Relationships rarely thrive without some effort from both partners. That’s why we asked three relationship experts to offer their tips on setting resolutions that truly boost our romantic bonds. Here are 12 resolutions to help your relationship flourish in 2013.
1. Put your relationship first.
Clinical psychologist Meredith Hansen, Psy.D, suggested partners “Make each other a priority.” For instance, check in with each other during the day, spend quality time together during the week or go on a date at least once a month, she said.
2. Set tech-free zones.
For instance, have tech-free evenings from 8 to 10 p.m. or tech-free days like Sunday, said Silvina Irwin, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist who also leads workshops for couples. Or rather than checking email in the morning, connect over your cups of coffee, she said. This lets you give each other more attention and cultivates conversation, she said. “It also communicates to your partner ‘You are important to me and you are worthy of my undivided attention,’” she said.
3. Work on your communication.
“Communication is always the place I encourage folks to start out from as they set out to make new resolutions,” said Jeffrey Sumber, M.A., a therapist, author and professor. For instance, strive to be kind and respectful, he said. Create a set of rules both of you will follow during difficult conversations, he said. And try to listen more than you talk, he added.
4. Be more affectionate.
Be affectionate with each other, even if it’s brief, Irwin said. Hold hands, hug, cuddle before bed, kiss hello and goodbye and sit close together, according to Irwin and Hansen. “Research shows that people reap enormous benefits from hugs lasting as little as 20 seconds, including decreased blood pressure, decreased heart rate, decreased levels of stress, and increased release of oxytocin,” Irwin said.
Read more: Margarita Tartakovski, Psych Central