We know and have mentioned before that relationships and connection are what make us happy. And yet when it’s time to make a New Year’s Resolution, what do we choose? According to one study, 47 percent of us make self-improvement related resolutions, 38 percent make weight-related resolutions, and 34 percent make money-related resolutions. Only 31 percent of us make relationship-related resolutions. (Respondents could choose more than one answer.) The question didn’t break out romantic from non-romantic relationships, but it’s still fascinating that the response came in last on the list.
I don’t know why we are less likely to make resolutions about improving relationships. Maybe we think our relationships, especially with our significant others, are so deeply grooved that rejuvenation is unlikely. Maybe we underestimate our partners’ willingness to entertain the idea of change. Maybe the idea simply doesn’t occur to us.
Whatever the reason, we’re missing an excellent opportunity. I’d like to challenge you to make a New Year’s resolution to improve your relationship with your partner. It could be as simple as “I will make eye contact when we see each other at the end of the day” or “I will tell my partner one thing I appreciate about him/her every day.” Even simple things increase intimacy, which is the basis for a healthy sexual relationship.
If you have already mastered intimacy, then perhaps make a resolution to try something new in the bedroom—a new position, a new technique, or a new toy. Perhaps you and your partner could decide together what kind of resolution to make. That will increase the comfort level when you actually hit the sheets. On the other hand, don’t underestimate the power of small surprises to reignite passion. As we mentioned in a previous post on the love/desire paradox, we want security and passion, intimacy and mystery, safety and risk. So push that boundary a little and see what happens.
You can increase your chances of keeping your resolution if you:
Be specific. “I will try a new sexual position every month” vs. “I will try new things in the bedroom.”
Tell someone. Preferably your partner! But it could also be a close friend. When others know you have goals, you’re likely to hold yourself more accountable.
Write it down. There’s something about committing it to paper that makes it seem official. And it will help you remember exactly what you committed to!
There are other ways to increase your odds of making your resolutions reality, which is a good thing since only 14 percent of people over 50 keep their resolutions compared to 39 percent of people in their twenties, according to research. Apparently, those of us over 50 need as much help as we can get!
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.