As the final days of 2015 wind down, our main focus is to think of all the ways we can better ourselves as individuals in 2016, which is totally great.
But how about the ways we can better ourselves as couples?
There are countless ways to improve the relationships we have with our partners, but sometimes, the simplest actions can have the biggest impact.
Before you sit down to set huge, long-term goals for you and your significant other, think about what you can do now, together, to ensure a fresh (and healthy) start to 2016.
Here's a few to help get you started:
1. Say “Thank You.” (And Mean It.)
Though not intentionally, it’s fairly easy to take for granted everything our partners do for us.
Whether they open your car door, volunteer to do the dishes, let you steal the covers or selflessly give you the last slice of pizza (swoon), it’s so important to let them know how much they’re appreciated.
Think about it: When was the last time you told your partner how much his or her efforts truly mean to you?
Their actions should be valued, not expected.
A simple “thank you” can mean the world, no matter how small the gesture may be.
2. Put The Phones Away During Dinner.
Now, this may sound crazy, but hear me out. How about when it’s time to eat a meal together, we actually eat a damn meal together?!
We're all guilty of scrolling through Facebook while eating, so this is obviously way easier said than done.
But honestly, that video of a panda cub, no matter how adorable, isn't more important than a real conversation with your one and only.
We're constantly glued to our phones, so how about taking an hour to ask your partner about his or her day?
Whether you're at home or in a restaurant, sitting down to dinner is a chance for the two of you to communicate and really listen to each other.
I can’t think of one person who actually enjoys talking to the back of their partner’s iPhone case. (Even if it is a picture of a cat. Still no excuse.)
Seriously, take the time to enjoy each other’s company without all the distractions.
Who knows, you might actually enjoy it.
3. Let It Go.
Here are three very important words to keep in mind: PICK. YOUR. BATTLES.
The problem is this: We all know that, we just don't actually do it.
Before you go off on your partner for making some lame, sarcastic remark about your favorite chick flick, stop and think: Is this really worth the argument?
If you’re someone who loves to argue for the sake of arguing, perhaps 2016 is the time to take it down a notch. Don’t let smallest issues cause the biggest fights. It’s not fair to either of you.
So, the next time your partner orders onions on a pizza after you said specifically said “no onions,” take a deep breath.
They’re just f*cking onions. Pick them off instead of picking a fight.
4. Stop With All The Name-Calling!
Arguments happen, and they suck. Period. Throwing in petty name-calling is a quick way to build resentment and cause a ton of hurt feelings.
Look, I get it. We all say things we don’t mean, especially when we’re pissed off.
However, by making a serious, conscious effort to stay away from excessive cursing and offensive name-calling, we're not only creating a healthier environment for our relationships, but we're likely to resolve arguments so much quicker.
Think about how discouraging and upsetting it is to hear your partner say something extremely sh*tty. Now keep that in mind the next time you feel the urge to yell something stupid out of anger.
Sure, you may think it’s the only appropriate response at the time, but I guarantee you’ll feel like a total assh*le immediately after.
Walk away, take a minute, and compose yourself.
No matter how pissed off you are, there’s never an excuse to put down the person you love. Ever. Now go apologize.
5. Go For A Run.
Get off the couch! Going for a run together can better your mood significantly, especially when the both of you are under a lot of stress.
Additionally, working out with your partner helps increase your motivation. Not only are you getting out and doing something good for your bodies, but you’re doing it together and encouraging each other along the way.
If you’re thinking, “there’s absolutely no way in hell I’m running anywhere,” then okay, fine. Go for a walk! Take a stroll around a pond, through a park, or around your neighborhood. Hold hands, chat about life, and make each other laugh.
Make it a goal to become more active together in ways outside of the bedroom. (Although bedroom activities are still super important, obviously.)
6. Have Important Discussions In Person, Not Through Text Messaging.
I'll be honest: I'm severely guilty of this. When I have something on mind, I have to talk about it at the exact moment it enters my brain, regardless of the topic.
I can tell you from personal experience, though, that there's nothing cute about a stressed-out, angry looking woman stabbing furiously at her smartphone keys.
Even worse, it's a total waste of time.
When you're texting essays back and forth to each other, it's exhausting, it's annoying, and, odds are, things are being completely misconstrued.
Whether you're texting because of a fight, or even something positive, it's so much more effective to wait until you get home.
Make it a goal to think before you text. If it can wait, then wait. Yelling at each other via text is just really unproductive. (And rude.)
7. Say “I love you” As Much As You Can.
Saying “I love you” never gets old. It never gets stale. It is the most intimate and honest thing you can say to your partner.
Try making “I love you” the last thing you say before going to bed at night, and the first thing you say after waking up. Hell, say it whenever you want!
You have to admit, hearing your partner say "I love you" at the end of a really sh*tty day is just what you need. And it's just what your partner needs, too.
Although it's a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, it's a step in the right direction for an incredibly happy 2016.
Make it a goal, as a couple, to make it your best year yet.