To strengthen your relationship, at the beginning of each year, it is a good idea to ask your partner what they would most like to achieve in the coming year and how you could help them with that. You can do the same. This sets a tone of connection throughout the year ahead.
It is useful to build in reviews of how you are each progressing, offering each other support and encouragement throughout the year, working as a team.
This is also a good time to set some goals for your relationship. Here are some suggestions;
Weekly Date Night
“Why would a couple that lives and sleeps together every night need dates and rituals? Precisely because they live and sleep together.” Bill Doherty
Have a ‘Date Night’ every week - just the two of you, away from the house. Many couples simply get out of the habit of being a couple because they become too busy being parents, or constantly being in the company of family or friends. You should both take turns at organising the date. Arrange childcare and transport if necessary.
The date does not have to be expensive or exotic, but it must allow you both the opportunity to look at and talk to each other. Remember what I have said about the importance of touch. If you are a couple who are not very tactile, remember, this is not your natural state. Practice holding hands, and gentle, casual touching. Learn to be more comfortable with touch, it is as essential for your well being as drinking water is for your health.
It may be that your weekly date is during the day, in which case it is really good if you can be in nature, either walking in the woods, by a river or by the sea. There are all sorts of extra benefits from being in the fresh air and sunshine, especially somewhere beautiful.
Creating some positive memories and associations is like putting deposits in your emotional bank. There is something to draw on then when the going gets tough.
Visit somewhere new, perhaps on one of your weekly dates, that neither of you have seen before. It is useful and pleasant to create a list of all the places within a 30-mile radius that you would like to visit or explore. Making a point of seeing new places together helps to keep some freshness in your relationship. It may be a new town or village, a place of interest, a new walk, or a different restaurant.
This gives you the opportunity to anticipate a new experience, to be curious and to wonder, perhaps even to be excited. These are feelings and states that couples usually have at the beginning of their relationship that can get lost in day-to-day life. Be positive and make the most of every occasion.
Visiting a new place allows you both to let the childlike part of you to come to the forefront. You can decide to have an adventure, be spontaneous and playful.
Having a regular monthly adventure prevents you both from becoming too serious or caught in a rut. It also gives you something positive and fun to talk to each other about and allows you to be a couple again.
Have a weekend away together at least quarterly or more often if you can afford to do so. This may depend on your resources such as money and availability of childcare. It is well worth making the effort to get away together at least a couple of weekends a year without children, family or friends.
The primary purpose is to just hang out together, enjoy each other’s company and pay attention to each other. Just being away from house, home, phone, computer, and children allows you the opportunity to switch off and de-stress. It also gives you both something to look forward to.
Aim to have at least one annual holiday – preferably in the sunshine. If you have children, discuss and negotiate how you can each have a bit of time to yourself during the holiday. Agree how you can help each other achieve what you each most want to achieve from the holiday.
All of these things help to keep your connection solid and provides an environment to maintain the commitment and spark in your relationship.
Be great role models
Remember you will be role modelling for your children, how to have a great relationship. This is a real gift to them – priceless, and helps to fulfil your role of being great parents.
Write down your plan for the year. This makes it more concrete and something you are both committed to as a couple. You can use it to review progress throughout the year.
Happy New Year
For more on developing happy and fulfilling relationships, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter@afterido. You can connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your relationship, check out my coaching and consulting practice via LinkedIn, email me on email@example.com or call me on 07816491165