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It's not too late to make a New Year's resolution to improve your relationship

Posted at 1:19 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 15:19:13-05

If you want a happier and healthier relationship in 2022, you don't necessarily need a major overhaul of your love life.

Relationship Coach Val Baldwin says just setting a few, well-defined goals can make a big difference over the next year.

Here are a few of her ideas that couples can do on a regular basis.

1. Put limits on your phone use.
Screen time limits aren't just for kids : Adults can benefit from this rule too. One of the biggest complaints most marriage counselors hear is that their partners are constantly on their phone or iPad. This year, both of you agree to commit to unplugging for a set period of time each day, whether that's before breakfast in the morning or an hour before bed at night. It's important for each of you to know that you are more important to your partner than their phone is.

2. Designate time each day to connect with your partner.
Just as you put doctor's appointments and work meetings on your calendar, you should be just as intentional when it comes to making time for your partner.
Something as simple as trying out a new recipe or playing a board game can increase connectivity, improve communication skills and increase relationship satisfaction. To make the most of this time, turn off distractions and tune into each other.

3. Make a weekly sex date with your partner.
When life gets busy, sex is often one of the first things to go away. Scheduling sex may not sound all that sexy, but doing so ensures it will actually happen — even when you are both really busy. Dedicating time for physical connection means reaping benefits like improved intimacy in the relationship, reduced anxiety and a deeper love. Let go of the goals around spontaneous sex and set the intention of a time where you can give and receive pleasure with your partner.

4. Schedule monthly money talks.
According to numerous research studies, 70% of married couples argue about money — making it a more common source of conflict than other topic like household chores or sex. Too often, couples will put off having these conversations for too long or they avoid discussing finances altogether.
After a couple of months of spending during the holidays, January is usually filled with dread as the credit card bills come due. Make a commitment to once or twice a month sit down for 15 minutes and talk about your finances together. Do this proactively rather than reactively and your relationship will definitely be better for it.

5. Practice gratitude daily.
Gratitude is strongly and consistently linked to greater happiness. And the benefits of showing gratitude can positively impact everything from your own physical and mental health to your relationship. Make a resolution as a couple to express your gratitude more often and in meaningful ways. Become more aware of the things your partner does to help you and your relationship thrive. Then let your partner know what it means to you and share your gratitude. That might mean remembering to say thank you for even the basic things your partner does, like taking the dog for a walk or packing the kids lunches.

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