With the dawn of a new year, many of us take the time to look back and reflect on what’s come before. It might be your eating habits, your health, or your job, and it might be your relationship.
While we often associate New Year and the resolutions that come with it with bad things that need to change, change is not always getting rid of something bad!
We can all improve. Getting better at something doesn’t mean you were bad before – it just means you’re better. We can all improve our relationships, and that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us.
Start with yourself
A little self-reflection never hurts anyone, so take the time to think about who you are, in relation to other people – especially your partner. Not that your relationship defines you, but you do define your relationship. So, think about it. How do you act? What do you do that’s good for the relationship? How can you improve?
Improving might mean thinking about the types of things you can do more, like listening to your partner. It might mean reacting to things differently, or working to control negative emotions. But don’t just leave it there…
This might seem obvious, but it’s important that when you recognize things in yourself, that you make changes where you need to. Being self-aware is great, but it’s pretty pointless if you don’t actually act on what you are aware of.
If it helps you, make a list of actionable steps you can take to change. Focus on your emotions when they come, and train yourself to know the best way to act in that moment. It might even be good to journal about what works and what doesn’t work so that you can make a positive change in your relationship.
Think about your partner
It’s not being ungrateful to recognize things in your partner that upset you or are difficult for you. It’s being honest. Because you and your partner are two different people, you will have differences, even if a matchmaker has found you the “perfect” partner.
So, think about things with your partner that cause you to struggle, but remember you can’t force anyone to change. Also, remember that it’s not all about you – your partner has a right to be themself. Don’t expect them to change something important about them just because it’s your preference.
Talk to each other
Making a positive change in your relationship requires communication – solid communication. Communicate your wants and needs, but also listen to your partner’s wants and needs as well. Come to an understanding. Figure out what change works for both of you.
Change doesn’t have to be huge. Sometimes, it’s small things – like working to clean up the counter when you’re done in the kitchen. It could mean calming yourself down when you’re angry. Whatever the change is, it’s a good change as long as you and your partner are happy.