Some of the more popular New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on improving our bodies (losing weight, eating right) and improving our minds (taking night courses, learning a new language), but what about resolving to improve our relationships?
We polled a number of relationship experts to get their advice on what committed couples could and should be doing in the new year in order to foster better communication and forge closer bonds with their partner.
“Commit to Date Talk,” says Andrea Syrtash, author of Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband). “One study showed that the average couple with kids speaks uninterrupted for about 15 minutes a day!”
You probably have longer conversations with your boss. Or bank teller. Or mail carrier.
Syrtash advises couples to resolve to set aside some time everyday to talk, avoiding negotiations about household chores, complaints about the in-laws or financial worries. Remember when you talked about your interests and current events —things that weren’t the kids or your mortgage?
“Stay curious about each other and you’ll stay connected,” Syrtash says.
A huge part of staying connected is having a healthy and satisfying sex life.
“There are never enough hours in the day,” says Linda M. Zuzanski, president of Love Nest in Winnipeg. “But maybe it’s time to invest in some rose petals and bubble bath at your local love boutique and make this a year of wonderful surprises for your partner.”
Zuzanski says that 40% of North American couples polled reported that they sometimes use a vibrator during lovemaking.
“They must be doing so for a reason,” says Zuzanski, who says that today’s love boutiques are mostly bright, friendly and staffed by courteous and knowledgeable staff. Visiting such a shop in your city could make for a fun field trip for you and your partner, and might just give you some great ideas for the year ahead.
“Indulge your partner,” says Josey Vogels, sex and relationships columnist, blogger and author of the upcoming book Better Sex in No Time: How to have more sex in your relationship. “Do something that they’re into more than you are, either in the bedroom or out of it. Not only does indulging your partner make them feel special and loved, you may surprise yourself and discover things you never knew you’d get into. And bonus, your partner will be more likely to indulge you right back.”
And when it comes to communicating with your partner, being less on the defensive and actually listening to them is a skill that we can all stand to brush up on.
“Stop worrying about being right and really listen to what your partner is saying,” says Vogels. “Imagine there is a bouncing ball — like in the cartoons — over your partner’s words. Then follow the ball to ensure you’re really focusing on what he or she is saying and not simply busy formulating a rebuttal.”
And finally, make this the year that you remember why you fell in love in the first place.
“Rewind,” says writer and blogger Jowita Bydlowska. “Whether you’re through looking at old photos or videos or talking about the time you’ve met and fell in love, it’s your history and you should make it fresh all the time. Remember what made your shiver at the thought of your loved one … and ask yourself everytime you are about to get short: Would I say/do this to her/him when I was still chasing him/her?
“Nothing is permanent. Romance least of all. You need to rewind and review it.”
In 2012, make new memories, but don’t forget how you came to be here together.
Next week: New Year’s resolutions for singles.
Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – atSexytypewriter.com