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RELATIONSHIP ADVICE: New Year's Relationship Resolutions

Chances are you already have several New Year's resolutions under consideration for this year.  But I am betting you haven't considered any relationship resolutions.  Rarely do couples discuss resolutions in their relationships.  All of the items below can and should be discussed any time throughout the year but treating them as annual resolutions is an especially good way to talk openly throughout the entire list.

These are wonderful ideas for improving your current relationship and/or all future relationships.  And we all know this: Improve your relationship, improve your life.  So think of these as self-improvement strategies for happiness.   Good luck.

1. Discover a new mutually enjoyable and healthy activity - This one is from the Obvious Department.  It is always an important for couples to find new things to do together.  Mutually enjoyable activities create pathways for better communication, enhance trust levels, and help couples learn about each other.  Start by making a list of possible ideas for activities to do together.  It is important to develop a list of choices for each of you to consider.  A common mistake is banking on a single idea that may be rejected by your partner.  Choices are important.  ONE CAUTION:  Don't ruin the things you like to do individually by doing them together.  For example, if he is an avid golfer and you have never golfed in your life then tread carefully if you would like to golf with him.  The odds are high that he will become very frustrated and possibly embarrassed by your presence with him on the course.  Try it if you want but don't be discouraged if that particular activity doesn't work out.  The idea is to enjoy activities together, not to spoil activities each of you already cherishes. 

2.  Make a new ‘couple friend' - Finding new couples to be friends with is refreshing for every couple.  You will learn about each other when you interact as a couple with others.  Men generally don't like befriending new couples but once they become a fan of a new couple, trust me they will be more open to making more ‘couple friends'.  The process of finding new couples to hang out with starts with working together on a simple list of candidates.  Include neighbors, coworkers, other friends, etc.  Try to focus on established couples versus your roommate and the guy she is about going to go on a third date with.  Pick the best candidates from your list and arrange a night out.  Don't expect every couple to work out perfectly.  In fact I find it is best to keep your expectations low.  If I had to put a number on it I would say a good hit rate is 20%.  This means you will find only about 1 in 5 couples to be compatible.  Don't be discouraged.  You may find some friends for life.

3.  Understand each other's goals for the upcoming year - Making progress as a couple means making progress individually.  It is vital for you to be able to help each other throughout the year in fulfilling your personal and career goals.  The best way to start this is to clearly understand what each of you hopes to accomplish.  If your goals are not very clear to you then this is a good time for some personal introspection to decide what you really want and need.  Once it is clear to you, you can make it clear to your partner. 

4.  Compromise on something big - The problem with most compromises and sacrifices is we are usually unprepared for them because we didn't see them coming!  They tend to surprise and offend us.  So we resist....sometimes to the demise of our relationships.  This is the chance to think clearly about what you are willing to give up for your partner.  Of course it has to be something you know they would like you to give up.  If you have any selfish personal habits such as smoking, start there.  Eliminating a couple of unfortunate habits or behaviors from your relationship can escalate your success as a couple dramatically. 

5.  Stop dating anyone named Gary - This idea was given to me by another DERF writer.  Actually my real advice would be to stop dating anyone named Slade or Eke.  If any ladies out there are interested in dating Derf Bloggers, Slade Dandridge or Eke Onwawnke, i urge you to reconsider.  They are not dateworthy. 

I hope these 5 (really 4) items are helpful.  Of course there are a lot more possibilities but focusing on these 4 will require real commitment.  So get started and keep trying.