For Bailey’s Love Tips this month, we want to share a post by Happily Ever Adventures. While New Year’s resolutions are often thought to be for individuals, couples can profit from working on goals together for the coming new year. Happily Ever Adventures provides some great tips on throwing out the old habits that may be winding at the spark you feel and replacing them with new tips to keep the shine bright.
1. DO SOMETHING NEW EVERY MONTH
Novelty keeps love alive in relationships! It helps keep the relationship fresh and exciting. Make a New Year’s resolution for you to do one new thing together every month. This can be traveling to a new city, trying a new food, or doing a new activity. The more adventurous the better, because that’s the best way to ignite love chemicals of dopamine, serotonin, fear, and adrenaline – all things that boost your love!
Here’s an awesome hack to try! Work together to come up with 12 things you really want to try – 6 each. Write them into strips and put them in a jar. Every month choose one and vow to do it together!
2. FIGHT CLEAN
Many studies have found that the best indicator of a couple’s long-term potential is the way they fight. It’s so interesting because we usually are the meanest to the people we love the most. It’s important to remember to treat our significant other with love ALL the time, even during the worst of fights! Whatever is said during an argument can never be unsaid and it chips away at your relationship. Some basics to keep in mind: don’t say things you don’t mean, don’t say mean or hurtful things that you would regret saying later, and never ever use curse words. This a New Year’s resolution for couples that we made early on in our relationship and no matter how much we’ve fought over the years, we’ve been careful to never curse at each other or be overly mean to each other.
3. INSTITUTE A WEEKLY DATE NIGHT
This one is our New Year’s resolutions for couples! We won’t lie- when we aren’t traveling, having a weekly date night (Netflix doesn’t count), gets tough! Regardless of job or family responsibilities, this is going to be our priority next year!
If you live with your partner or if you’re married you might assume that you already spend enough time together. However cliché it might be, the important thing is quality time, not quantity time. Aim to have a date night once a week. Preferably you should go out somewhere, however, if that’s not possible try to make your home environment as close to a going out setting as possible. Use nice dishes, get dressed up, hide your phones away, and put the kids to sleep. If you are in a long-distance relationship, you can have Skype dates: watch a movie together, eat dinner together, etc. It might help to have a set night in which you have your date night so that it is programmed into your schedule. If that’s not possible (it isn’t for us) decide at the start of every week what night will be your date night.
4. DITCH ASSUMPTIONS
It is HARD not to make assumptions. We all have unique thought patterns and so we come to different conclusions on why others do things. However, our conclusions most often are NOT accurate. Instead of determining yourself why your partner did something and getting mad about it, ask your partner first! This also means that you and your partner need to have a history (or at least establish a new pattern) of good communication and clean fighting so that you can talk rationally about the issue.
5. GET TO KNOW THE OTHER PERSON’S HOBBIES
Most likely you both have interests that are different than the other person. You don’t have to do everything together or like all the same things; that could get really boring. However, it is nice once in a while to do things that you don’t like just because your partner likes it. You will see a whole new side of your partner and it might feel like you just started dating all over again. Also, if the hobby is a skill that your partner can teach you it is a great bonding opportunity and you can learn a lot about your partner from their teaching style.
6. TALK ABOUT THE ACTUAL ISSUE DURING ARGUMENTS
Sometimes it can be hard to talk to your partner about the real reason that you are upset with them. It might be because you are embarrassed to admit what you’re bothered by, you might feel they will get mad at what the issue is, or you just feel as though they should already know. For example, you might be upset because you feel as though your partner is not as in love with you anymore. The issues that you might bring up during the argument are things like: you checked out someone else, you didn’t call me today, etc. Meanwhile, these issues might not even be things that you are upset about. Instead of beating around the bush and having frustrating and unproductive arguments, resolve to bring up the actual issue plain and simple. Both partners should also resolve not to react in a judgmental or angry way no matter what the issue is that the other person brings up. You want to feel safe in your relationship to discuss what is bothering you. This New Year’s resolution for couples is one that we’ve really been working on and it has been a big part of us improving our communication in general.
7. REMEMBER THE LITTLE THINGS
It’s the little things that matter most in relationships; not the big sporadic events. All the little things really do add up to be the big things. Why not take some time to add some romance and love boosts into your daily life with your New Year’s resolution for couples this year. These should be simple and easy to do, but too often we get caught up and forget to do them. Some ideas: always say “I love you”, send cute little texts throughout the day, give each other compliments, leave the other person little surprises…
8. LET THE LITTLE THINGS GO
On the flip side, the little things can also add up to one huge breakup or nasty fight. It is inevitable that your partner will do things that annoy you. When that happens ask yourself, “will I care about this tomorrow?” If you wouldn’t, let it go. If you would or if it is a reoccurring thing, address it. When you are addressing it, try to figure out the root of why it is upsetting you and address THAT. Too often we get upset over a little thing, but there’s a deeper thing behind it and it’s more productive to address that.
9. BE POSITIVE
It is human nature to attend more to the negative things that someone says than the positive. While you always want to be honest with your partner and sometimes that includes saying negative things, try to keep the language you use positive overall. A good trick is to make sure to say three positive things for every one negative thing. Consider it a negative sandwich, put a positive comment before the negative one and another one after so that the negative statement is sandwiched in between positivity. Then you can add in a second positive comment before or after. If in general, you say way more negative things than positive things, your partner will start to feel like everything is negative. If you say more positive things, it will be easier to hear the negative things.
10. START A 40-YEAR PLAN
I am terrified every time I see a movie in which the couple starts off madly in love and then begins to hate each other after years of marriage. In every relationship, both partners will do things that annoy the other. That is completely normal. However, according to these movies, that buildup of little annoyances leads to a relationship in which you just can’t stand each other. It is always a good idea to let the little things go (see tip 8), however, if there are qualities in your partner that just really annoy you and you can’t let it go, talk about it.
Consider it a 40-year plan. Talk to each other and decide that you still want to be madly in love in 40-years. If there is something that just really bugs the other person and they can’t get over it, they should be able to say, “honey for our 40-year plan would you mind working on this?” This can be something as simple as putting the cap back on the toothpaste or remembering what flavor ice cream the other person likes. Try to limit the number of things you ask your partner to change! If you want them to change everything they might not be the one for you or you may just need to work on re-prioritizing your expectations.