It’s the beginning of a new year. And like so many of us, you’ve decided it’s time to push away from the kitchen table and to pull yourself out of your favorite chair into the gym. Don’t get me wrong. Working on the body is great. But have you thought about your mate? Have you ever considered making some New Year’s resolutions about your relationship?
There are problematic areas in the best of relationships. But what makes them better relationships is when both partners make a concerted effort to work on these areas.
- Focus on the positive, good things about your relationship. What things have made the relationship great? What is it about your mate that made you decide that he was the one? Was it because he made you feel good about yourself? Was he a good listener or talker? Does he contribute equally to the household, not just financially, but also with the chores? By concentrating of these things, you can then start to evaluate whether these areas, if left alone, can or have become problematic. You can assess whether they need a little or a lot of work to get them back to where you started.
- Learn and practice the art of negotiation. Take football for instance. It’s January…playoff season. You want nothing more than to kick back and watch the Saturday and Sunday games. But she wants to go shop the after Christmas sales. What do you do? You compromise. Decide which games are more important to you and then TiVo or set the DVR long enough to give her a couple of hours of your time to shop. And she should care enough about spending time with you by taking the time to learn the game of football and watch a game or two with you. She may not get all of the plays, or can keep up with what down it is, but you can help her learn. This way, you’re both getting the best of what you want…to spend time doing what you like with the one you love.
- Have frank, honest and transparent communication about your finances. Maybe she makes more money than you. She skimps off the grocery money and hides to buy a pair of shoes. Or he thinks that every dime you make has to go to take care of the household bills. The best way to handle finances is to put all of your income in one account. And once the bills are paid, you decide how much each of you can spend on what you need or want. However, if you did not start out that way, and you have two separate accounts, you need to decide, proportionately, how much each of you is going to contribute weekly or monthly to the bills. Then put those funds in a single account. Do not forget about emergencies. One of the cars needs a new set of tires or a battery. Or the hot water heater goes on the brink. Therefore, a portion of what you contribute to the single account should be allocated towards such emergencies.
- Proportionate distribution of chores. Decide who does what, when and you both follow through.
- Sustain the intimacy in your relationship. Continue to explore and keep the fire burning! And don’t forget that intimacy begins in the mind. Remember that intimacy does not have to be physical. You can undress someone with your eyes. Flirt, play hard to get, role play, go on dates…all the things you two once did to attract each other.
- Have sex. And for goodness sakes, spice things up…different places, spaces and positions. Know what you like and enjoy and communicate those things to your partner.