Love, Lindsay

Love, Lindsay's 5 Relationship Resolutions For Couples Wanting To Make 2018 Their Best Year Yet

All your relationship questions answered — right here, right now.

Lindsay here, A Plus's resident relationship guru/columnist. While I may not know everything, I do know a lil something about love and our seemingly endless pursuit of it. Having written dozens of A Plus articles about dating, relationships, and sex, I'm ready and willing to investigate all of your romantically-inclined questions (submit here!) — because I've asked them myself. What I hope to bring to A Plus's readers is a sex-positive, body-positive, and most importantly, you-positive perspective on modern love. Consider Love, Lindsay your digital Cupid. 

To celebrate the New Year, I wanted to do something a little different for this week's Love, Lindsay by providing relationship resolutions every couple can try. Following these resolutions can help ensure you and your partner have the best year together yet. 

So, without further ado, here are my top 5 fool-proof, semi-scientifically-proven resolutions, you can start incorporating into your relationship right now and all year long.

1. Find phone-free ways to pass the time.

Phubbing (phone snubbing, or being on your phone while with a partner) has been proven to take a real toll on romantic relationships. In a recent study of 145 adults, phubbing was shown to decrease marital satisfaction, partly because it created conflict over phone use. A follow-up study analyzed 243 married adults and not only found similar results, but also discovered that because phubbing was associated with lower marital satisfaction, it also contributed to a greater likelihood of depression.

This year, I challenge couples not to touch their phones for a minimum of 30 minutes each time they're together. (Loser buys dinner.) Use this phone-free time to strengthen your relationship by learning something new about each other. You can do this by bringing up a topic you'd like your S.O.'s opinion on, or by asking a question you've never asked before. To start, try something silly and sweet, like asking, "If you were going to run away to the circus, what would your act be?" 

Though this phone-free time may seem a little awkward at first, the more you do it, the more satisfying your relationship will be in the long-run.

2. Involve each other in your hobbies.

While it's important to stay independent in a relationship, sharing a hobby can help couples uncover common interests and increase their overall compatibility. 

Whether it's playing video games, board games, crafting, or even LARPing, sharing hobbies is an inventive way for couples to spend time doing something they love with the person they love. Remember, anything is better than looking at your phone screen, and who knows? Your favorite hobby could become theirs too, and vice versa.

3. Don't just go on dates. Share experiences.

I applaud each and every couple who makes time for a special "date night" (especially those with kids), but even something that's supposed to be "special" can start to feel repetitive if it's your only go-to.  

That may explain why a 1993 study found that couples who spent time jointly doing new and exciting activities were more satisfied with their relationships. In 2000, those same researchers conducted another relationship study and, sure enough, discovered the same results. So while trying something new isn't a cure-all for relationship problems, it can help couples deepen their connection. 

To rejuvenate your old routine in the new year, I suggest focusing on sharing new experiences. If you're not sure where to start, think about something you've always wanted to try as an individual and see if it appeals to your partner. This could be anything from rock climbing, to a cooking class, to even bungee jumping or sky-diving. That said, thinking outside the box doesn't have to break the bank. Start small with activities like going on a free historical walking tour, or a hike in an area you've never been. 

4. Start a new tradition.

While you're sharing all these new and exciting experiences, you and your partner might like one so much it becomes a new tradition. Whether it's checking out the same comedy club every Thursday, vacationing to the same place at the same time of year, or simply cooking a new meal every Monday together, any new tradition has the potential to become a treasured memory you and your S.O. can keep making throughout your relationship. 

Next year, when you're looking back at how your relationship has grown and changed, you'll see the overall effect this new tradition has had. Hopefully, it'll have brought you even closer with your partner, and given the two of you one more thing to love about each other. 

5. Do something other than Netflix and Chill.

I love Netflix and chill as much as the next gal (or guy, or mammal, really), but I think all couples can say there have been nights when they've been bored out of their minds binge-watching even the best television. While I understand it's cuffing season until about March, I challenge all couples to bundle up and get out there. Yes, the beginning of the new year is often cold, but it's also beautiful. So you can walk through the snow, check out a winter market, maybe even get in a snowball fight. 

Even if you really don't want to leave the warmth of the great indoors (can't blame you, tbh), you can still look beyond the TV screen by playing board games, playing music and dancing in the living room, making a pillow fort — anything that's just a bit more interactive than sinking into the couch. And of course, all these activities can still easily combine with "and chill."

Now, use these five New Year's resolutions to go forth and prosper with your partner in 2018! 

Love, Lindsay

Cover photo via Matt Popovich on Unsplash

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