A new year means a new start for many — an opportunity to reflect on the past year of your relationship and explore your future together.

 For some, New Year’s relationship resolutions may be just the spark your relationship needs. 

Remember that your relationship constantly evolves as you and your partner spend more time together. What aspect of your relationship was most satisfying? Most frustrating? Were you sexually satisfied last year? If not, what would you like to change? Where would you like to see progress? It is crucial to reflect on yourself and your relationship from time to time to avoid toxic situations which, unfortunately, do come up in any relationship — if we aren’t mindful and get too comfortable. 

I am freshly married, and in April we will celebrate our first anniversary. Even though our relationship is full of passion, love, and understanding, I am aware that we need to work on it constantly. This year we will also become parents, and this will vastly change our dynamic in a variety of ways. I am somewhat fearful that passion and love will take a back seat to our baby’s needs, I know that our relationship will thrive if we are aware  and adaptable to all of the wonderful changes our family is about to experience.

My husband and I are making New Year’s resolutions that we are keen to follow — perhaps these will also inspire you to commit to growth and change. 

Communication.

Communication is essential when discussing any topic, especially since discontent may elicit a defensive response. Take turns — actively listen to each other. Don’t interrupt. Once you have each voiced your opinions, respond to each other calmly and thoughtfully. Avoid commands like “you need to…”; instead, change “you” to “we” and use positive language about your relationship like “I think we could…”. This makes the conversation involve both of you, and you become a team! Before making resolutions for your relationship, here are three tips to consider: 

Set expectations.

Do your best to discuss the things you’d like to change, and analyze how this realistic change would affect your family dynamic. If you and your partner have been struggling, don’t expect change to happen overnight — but have faith that your commitment to each other will guide you toward achieving your relationship goals. Dialogue about where you want your relationship to be in two months, six months, and a year is crucial for growth and happiness in a relationship.

Share your goals.

Good resolutions include specific details and allow you to see the bigger picture. While establishing a stronger relationship may be your over-arching goal, improving your communication about small, everyday topics (like talking about your day at work or what TV show you’ll watch together) break down the goal into specific, attainable objectives. Looking at your relationship this way makes your wide-ranging resolutions less daunting. 

Enjoy the process.

Focus on the means of getting to where you want to be, not just the end goal. Improving your relationship is a process. Enjoy the opportunity to know your partner on a deeper, more intimate level. 

Now that you’re prepared to make resolutions for your relationship, ask yourself — and each other — what exactly do you want to change? The most important issue here is that you both are equally committed to your relationship. Shared goals are the bedrock for relationship success; they provide a purposeful pathway toward meaningful enrichment and allow us to adjust to all of the beautiful changes we will experience. To find out if you and your partner are on the same page, sit down together and answer the following questions:

  • How can we spend more quality time together? 
  • How can we build intimacy, both sexually and emotionally? 
  • What can we both do to improve our friendship?
  • How will we let each other know about our physical and emotional needs? 
  • How will we handle disagreements and bring them to a healthy resolution? 
  • How will we communicate and check in with each other daily? 
  • What is most important to each of us about our relationship? 

If less than half of your answers match your partner, you could use more dialogue.

Wherever your answers differ, talk about them openly and honestly!  Dialogue about where you agree and disagree. Where can you compromise? Find one aspect of your relationship where you share similar goals, and discuss how you can both work toward it this year.

New Year, New Beginnings

If you don’t know where you’re headed, it doesn’t help to try to go there any faster. Before embarking on this year-long journey to a better relationship, work together to establish a course on which you both agree. Relationship resolutions only succeed through mutual effort and communication. TAR Network wishes you a New Year filled with love and compassion!

If you would like to be part of Dr. Jamie’s series “Get Unstuck from TAR and Narcissistic Abuse in 2024” please send an e-mail to mila@TARNetwork.org. Addiction to toxic and narcissistic people is real, and we want to help you set necessary boundaries. Using an analogy from folklore, “TARred & Feathered” will focus on removing – or de-tarring – toxic individuals from your life. Webinars will begin during the week of January 8th. 

About the Author

Mila

Author

TAR Network™ is a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing worldwide awareness and treatment to those whose emotional reality has been distorted by narcissistic abuse. The mission of TAR Network is to support men, women, the LGBTQ+ community, tweens & teens, families, parents who are alienated from their children, workers, and caregivers going through or emerging from TAR. With subject matter experts, affiliates, organizations with supportive resources, and our individual donor community our programs will help you out of the fog and into the light. TAR Network is currently developing several innovative projects: TAR Tales – a safe place to share your truth TAR Centers – a safe place to get vital CPTSD treatment TAR Anon – a safe and nonjudgmental worldwide support network. There is strength in numbers. We’ve all suffered from trauma and abuse at the hands of someone close. Please join us in this worldwide effort toward recovery.

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