The new year provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate the health and well-being of not only yourself, but also your important relationships. How have you felt that your relationships have been this year? Are there areas for improvement? If you are in an intimate relationship, have you been a good partner? Have you helped to create a healthy relationship for you and your partner?

This year, challenge yourself to adopt these three relationship resolutions focused on building a stronger foundation for you and your partner:

  1. Put away the screens. This should not be a surprise. While technology brings with it many wonderful ways to connect with people, it can just as easily detract from the kind of face-to-face intimate contact that couples need in order to thrive. Make a commitment to stash the screens for at least 20 minutes per day and instead sit down and make eye contact with your partner. Look directly at one another when you are talking, especially when it’s about difficult topics. Do not argue over text; do not rely on email to send love notes. Look into one another’s eyes. Find time to be in each other’s presence. Touch, gaze, and simply be together without the veil of a screen between you two.
  2. Say “I’m sorry” more. If you feel as though you are already saying it enough, try saying it more often. The bottom line is that you really cannot own up to your piece of a spat too much. The words “I’m sorry” are always available to you and they mean so much to hear. So, make a truly concerted effort this year to take responsibility and apologize – even if it is just for how you ended up hurting your partner when it was completely unintentional.
  3. Laugh. At yourself, at your foibles, with your partner – just let go and laugh! Laughter immediately reduces tension and unites people in a shared moment and with a shared meaning. If you can laugh at your own mistakes (and then take ownership – see #2!), imagine how much easier communication would be with your partner. Humor can be the perfect way to start up a difficult conversation, and it can often be the path away from a simmering conflict. Many happy and successful couples site laughter as the key to the longevity of their relationship. So, go ahead and laugh a little more.

Author: Rachel Goldsmith, MS, MA