FEATURE — As the year draws to a close, many people reflect on the previous year and anticipate the year ahead. Now is the perfect time to make “relationship resolutions” to become a better spouse or partner.

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Consider these tips to become better together in 2024:

Commit to more fun and adventure. After years together, it is common for couples to fall into relationship ruts and routines. To counter this, intentionally plan to do things together. Consider a getaway after the holidays, or set dates on the calendar to go out or stay home doing something fun together. Plan an event or activity to look forward to this coming year.
Commit to more connection. Life gets busy, and we tend to become more critical when we get comfortable and casual. To stay connected, commit to minimizing distractions. A great place to start is to reduce time on your phones. Other ideas include going to bed at the same time, eating meals together, checking in more frequently throughout the day, expressing appreciation and doing random acts of kindness to express love and affection.
Commit to more understanding and less conflict. All couples disagree. Happy couples find ways to manage differences in healthy ways. It may be leaving a few hurtful words left unsaid, being less reactive and more responsive, or working to monitor your temper, tongue or tone. Happy couples are also more likely to drop grudges, be grateful and be quick to forgive.
Commit to complete financial fidelity. In today’s world of online bank accounts, Venmo and PayPal, it can be tempting to make secretive purchases without your partner knowing. But “sly buys” can break trust and create resentment. Perhaps you could consider combining bank accounts if necessary or coming clean about credit cards. Commit to sitting down together at least once a month to review finances, reconcile accounts and budget for purchases. When you both know where your money goes, it can create a feeling of peace and openness to more connection.

As you look at making personal improvements in 2024, consider making relationship improvements as well. Commit to connect. Plan to be more playful. Think to thank. Give your time and attention to making your marriage a priority. It is worth the effort!

Written by DAVID SCHRAMM, Utah State University Extension family life specialist.

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