Do you want a stronger love relationship in the new year? Perhaps the past year was rocky, and you want to get things off on a better foot. Alternatively, maybe it was a good year, and you just want to make your relationship even better than it already is.
The new year is the perfect time to look back upon the recent past. Think about what has worked well for your relationship. Then consider things that you want to change. This provides you with a great starting point for developing stronger love in the year to come.
Looking Back: What Already Works
Every couple has strengths. What are the things that work for you? Each of you should take some quiet time to sit down and reflect upon this question. Brainstorm individual lists of things you’d like to keep about your relationship. The list should include traits and rituals that make you feel connected, supported, and loved. For example,
- Saying “I love you” every day
- Date nights
- Giving each other the benefit of the doubt
- Dinner together without devices
- Supporting each other’s personal growth
Once you have each made lists separately, come together to discuss them. This is a great time to celebrate your relationship. After all, it’s common to complain to our partners about what’s not working. However, we rarely remember to thank each other for what’s already great.
Embrace a “Yes, and” Attitude
You will also want to make some changes to have stronger love in the new year. However, don’t just come up with a list of things that are problematic. Instead, embrace a positive attitude and add on to the “this already works” list. Think, “yes, we have that already, and …”
For example, “yes, we already do date nights once a week, and I would also like to plan a few weekend getaways this year.” Focusing on the positive helps inspire each of you to work harder to create the stronger love that you desire.
Set Goals Together for Stronger Love
Take the time to sit down and come up with a list of goals that would make you each feel like you’re establishing stronger love together. Remember that goals should be specific items that you can measure. For example, a goal like “connect more” is too vague. What does that actually look like for each of you? The answer might be “spend ten minutes each evening telling each other about our days.” It’s hard to tell if you’re “connecting more” but easy to see if you’re meeting that ten minutes per day goal.
Make Love Stronger with Attention to Intimacy
Intimacy is one of the most important things in any relationship. Recommit to the emotional and sexual intimacy in your relationship. This looks different for each couple. You may find that it helps to schedule sex so that you guarantee that you’ll make time for it. On the other hand, your relationship might benefit from more spontaneity. Discuss with your partner what intimacy means to each of you. Figure out what would increase intimacy in the new year.
Create Shared Meaning in Your Relationship
One thing that increases intimacy in relationships is creating shared meaning, something we discussed in a previous post. The new year is the perfect time to think about the qualities of your own little culture as a couple. Moreover, it’s the perfect time to start establishing new norms and rituals to strengthen that culture in a way that leads you to stronger love.
Another thing you might try in the new year? Couples counseling. A relationship doesn’t have to be in crisis to benefit from therapy. Learn more about my services here.