Your Complete Guide to New Year’s Relationship Registration
The start of a new year naturally makes us reflective and hopefully a little more optimistic. We say that this year we will finally focus on our health, our well-being and our relationships. Of course, life often gets in the way, but there’s nothing wrong with setting goals and prioritizing the areas of your life that you want to improve.
To do this, you need to start somewhere. If one of your goals for the new year is to strengthen your relationship, figuring out where to start can seem difficult – you can think about and set all the goals you want, but there’s another person in the mix whose own thoughts, goals, don’t not to mention their willingness to participate will also make a difference. The key is to start with yourself and work from there. Here’s how to do your annual relationship check as you start the new year together.
First, conduct a personal review
According to Alyssa Mancao, a licensed clinical social worker and author of The Knot , before you get involved with your partner, you should ask yourself a few relationship questions:
- How do I feel about how things are going?
- What things in a relationship do I need to see more or less of?
- Is there anything I can change about myself to improve my relationship satisfaction?
- How do these relationships support my growth as a person?
- Is there anything I need from my partner to feel supported in my own growth?
- How do I feel about our quality time together?
- What was the best thing about our relationship over the past year?
- What was the most difficult thing in our relationship over the past year?
In addition, consider your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical needs and determine how satisfied you are with each of those needs.
Obviously, this is quite a checklist, so journaling can help you organize your thoughts. It will definitely help to write down your answers before bringing them to your partner. Then send them questions as well and ask them to answer honestly and thoughtfully. Next step: Take time to discuss your answers together.
Scheduling a discussion to discuss the answers to the questions above is a great way to kick off the new year, but the global “schedule” is key. You don’t want your partner to feel caught off guard, otherwise it will look not like a conversation, but like an expression of resentment. You must by all means continue to communicate with each other about the state of the relationship for the next 12 months, but now a more structured conversation will also help guide these negotiations.
“This should be done anywhere you can talk with some privacy,” Mancao said. “It’s better to [set] a time when you both feel regulated, calm and collected, so having this kind of conversation right before a stressful meeting or right after a busy day isn’t a good idea.”
Mancao suggested picking a time when you know you’ll be both rested and full, which will help reduce stress and irritability. Consider breakfast or lunch, and maybe do it in the kitchen, but whatever you do, don’t talk about it in the bedroom. That space “should be reserved solely for intimacy and sleep,” Monaco said.
Make a plan
Mancao emphasized the importance of preparing for the meeting in the new year and discussing specific issues at the table (or on the couch). Don’t be afraid to refer to your notes, which should cover issues as well as your proposed solutions, whether you want to improve intimacy, strengthen intimacy, spend more time together, or whatever. (If you need help getting started, here’s a guide on how to get through your sexual dry spell , and a guide on how to decide if you need a couples therapist .)
You must be open and honest during this process, which is of course easier said than done.
“Sometimes it’s hard to be honest with ourselves when we’re struggling to figure out what our personal truth is,” Monaco said. “During this meeting, inquire about your partner’s needs by asking him questions to help him understand what he is experiencing inside.”
Be kind but firm and focus on solutions more than problems. (After all, that’s what New Year’s resolutions are about.) Don’t forget to highlight the good things too – positive reviews and encouragements are just as important and will be much better received than a list of complaints.