Last year, I wrote about 5 new year's resolutions that you could make to enhance your relationship in 2011. Then, I wrote about a few of those resolutions again here, here, and here. Well, 2011 has come and gone and it's that time of year again. Below are my (and maybe some of your) relationship resolutions for 2012.
- Avoid criticism. Hus and I are pretty good about this one, but every once in awhile, criticism will creep back into our communication interactions. So, what is criticism? Well, it's different from complaining (which can actually be helpful in your relationship). Where complaints can sometimes be helpful (allowing people to take note and possibly make a change), criticism tends to attack a person's character by blaming and generalizing the issue beyond the behavior in question. For example, "I felt like you didn't support me yesterday when I was sad" is an example of complaining, while "You never support me" is an example of criticism. Researchers agree with the idea that criticism tends to have negative outcomes. In fact, criticism has been linked to feelings of embarrassment (Fitness, 2001) and lower relationship satisfaction (Cutrona, 1996) within the person being criticized. Eliminating words like "always" and "never" when describing your partner's behavior will help with this. Be specific when complaining about something your mate has done to upset, sadden, or infuriate you. It can be terribly hurtful and damaging to your relationship when you criticize the person you love. You can read more about criticism here.
- Have an out-of-the-house date night at least once a month. Last year, one of my suggestions was to have a date night at least twice a month. This hasn't gone over too well in our house. With two kids and otherwise hectic schedules, it has been very difficult to get out for a night on the town. Don't get me wrong, we've definitely been able to have several in-the-house date nights after the kiddos go off to bed, but getting out--not so much. So this year, I really want to try to have an out-of-the-house date night once a month. In fact, Hus and I have planned a date night next weekend for January. Here's hoping we can keep this one up for all 12 months!
- Say "I'm sorry" more often. You know, I make my kids do this several times a day, but I seem to forget the importance of taking responsibility for my own actions. Saying "I'm sorry" is something that many of us, including myself, forget to do. So many times, Hus will be upset about something I said or did and I'll brush it off by telling him, "I didn't mean that; quit being so sensitive!" And writing it out doesn't make me feel so great. I usually want to take it back right after I say it, too. It's a terrible ting to say. It's important to take responsibility for my intended or unintended actions. Because at the end of the day, I hurt Hus' feelings. So, it doesn't really matter if I meant it or not. I need to just say, "I'm sorry" and work towards a solution to make things better. Click here to read more about apoligizing.
These are my relationship resolutions. Do you have any relationship resolutions for 2012?
- Cutrona, C. E. (1996). Social support as a determinant of marital quality: The interplay of negative and supportive behaviors. In G. R. Pierce, B. R. Sarason, & I. G. Sarason (Eds.). Handbook of social support and the family. New York: Plenam Press.
- Fitness, J. (2001). Betrayal, rejection, revenge, and forgiveness: An interpersonal script approach. In M.R. Leary (Ed.). Interpersonal rejection, (pp. 73-103). New York: Oxford University Press.