New Year’s has special meaning as a time for starting down a new path because we as a society emphasize starting a new year with a better version of ourselves. There is a lot of significance to be felt through shared rituals, and making New Year’s resolutions is a powerful example of how couples can harness resolutions as a way to nurture their relationships.
Many engaged couples grow closer by making joint resolutions. They may make resolutions related to finances, life events, relationship status or relationship introspection, possessions, experiences, and more. Keep reading for our top ideas for resolutions in each of these categories.
Getting your financial house in order will help prepare you for marriage, and what better time to get started than at the dawn of a new year? Below are some finance-related resolutions you might consider making together.
Pay down debt: If one or both of you have lingering student loans, business loans, credit card loans, or any other type of debt, committing to either pay it off or pay down a certain amount of that debt in 2023 is a great New Year’s resolution. The less debt, the less you have to worry about it negatively affecting your marriage.
Set savings goals: Working towards and achieving goals together is a fantastic way to strengthen your connection. When you get on the same page about your shared savings goals, you decrease the likelihood of money-related conflict while also feeling like you’re on the same team financially.
Invest: Are you and your fiance planning to share some or all of your assets? If so, you might make a resolution to invest a certain amount of money together. If you are interested in going this route, have a conversation together about your investment strategy to make sure you can agree on an approach. Are you more interested in harnessing the power of compound interest by selecting low-risk long-term investments, or is the idea of some higher-yield and higher-risk investments (perhaps in companies or causes you both really believe in) more exciting to you? Or would you prefer a middle ground, with investments diversified across a range of risk categories? If you both can agree on your approach, investing together can help you plan and prepare for your retirement together.
Make retirement plans: If you’re able, starting to save for or, at the very least, plan for your retirement while you’re still young can help you ensure a more comfortable future. If you make a joint resolution aimed at planning your retirement, you can use 2023 to start budgeting and making plans, as well as what form that will take. You can also carve out time and energy in 2023 to reflect on what you both want your retirements to look like, then find commonalities to work towards together. For example, you might think about where you want to live when you retire, how much money you intend to have at your disposal every month after retirement, and what kind of standard of living you expect to have when you retire.
If you find that your answers to these questions are wildly different, then resolving to make retirement plans together presents a great opportunity to find a middle ground (if you’d like to) and share in working to make it a reality. Alternatively, if your retirement expectations are too different and you feel that compromising would breed resentment, you can instead resolve to individually make retirement plans and support each other’s goals without merging them together with your own. Creating separate retirement plans might take a little bit of creativity and flexibility, but the upside is that relationships today no longer must adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach and can be designed and altered according to a couple’s needs and preferences.
Life Event Resolutions
Now that you’re engaged, it’s a good time to start taking big strides toward building the future you envision together. Here are some life event-related resolutions that can help the two of you do just that.
Buy a house: If you’re engaged and you’ve got enough money saved (or almost saved) for a downpayment, you could plan to buy your first house together in 2023. How much more money will you need to save before making a downpayment? Do you have a neighborhood (or list of potential neighborhoods) selected? These are the types of questions you should be discussing.
Career growth: Resolutions concerning career growth could center around changing jobs, aiming for a promotion, asking for a raise, or developing in one’s current position. Some couples make career growth resolutions together, tying their accomplishment to joint goals like going on a special vacation, buying or renovating a house, or starting a family. Making career-related resolutions together also means that you create an opportunity to celebrate one another’s successes in service of the larger goals you’re working towards together. Plus, you can also have fun and build momentum by checking in on each other about how your parallel career goals are coming along.
Start trying for a family: If you and your fiance are ready or close to ready, resolving to make next year the year you start trying to get pregnant can imbue the New Year’s holiday with a special sense of meaning on which you’ll look back fondly for years to come.
Wedding planning resolutions: If the task of planning a wedding seems overwhelming, you can give yourself a push and make it a little more fun by resolving to accomplish certain tasks by certain dates. For example, you could commit to sending the invitations by a certain date, picking out a dress by a certain date, or booking a venue by a certain date. Put your resolutions down in writing and give yourself a little treat (an ice cream at your favorite neighborhood gelato place, for example) every time you check one of the items off the list by the deadline you set as a resolution. Bringing together New Year’s resolutions and wedding planning in this way can help break a colossal undertaking down into small, manageable pieces, each of which is rewarded.
Relationship Status Resolutions
Get married: If you’re engaged and ready to marry but haven’t managed to set a date yet, you can resolve to make 2023 the year you get married. If you’re considering an elopement, you might not need quite as much planning time and could schedule a 2023 spring or summer ceremony; if you plan to have a bigger wedding, you might want to consider the end of 2023 or 2024.
Write your prenup: Have you started talking about your prenup yet? If not, it’s one of the things you’ll definitely want to get squared away well before the wedding. You should start drafting your prenup three to six months before the big day, and you also need to leave yourself enough time to talk and reflect first in order to decide what clauses you want to include. Resolving to write your prenup in 2023 will help take your relationship to the next level by prompting you to make detailed plans for the financial side of your marriage.
Although tangible goals like buying a house or throwing a wedding are solid ways to up your commitment and improve your relationship, introspective activities are equally (if not more) important. Resolving to do some of the following is like weight training for your relationship.
Go to X number of relationship workshops or retreats together: Find a program(s) you align with and plan to attend it/them together. Taking time out to intentionally focus on your relationship in this way is sure to bolster trust, communication, and understanding of one another.
Read or watch X number of books/movies/series’ about relationship psychology: If attending workshops or retreats ain’t your thang, but you still see the value in doing some introspective relationship TLC, pick your favorite type of media and resolve to read or watch something(s) together, then talk about how the principles you learn about apply to your relationship.
Go to therapy or relationship coaching together: This one is especially pertinent to engaged couples in particular. Wedding planning isn’t only about throwing a party and putting together a ceremony; it’s also about getting your communication skills in tip-top shape, anticipating which marital issues you might face, and working on your conflict management skills. Resolving to see a therapist, relationship coach, or premarital counselor can help you deal with issues and make sure your relationship is strong going into marriage.
You deserve to spoil yourselves every once in a while! Resolutions oriented towards acquiring material possessions can be some of the most fun ones to make. They can also be tied to achieving other goals or keeping other resolutions. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.
Put in a pool/jacuzzi: If you love the water and you’ve always wanted more access to it, this could be the year you make it happen. Alternatively, you could plan to put aside a certain amount of money towards this goal every month.
Landscape the yard: Part of getting married is about nesting. You’ve solidified your commitment, and you’re relaxing into that comfort and setting up your physical environment for a lifetime of shared memories. Resolving to landscape your yard in a beautiful way that incorporates both of your tastes can go a long way toward making your house into a home.
The natural complement to material possessions is experience. Adding in some experiential resolutions is sure to keep your relationship feeling fresh and exciting.
Plan more quality time together: We all know what it’s like when the stresses and busyness of daily life slowly erode our free time. After your relationship exits the honeymoon phase, some couples find that despite the best of intentions, they’re just not spending much high-quality time together. Over time, this can cause couples to grow apart. If you’re at all concerned about not having enough time together in 2022, plan to spend more quality time together in 2023.
Take a trip: If you haven’t had the chance to take a truly memorable trip together since the pandemic started, or if you just really love travel, this one’s for you. Make a resolution to take a trip together somewhere special.
Do X number of new things together: They say variety is the spice of life, and it’s well-established that doing new things together is good for relationships. It can keep the spark of novelty alive and even make you see your partner in a new light. You might go to an ice bath and breath work session together, try axe throwing, visit an escape room, or sign up for a wilderness or meditation retreat…the possibilities are endless.
Talking about and making New Year’s resolutions as a couple can help you to define and refine your shared goals. We hope your next year together will be filled with love, closeness, and growth. Happy New Year!
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]