Well, it’s that time of year again! Most people are starting out the new year with a list of goals and a whole bunch of hope. There’s just something about a fresh new year that’s inspiring. Anything seems possible with the whole year ahead of us.
The usual goals are to exercise more, eat better, save money, drink more water, and so on. Mostly self-improvement stuff, which is great! But have you ever thought about setting new goals for your relationship? Whether you are dating, engaged, or married, there is always something that you and your partner can work on.
Here are a few ideas to help you set goals that will meet your relationship’s specific needs.
1. Spend true quality time together every day
This is a pretty obvious goal that every couple should have. But sometimes with our busy schedules, work, and technology distractions, it can be difficult to truly spend quality time together. How many evenings have you spent sitting next to each other, watching tv and not speaking? Enjoying your favorite tv show or movie can definitely be a good thing to do together, but not when it’s replacing actual conversation time.
Here’s a realistic quality time goal to make: devote some part of every day to talking with your partner. Whether you go for a walk in the evening and discuss your days at work, or sit on the couch facing each other and catch up, it’s important to truly speak with each other every day.
Oftentimes life can get so busy that we don’t see all the opportunities there are to reconnect with each other. So a great first relationship goal for the new year is to commit to having a meaningful conversation with your partner every day, even if it’s only 30 minutes.
2. Become planners
You could say this one is the second part of the quality time goal. After you get the hang of being present in your conversations and connecting each day, your next goal as a couple can be to become planners. If you don’t already have regular dates and activities planned, this goal is for you.
Life can be busy and unpredictable, so you can’t plan everything. But when you don’t plan anything, it can be easy to slip into a routine that doesn’t include dates or doing anything special as a couple. When you’re just going through week after week, you may look back and realize you haven’t had a date night in months.
This is your chance to become a planner! Even if you have a tight schedule each week, you can still meet this goal. What you plan will depend on what you and your partner really want to do. You may want to set aside a night once a week to go out on a date. Or you may be more interested in planning a weekend away every few months. Whatever it is, make it a goal to plan the things that you want to make time for. Your relationship will thank you!
3. Learn and practice each other’s love language
Once you learn about the 5 love languages and how they can relate to your prenup, it’s a great thing to put the knowledge into practice in your relationship. This means doing all you can to speak your partner’s love language. Whether it be quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts, acts of service, or words of affirmation, there is always something you can do to make your partner feel loved.
Even if you are already familiar with what love languages you and your partner speak, it’s a whole different task to consistently show your partner love in the way they best receive it. Chances are, you don’t consistently work to speak your partner’s language every single day. So this could be a very useful goal to set.
For a partner who loves words of affirmation, get creative with how you tell them you love them and leave them notes around the house. For someone whose love language is receiving gifts, simple gestures like bringing home flowers or their favorite coffee to show you were thinking of them go a long way. Showing love through physical touch can be as easy as putting your arm around them when you’re out walking around, or holding their hand while you watch a movie. You can speak the acts of service language to your partner by taking care of something around the house that they may not have time for or want to do. And if your partner’s main love language is quality time, number 4 on this list will be extra helpful!
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4. Explore different hobbies together
One important aspect of a relationship often overlooked is just having fun with one another. Many couples have a hobby they enjoy doing together, like hiking, cooking, or even upcycling furniture. If you don’t already have something like this in place, it could be a fun goal to set this year.
If you and your partner don’t really have the same interests, it may seem like there’s no point in trying to find a hobby that you’ll both enjoy. But all you really need to do is take some time to explore several different activities. Start by each making a list of a few hobbies that sound fun to you, compile your lists, and try each one. You may be surprised by the results!
This is a great goal to work toward because having a hobby as a couple will help you create new memories and strengthen your bond. It can be nice to have a sort of escape after a long day at work. Instead of coming home to watch tv or scroll through social media, imagine having something like pottery making, gardening, or baking that you can enjoy together. Participating in these fun and enriching activities could be the missing piece your relationship needs.
5. Invest in yourself and your relationship
It’s no secret that in order to do well in any area of life, you need to first take care of yourself. This especially applies to a relationship. A common piece of marriage advice is to always save the best of yourselves for each other. How do you do that, exactly? The answer lies in self-care.
The point is not to become self-centered, but to make sure you are taking care of yourself as an individual so that you can bring your best self to the relationship. This can look like spending time with yourself if you want alone time, doing the things you like to do, or having some pamper time. When you take the time to invest in yourself, your relationship will thrive because you are refreshed and ready to be the best partner you can be.
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This goal of investing in yourself and your relationship also applies to doing the things you think will improve your relationship. Whether it be starting marital counseling (which isn’t just for couples that are really struggling) or looking into the prenup you’ve been considering, you can start by choosing one thing to work on and go from there. If you find you need more information about what a prenup can do for your relationship, our prenup FAQ can help.
Whether you choose one of these goals to implement this year, or all five, the important part is just making a goal and working toward it! While trudging through the seemingly long month of January and getting acquainted with the new year, everyone can benefit from setting fresh goals in their relationship. Have a great 2022!