Can you listen a little more carefully? Can you communicate when you are not sure what has been said? Does your spouse mumble? Have you stopped listening and just let them mumble? Are you surprised when it turns out that they said something you needed to know? It is fair to ask your spouse to speak clearly and directly. Be sure to reward them with acknowledging the effort if they make an improvement. And expect them to acknowledge your making the effort to pay better attention as well.
Intimacy can be tricky. Illness, tiredness, children, a heavy workload, and underlying issues of trust and attraction can all interfere with intimate relations. Can you resolve to make the effort? Can you resolve to be fully present when you have physical contact – even if it is just a hug or holding hands? Finding time to be close can be an effort. As cliché as it sounds there is nothing wrong with date night. Twice a month is only 24 evenings or afternoons or mornings that you have to commit to carving out for each other.
Making time is important for intimacy, but for other things too. Are there things you used to enjoy together that you no longer do? Is there something you are excited about that you would like to share? What about an evening check in? Texts messages that are not about picking up dry cleaning or who will be cooking, but are focused on the things that make you day better. Send her a picture of the squirrel outside the office. Send him a note about how much you enjoyed date night. It doesn’t have to a huge amount of time, but it can be a pick-me-up to hear from someone who isn’t asking for something or telling how behind you are.
A lot of this is about communicating. How fast do you get to anger? Do you hear the whole story before you blame or shut your spouse down? Will resolving to take a deep breathe and count to ten before replying help? Maybe to only fight about the one thing that is a problem this moment, rather than everything that has gone wrong in the past? Can you say please and thank you – and mean it? If this is not easy maybe the underlying problems are bigger than you think. Are you willing to try counseling?
Maybe when you outline your resolutions for the new year, you can outline one or two for your relationship as well as your waist-line or your bottom-line.
Happy New Year!