Please go here to see full image for the 10 New Year's Resolutions for 2011 for Your Marriage.
1) Make relationship goal-setting a priority- before weight loss or cutting back on drinking or smoking.
Since close to one out of every two first marriages end in divorce- and generally within 4 to 7 years- with extraordinarily detrimental effects to our health, we should switch our focus from personal to relationship improvement. The health benefits of marital fitness are monumental!
2. Spend more time together
Plan regular date nights that are considered sacred time. I am convinced that the number one cause for divorce is that couples aren't spending enought time together. Everything becomes more important than being toegher- kids, work, extended family, hobbies, community responsibilities, and so on. But the truth is, if you don't make your marriage a priority, you won't stay married over the long haul. Marriages put on the back burner end up in divorce court.
3. Spend at least ten minutes every day checking in with each other
Picture yourself changing in 2011
Don't let a day pass without finding out how your spouse is doing. It's like putting blood in the blood bank. When the going gets tough, you will be able to draw on your savings! And when you check in, truly listen to his or her response. Don't multitask or it won't count!
4. Tell your spouse three things you appreciate about him or her EVERY DAY
Focus on what works in your relationship and what your spouse does well. What you focus on expands. And don't just notice the positive things, tell your spouse about your gratitude!
5. Don't go to sleep angry
Although this is not always easy, especially when you think you're right, declaring a moratorium before you start sawing zzzz's will make for a fresh start in the morning. And by the way, you can still be somewhat angry and follow this advice anyway. It will begin to melt the ice.
6. Touch, flirt and have sex regularly
Picture yourself changing in 2011
For many, touch is the language of love. And if you're married to someone whose love language is touch, you can say, "I love you," until the cows come home, or make wonderful dinners, be a fabulous bread winner and it won't make one bit of difference. With what we now know about boosting libido, there is no reason that anyone wanting a more robust sex life can't have one. Touch is the tie that binds.
7. Brag about your spouse to others in his or her presence
There's a saying, "Let me see what I (you) say, so I know what I (you) think." Speaking in glowing terms about your spouse in front of others feels like a public endorsement and that feels good.
8. Speak from the heart frequently
Although one partner is usually more verbal than the other, regular discussions about personal/emotional issues makes people feel closer and more connected.
9. Learn how to fight fairly
In all marriages, conflict in inevitable. However, how you fight can be the difference between lifelong relationship growth and divorce. We have learned so much in the last decade about what makes marriages work and successful conflict resolution is one such skill. We learn about relationships from our own parents' marriages. And if we weren't fortunate enough to have great role models, then there is no reason that we should know how to deal with conflict lovingly. The good news is that conflict resolutions skills can be learned in marriage education classes. These classes are not therapy. You don't have to talk personally about your problems. You just go to learn. Then you go home and apply what you've learned.
10. Start the year with a clean slate- forgive. Remember, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself
If you have been holding a grudge, it has taken a toll on your life. Now is a great time to decide to let go. Don't fool youself into thinking that forigveness is just something that happens, it isn't. You have to decide to forgive. And don't confuse forgiveness with condoning someone's behavior. You are not condoning behavior, you are simply deciding that bearing a grudge is doing you and everyone in your family a great disservice. Forgive and watch your life beome lighter and more loving. Remember, no one is perfect, not even you! Happy 2011!
Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more marriage saving advice.