New Year, Renewed Love

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The beginning of a new year brings about resolutions and ways to improve the things that didn’t work the year before. It’s a time when people set goals and vow not to continue making the same mistakes from the past. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, New Year’s offers a feeling of renewal and a chance to start over. Living in this fast paced society, change is a constant and normal part of life. There is always something you will want to change about yourself, and always something you will want to change about others, even the people you love. But rather than focusing on changing your relationships, perhaps it is more important to focus on maintaining them.

With the craziness of holidays and the coming and going of friends and family, it can be easy to move “maintaining the relationship” to the bottom of your list of things to do. However, this time of year often produces unwanted stress and it is important to support, and have the support of, your partner during these times. It’s easy to get caught up in life, but remember to take time to slow down and enjoy the relationships in your life. As the new year begins, take time to renew the love between you and your partner.

Here are a few tips from The National Healthy Marriage Resource center on how to maintain a healthy relationship:

1. Spend time with each other. It is important to spend time with your partner to ensure there is room for the relationship to grow. It is always a good idea to have a date night for you and your partner to have intimate quality time together. Another idea is to take advantage of the holidays and vacation time and plan for a quick getaway. Relationships require work and time, and spending time together is a good way to learn about each other while connecting with your partner.

2. Show respect for each other at all times. Research shows that nothing can damage a relationship quicker than put-downs and criticism. Once a lack of respect occurs, it is easy for a couple to fall into a pattern of negative habits. During time with family and friends, it is especially important to show support for each other. Cutting your partner down in front of others, even if in a joking manner, can cause a lot of harm.

3. Explore Intimacy. It is important to know the difference between sexual and emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is an important aspect of the relationship and allows you and your partner to express your true emotions without feeling judged or unappreciated.

4. Improve your communication skills. Learning to really listen to your partner is a skill that takes time to develop, but one that is of the utmost importance in relationships. Learn when to listen to your partner and when to offer advice versus comfort. Never assume that the other person know what you are thinking and feeling… They don’t! Being open and honest is key in maintaining a relationship.

5. Forgive each other. At some point in the relationship, your partner is going to do something that hurts your feelings, frustrates you, or makes you really angry. The key here is to learn and practice forgiveness. Don’t dwell on arguments or hold grudges for the rest of your relationship. It is important to learn to apologize, forgive, and move on.

So as 2010 begins to move forward, remember it’s not all about the new. Focus on the relationships already present in your life, and look forward to a renewed love and support in the new year.

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