How many of us make the same New Year’s resolutions each year? We vow to do the same things — drop a load of weight, earn a ton more cash, read more — and each year we fall short of our goals. So this year, why not try something different and resolve to take steps to improve one of the most important areas of your life? That’s right, your relationship.
Even the best relationships face trials and tribulations, and highs and lows, and that’s because relationships take work and effort.
Whether you’re all butterflies and rainbows in the throes of a new relationship or slowly working through the mundanity of a long-term one, here are six New Year’s resolutions to improve your relationship.
- Don’t Be so Serious, Find Time to Play
“Couples who play together stay together” may have been unfairly adopted as the catchphrase of swingers and adulterers, but there’s more truth to this expression than meets the eye. Scientific studies reveal that playing together helps couples to improve their sense of intimacy, happiness and overall enjoyment of the relationship. It’s not surprising really — our lives are busy and stressful, and between work, family and bills, we can often lose that giddy sense of fun. Moments that allow us to forget the burden of our daily lives and have a laugh are like little moments of refreshment where you get to actually enjoy the time you spend together. In fact, many people in happy long-term relationships claim that laughter and fun are the keys to their longevity.
So find time to play. Whether it’s a board game with a glass of whiskey or wine after a long day at the office or a weekend canoeing trip, find something that lets you unwind and go with it!
- Prioritise Intimacy
Do you remember how your relationship was at the beginning — when every look and touch made your heart flutter and your knees weaken? There’s no doubt that sensual connection and sexual intimacy are integral to happy relationships. But sadly, passion and sexual excitement are the first things to fade in a long-term relationship. Before you know it, your initial insatiable desire for your partner gives way to sexual lethargy and you go for days, weeks or even months without intimacy and end up feeling disconnected from your partner.
So take time to reignite the proverbial flame in your relationships. If you both have busy schedules, don’t be embarrassed to schedule sexy time with your loved one. Put it in your diary and stick to it! If the flame has completely died, explore activities that help to make it burn once again. A sensual couple’s massage is a great way of bringing intimacy and sexual connection back into your relationship. Designed to stimulate your erogenous zones, it’s a real fire starter for your libido, and not only is it a deeply intimate experience to share with your partner, but the novelty of getting naked and giving yourself over to pleasure works wonders for your relationship too. In fact, when we try something new like an intimate massage, our brains flood with serotonin — the same chemical our brains release by the bucket load when we’re falling in love. So with novelty date nights, you can literally trick your brain into feeling the way you did about your partner when you first fell in love.
- Say ‘I Love You’ Every Chance You Get
There are no words more loaded than “I love you”. Simple and understated, those three magic words pack a serious punch when it comes to feeling connected to our partners. Not only does receiving and expressing messages of affection improve your relationship, but studies show that they also make us feel happier and more in touch with ourselves. It’s a win-win.
Don’t be afraid to say “I love you”, whether you’re doing your weekly shop, hanging up the laundry or knee-deep in a new binge-worthy series on Netflix. When it comes to telling your partner that you care, there’s no time like the present.
- Remove Distractions with a Digital Detox
Technology and romance have an increasingly complex relationship. Today, more and more people meet their partners online or through apps. Yet there’s no denying that there are some serious downsides to being glued to our digital devices. Studies reveal that even the presence of a phone can have a drastic negative impact on our enjoyment of face-to-face meetings, as they make us feel like we’re not the priority. And who hasn’t spent hours stalking a partner’s ex on social media or been driven to suspicion after seeing an innocent picture on a partner’s social media?
A digital detox simply means putting away your devices for a period of time so that you’re not tempted to scroll through your feed or check your emails. It’s a way of showing your partner that you’re focused on them and invested in enjoying the moments you spend together. Start small with 30 minutes a day and build up. Some couples swear by digital detox weekends — that means no phones and no laptops; just each other’s company. It sounds good to us.
- Allow for Time Apart
No one blames you for wanting to spend all your time with your partner. It’s only natural to want to pour all of your time and energy into nurturing your relationship once you’ve found someone you truly like, especially during the honeymoon stage of the relationship. But, as with many things, moderation is key. Your partner should be a part of your life, not your entire life. When couples become too co-dependent, they risk suffocating their partner and growing resentful of each other.
Take time for yourself and give yourself the opportunity to do things just for you — away from your partner. Work out, read, go to events that interest you; not every passion has to be shared with your partner. Don’t be tempted to neglect your friendships and other relationships either. Equally, extend the same understanding to your partner and make sure that they are able to have a life away from you too. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all.
Author bio: Rose Colette Aston is the founder of London Tantric, a prestigious, personable and professional Tantric massage agency in London.