by Kara Wexler
With the New Year finally upon us, it’s time to whip out a notepad for our annual resolutions. While popular goals may include looking like a celebrity who belongs on the cover of People magazine, you’ll feel more fulfilled and empowered if your resolutions encompass the improvement of your mind, body, and soul. As you begin your list, or build upon the one you already have, consider moving beyond your personal goals to explore ways you can improve the important relationships in your life.
As you establish these goals, be sure to celebrate one another’s achievements — both personally and professionally.
Start this year with a clean slate by putting any old arguments to rest for good. Suck it up and apologize for any mistakes you’ve made, and accept your partner’s genuine apologies as well. Look to strengthen the trust in your relationship, and reassure each other that you won’t repeat past mistakes. If you’re searching for ways to improve the trust in your relationship, consider these strategies.
Give back. Together. Year-round.
The holiday cheer has many individuals eager to give back toward the end of the year, but many organizations struggle to entice enough volunteers during the other months of the year. Consider finding a soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity build, charity walk, JScreen, or some other form of volunteer work that you and your partner can share in multiple times throughout the year. That euphoric feeling of giving back can only be amplified as you share in the giving!
Just as you may have noticed while enjoying bubbe’s favorite holiday recipes, food made with love somehow always tastes better. Keeping each other on track for healthy eating and sharing the responsibility to prepare delicious meals can not only strengthen the relationship, but also cut down on the amount of time spent in the kitchen! Here are some delicious meal ideas to get you started (you may need to find kosher alternatives for a few).
It may be tempting to keep your phone screen-side up while talking to your partner, but you risk sending them the wrong message: that they aren’t worth your full attention. Set aside time to accomplish what you need to on your screens, then enjoy your togetherness uninterrupted. If you’re having trouble controlling the urge to check your iPhone notifications, consider turning on the Do Not Disturb feature to remove the temptation.
According to scientists at Santa Clara University, working out with a partner whom you feel comfortable with will help you feel more energetic and happier than working out solo. Not only that, but having your partner join you can help you both stay motivated, and encourage you to try new exercises outside of your normal routine. Soon you’ll increase your confidence, and you can share that excitement together.
Make time for date nights.
Prioritize one another and take time to schedule date nights as you would with other commitments. Think of some exciting new adventures and get them on the calendar, so you can plan around them. Check out these quirky date ideas for some inspiration!
Praise more. Criticize less.
In a long-term relationship, it becomes easy to overlook one another’s best qualities and dwell on bad habits. Take time to remind yourself of the things you love about each other — all the reasons you were drawn to this person in the first place — and then up the compliments! Keep your criticisms to a minimum (and always constructive), and let your praise flow abundantly.
Have fun with each other!
Keep things exciting and fresh! Look for new things to do in your city, or find something creative you can both learn together. Take guitar classes, make pottery, learn to cook new international dishes, or find some other new form of expression you both can enjoy together. Even simple playful gestures like challenging your partner to a thumb wrestling match, showing off your best imitations, or starting a water balloon fight outside can keep things youthful and fun between you.
Prepare for the future.
When the time is right, beginning to plan a family can be extraordinarily intimate. Planning for your future children takes time, energy, and a great deal of thoughtful consideration. When you and your partner are ready to take this next step, JScreen is here to help ensure your future is a bright and healthy one!
So here’s to a happy new year, and to your relationship growing even stronger in 2016!
A version of this post was previously published on jscreen.org and is republished here with permission from the author.
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