Thursday, December 4, 2014

7 Ways to Make a Year Your Best Year as a Couple

Has it been a great year for you? Make next year your best yet for you and your honey.

Reflect and identify relationship trends before looking ahead

When you reflect on your year, you will notice some common trends. Some trends were good for your relationship, and some were bad. Before you start making resolutions, setting goals, and determining your direction for the New Year, figure this out. Once you know the trends, you will know what worked and what didn't work. You can then move forward from that point. 

Forget resolutions - choose something profound to focus on

Several years ago, I decided to do away with New Year's resolutions. Instead, I decided to create one theme or focus for the year. This is one guide to direct my year, help me make decisions, and to use as a focal point when I got off track. It has worked wonders! Instead of making resolutions, create a theme for your relationship. You can base what you do in your relationship on this theme. Our theme for this year is to make us a priority. So when we have conflicting choices, we choose the one that aligns best with our focus, or theme. 

Read (or write) a relationship book together

The act of reading together is a great way to unwind. And when you read books that help your relationship, it is a double win. My wife and I can definitely do better at this, as we have not made it a priority. In addition, with my wife's help I'll be publishing a marriage book in the New Year. Whether you are a writer or not, the practice of reading together will benefit your relationship. 

Get sweaty together and physically challenge yourselves

This past year, we got sweaty together. My wife, who doesn't really enjoy running, agreed to run a 5k with me. We trained together for about 4 weeks and then completed a 5km together. We ended up exceeding our expectations! Then we started working out in the early mornings by starting the training video Insanity. Both challenged us in different ways, and an appreciation, respect, and support for one another has followed. We are planning more of the same in the new year, including completing Insanity and running more 5kms and/or longer races. 

Be aware of where your relationship is today

We have been through ups and downs in our marriage. We have experienced several different stages in marriage. One night, we sat down and reflected on this and I decided to write about each stage of marriage we experienced. As we talked and I wrote, we realized where our marriage is today, and how important this stage is to us, our kids, and other marriages. Knowing where your marriage stands today will help you continue to grow together, and eventually experience all there is in marriage. 

Be open and prepare for change

My wife and I were born and raised in the same town, and we have lived in our current city since college. Our state is what we know. But this year, we opened the door to something different. We actually considered moving to a new state. A state nowhere near where we live now. And we were prepared to just about drop everything to do it. It came very close to happening, but the opportunity that was going to help us do so was put on hold. But that process, and excitement, of getting completely out of our comfort zones and starting something new, engaged us and brought us together. 

Get away from everything together

We went on a weekend retreat together in late spring. This was a few months after our income began to grow again, and we solidified our housing situation. Things were better, but still tough. At first, it seemed the timing of the retreat was bad, as a lot was going on, but the minute we arrived we began to think differently. That weekend retreat was a huge breakthrough for our marriage. What we shared and experienced impacted the rest of the year and beyond in our relationship. 

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