Are New Year’s resolutions a waste of time?
Oscar Wilde believed so. He said, “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.”
But I don’t recommend taking advice from cynics. There’s a lot of power in positive thinking, especially when it’s combined with action. What action? Well, if you want a healthier marriage in 2012, here are four simple suggestions.
Have regular date nights. If there was a magic pill I could prescribe for instant intimacy, this is it. In the hustle and bustle of family life, it’s easy to forget what first drew you together as a couple. This serves as your weekly reminder. Don’t have the time? Make it. Don’t have the money? Talk is cheap.
Laugh — uproariously and frequently. Laughter isn’t just fun, it’s therapeutic. In fact, humour is so healing it’s actually prescribed by many therapists. So, don’t sweat the small stuff and learn to giggle, together, at life’s bizarre twists and turns. Choose comedies over nighttime soaps (my very cerebral husband splits a gut over America’s Funniest Home Videos), tickle, wrestle, get your silly on and you’ll find that the fun is contagious.
Hug, three times a day. Simply hold each other for 10 seconds. Touch is not only good for our physical health, it’s good for our marital health; it reconnects partners, it dissolves emotional barriers. It doesn’t have to lead to sex — although it could. (Read more on the power of touch.)
Flip the switch. Thoughts create mental pathways, ruts in our cognitive road map. The more we think a thing, the more likely it is we will think it again, and again (and again). Don’t go there. Literally. Think something else, instead. It’s that easy. Instead of blaming, try reframing. Did he arrive home late from work all week because you aren’t a priority, or because he is working hard for the family? Are the dishes piled up in the sink because she doesn’t care about the house, or because she’s exhausted after an afternoon spent baking for the school bake sale? A little benefit of the doubt goes a long way.
I asked my Twitter followers to share what they resolved to do for their marriages in 2012. Here’s a sampling. What are yours? Post a comment, below, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
“My rez is for hubby and I to be in bed at the same time for at least four hours every night.” –@sampsonkris
“I want to learn how a man’s mind works!” -@fannyfresco
“One-on-one time without cell phones, iPads and laptops.” – @jenndunstan
“How about a baby? Now that’s a resolution.” –@tanyawatt
“I’m not sure I can keep it to 140 characters…” –@emmawaverman
“I guess it’s not nice to have resolutions for my spouse?” –@spchronicles
Thanks to an avid reader who, in response to my column on how to fight fair suggests fighting naked. Great idea! Wearing a silly hat also defuses the conflict.