Meg Luce: Five ways to give your relationship a fresh start
Hello, 2021! The New Year reminds us of possibility. After the trials of 2020, change is especially welcome. Of course, The New Year is simply a turn of the calendar page, but it represents so much more. By marking significant passages of time, we naturally reflect on our lives and how things are going. The New Year feels like a fresh start, and it’s a reminder to live more intentionally. It’s also a great time to remember that fresh starts for relationships are possible.
It can be exciting to think of saying goodbye to what’s not working in your relationship and inviting in new ways to be together. Matter of fact, you can give your relationship a fresh start any day of the year. You may think, “Really? I can do that?” With some focus and attention, you can absolutely change things up.
It might be easier to think about how you want your partner to change for a “fresh start”; however, this will likely be harder on the follow-through. You’ll have more control over the outcome if you focus on the changes you will make. You can gain satisfaction from living your intentions, and who knows, maybe you will inspire your spouse to do some changing as well.
There are many ways to give your relationship a fresh start. Here are some ideas to stimulate your thinking. What other ideas do you have?
Word to the Wise
Choose a “word of the year” for your relationship focus point. Kindness, honesty, patience, presence; what would be your chosen word to create more of what you want in your relationship? Choosing one word keeps it simple and top of mind.
Rededicate yourself to your relationship with actionable steps. How do you want to show up differently? What do you want to do more of? Bring flowers to say I love you? Up your household cleanup contribution?
What do you want to do less of? Resist landing the perfect zinger? Criticisms, interrupting, or the old favorite — the silent treatment? Let’s put those last few suggestions in “Highly Recommend” for relationship fresh starts.
Revisit the Past
Get out your wedding vows. Do they still fit? Would you like to change them up? It might be fun to read them to each other again and share a toast to the next phase of your union.
While you are strolling down memory lane, take a look at your wedding photos. It could be fun to revisit your early days as a couple and remember the reasons you got together in the first place. Reminisce about the sweet times. Be amazed at how you made it through the tough times.
Clear The Air
If you’re not talking enough, schedule some talking-time. Every relationship has conflicts. It’s impossible to live together with no disagreements unless one of you is entirely checked out. Avoiding talking through your conflicts makes everything feel flat. You can’t prevent disagreements. But you can make disagreements less disagreeable by handling them well. Here’s how: Make time to talk. Bring your adult self to the conversation. Take turns talking and listening. Each person chooses a topic. Take turns talking and listening. That last one bears repeating.
Get the calendar out and carve out date night. OK, “date night” during the pandemic is a challenge. “Dates” could be something as simple as heading to the bedroom with a “do not disturb” sign on the door handle. Take a drive up to the snow. Take a hike and a picnic lunch. A good Netflix binge and yummy snacks qualify as a good pandemic date in my book.
Instead of envying the happiness of other couples, get busy and give your relationship a fresh start. The truth is, that happy couple could be you. Every relationship needs a reboot now and then. Boot out the old and ring in the new. You probably don’t need to ditch your spouse, lose five pounds, or plump up with Botox injections for a fresh relationship. An intentional relationship fresh start will do.
Meg Luce, M.S., is a Marriage and Family Therapist in Grass Valley specializing in helping couples create satisfying relationships. You can find her contact info at https://NevadaCountyTherapist.com
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