Happy 2014 everyone!
I have to say that it's great to be back from maternity leave and blogging again. I'm looking forward to 2014 for me and my family.
This time of year, everyone is talking about what they want to change. Many of those things have to do with eating better, exercise, or saving money. But I want to bring attention to people's relationships in the new year.
This is a great time to think about what we can do to be a better partner. I will be taking this on as my own 2014 resolution. After having my son three months ago, I've learned that I put my partner on the back burner. In my office at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center, we use the concept of taking care of yourself first, then your partner and then your children. I know this is not easy to hear, and trust me as a new mom I know it now to be even harder. But I still stand by it. I know that when I get a free moment with my husband, we don't take advantage of it.
Brier Jirka is a sex therapist with the Methodist Physicians Clinic Women's Center. She blogs every other Tuesday.Read more from Brier.
My resolution for 2014 is that no matter how sleep deprived I am, no matter how over-touched I feel from my son holding on to me all evening, I will make an effort to show my husband that I value him and our relationship.
Here are five ways you can make your relationship better for 2014:
Say, "thank you."
I know this sounds so simple, but it's something we forget so often that it becomes more meaningful when we remember. It allows our partner to know that we are thankful to have them and their help.
Spend more time together at night.
How many of you come home from work and barely speak with your partner? How often are you really together? In my clinic, many of my couples do not go to bed at the same time. This is one of the first things I recommend doing. Even if you are on different schedules, it allows a couple time in the evening to talk and be together. If that is not possible, sit on the couch and cuddle instead of going to bed right away.
Find a babysitter.
When was the last time you had a date night, even if it was just for an hour? I know babysitters can be expensive, but budget it into your expenses. If nothing else, set up a babysitter swap with your neighbors or other friends with children.
Have more fun.
Laugh together. Try something new as a couple. Cook together. See a movie together. Humor is one of the best medicines anyone or a relationship can have. If you can laugh together you have a strong base from which to grow. You can't take things in life too seriously.
Be more intimate.
We have intimacy with many people in our lives, but we share sexual intimacy with our partners. I do not just mean intercourse or sex, I mean connecting on a sexual/romantic level. There are going to be nights where you or your partner say, “I'm tired” or “not in the mood.” Instead of looking at sexual intimacy as an obligation or something we have to do, choose to do it. It is amazing how a change in perception and motivation can change the outcome of the situation. Sexual intimacy is an important part to any romantic couple's relationship.
While January is a time to make new resolutions, remember that it's important to prioritize your relationship year-round.