Most of my New Year’s resolutions fail because a goal without a disciplined plan is just wishful thinking. I’ll want to lose a few pounds, but I won’t want to give up my daily ice cream habit. I will want to save more money, but I also want to keep spending money at the current rate and buying a $5 latte every time I drive past a Starbucks. I’ve learned the hard way that wanting something isn’t enough to bring lasting change. My actions, and specifically, my habits, have to change.
If you want next year to be your BEST year of marriage yet (and I hope you do), then it will require changing some habits. Improving your marriage has the potential to improve every other aspect of your life as a result (and you don’t even have to give up eating ice cream)!
For the sake of your marriage, please COMMIT to all of these! When we’re committed to something, we make a way, when we aren’t, we make an excuse.
7 marriage improvement goals and resolutions for the new year (in no particular order)…
1. Create some shared goals
The New Year is usually marked by individual goals, but it’s rewarding to work towards shared goals in partnership with your spouse. The shared encouragement and accountability can also make success more likely than when we do it on our own. Sit down together and create some BIG goals for the new year!
2. Plan some celebrations
Once you’ve made your shared goals, plan ahead what you’ll do to celebrate once the goal is reached. This will give you something new to look forward to. For instance, “We’re going to eliminate $1000 in debt, and when we do, we’re getting a babysitter and going out to dinner at our favorite place (and paying cash instead of charging it).”
#3 requires some logistical planning, but it’s SO worth it…
3. Plan at least one getaway together without kids (out of town)
The year is wide open so get the calendar out and mark a getaway for you and your spouse with no kids. You can figure out the logistics later. Make it happen. It will give you something to look forward to and it will create some great new memories together. The out-of-town trip could be a “celebration” to make the achievement of one of your shared goals.
4. Have more sex
It takes more than sex to build a great marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a great marriage without it! Check out our new book “Naked and Healthy” which is a powerful resource to help married couples increase health in all areas of their life, including their sex life. We also have another book called The Naked Marriage which could help spark some great conversations and help you build more intimacy with your spouse both inside and outside the bedroom!
#5 might seem intimidating, but it could be the most meaningful item on the list…
5. Grow in your faith together
I firmly believe that the strongest marriages are built on a foundation of faith. The more you love God, the capacity you will have to love each other. One practical way to do this is to go through a Bible reading plan together.
6. Laugh more
Laughing more may sound like a silly resolution, but it’s a very serious one. Laugher infuses your marriage with joy. Find activities that bring about more laughter and fun and be intentional about doing them more often this year.
#7 is one of my main marriage goals for the new year. It’s simple in theory, but it can be really difficult when we try to put it into practice…
7. Turn the electronics OFF and spend more real “Face Time” together
Create more time together without digital distractions, smartphones, and TVs competing for your attention. Talking with your spouse is always more beneficial than staring at a screen. Block off certain time(s) that will be “unplugged” this year. It will make a huge difference. It might be the simplest goal on this list, but it could also prove to be the most helpful.