepen our love & intimacy. Now that's a great NYs resolution!" - Dr. Cindy Brown, 46, Culver City, CA, two year committed relationship, and author of The Cinderella System: 7 Steps to Attracting the Man and Relationship of Your Dreams.
New Years Resolution: Stay Present and Live Intentionally
"Based on my work as a couple's therapist, the best thing couples can do is continually strive to be in the present moment with their partners. Being in the moment not only encourages genuine communication, enjoyment, and intimacy, but it can also prevent minor arguments from escalating into major fights. If couples would discuss problems as they occur and make an effort not to bring up past hurts in their current conversations, they'd find that they'd have greater empathy and sense of harmony in their relationships." - Rachel Russo, marriage & Family Therapist Trainee.
"Often our friends, co-workers or family know more about what we want from our mate than he or she knows. Your mate can’t give you what you want unless they know what it is. What are your goals in life, what do you hope for in the relationship, what do you want? Speak up!" - Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C., author of Loving Him Without Losing You.
New Years Resolution: Communicate Daily
"Ask your partner everyday - "Do you feel happy? Do you feel safe? Do you feel loved?" This is what we are striving for in our relationships. Bring it to the forefront and let your partner know that you want to do all you can for him/her to feel happy, safe, and loved. If you do this, 2009 will be your best year ever as a couple." - Thea Lobell, Ph.D., Psychotherapist & Keynote Speaker.
"Commit to working on your communication skills. A year from now you will be amazed how your everyday way of interacting with each other has become joyful, respectful, and filled with great honesty tempered by kindness. This means that you have to choose your words carefully. In other words, say what you mean and mean what you say, without being mean about it. This way, you will stop bottling up all your emotions to the point where they have to come out in an angry and explosive way." - Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Grant Me a Higher Love: How to Go from the Relationship from Hell to One that’s Heaven Sent by Scaling The Ladder of Love.