In the last few days, I’ve been trying to carve out time to post about relationship resolutions we might set for the coming year.
Despite my resolve, I forgot to factor in ‘tis the season for the flu. Writing about the future seems impossible when our daughter is projectile vomiting, and my wife and I are a tag-team swabbing the decks and keeping our sweet pea hydrated.
It’s impossible both literally—who can write anything when their child is ill?—and figuratively—somehow the future pales when the present is so, uh, tangible.
While my daughter naps, I’ve decided to write a different post, one encouraging us to review where we are now in our marriage in an effort to acknowledge what’s worked well this past year and celebrate our “parent relationship” wins.
Why look back? So we travel into next year more aware of the positive ways we’ve shown up in our lives, our relationships, and our families thus far.
Plus, although New Year’s resolutions can be exciting, 80%-90% of them fail to launch or bite the dust quickly. That’s a daunting failure rate.
Which is why I support a 100% success rate in looking back at last year!
WARNING: Our Inner Critics love to complain about what we could’ve done better, how we’ve failed, what remains to be done. They’re masters of shoulda, woulda, coulda. So in answering the following questions, I urge you to tell your Inner Critics to take a hike, at least until you’ve finished responding. Deal? Good.
Mapping Our Relationship Wins:
In thinking about the last year, answer these questions; better yet, invite your spouse to respond, too, and then share what you both come up with:
What did my beloved and I do well as a parenting team in 2010?
How did we support and sustain our relationship together?
How did our efforts positively impact our parenting and our child/ren?
How did I show up in service of my relationship with my spouse this last year?
How did my mate show up positively in support of our relationship together?
What do I want to acknowledge about our relationship this last year?
What do I want to acknowledge about myself and my spouse?
Mapping Our Relationship Future:
Okay, okay, I can’t resist a wee bit of relationship resolutionizing (yes, you read that correctly) for the future:
If you could shift one thing about how you show up in your relationship with your spouse going forward, what would it be?
I’m not asking what you wish you could change in your mate, or in your relationship together. I’m asking: If you could transform one thing in yourself—with the goal of positively impacting your marriage, your co-parenting, your come-from place with your beloved—what would that one thing be?
What’s important to you about changing that one thing? How do you imagine that shift would affect your relationship with your mate and your child/ren?
If you were to take one step—one baby step, even—to achieve that shift, what would it be? What would inspire you to take that step and, then, another? How can you build that sense of inspiration into your daily life?
A lot of resolutions, New Year’s and otherwise, fail because we’re so focused on outcomes, on the end-game, that we forget to figure out what’s important to us about that outcome, what steps we need to take to take to achieve it, and what support we need—indeed, require—to keep us moving toward it.
So if you’re in the mood for a resolution, do your best to understand what’s important to you about the change you want to make and how you can keep that importance front and center in your daily life.
Not up for making a relationship resolution for the coming year? No worries, because when that year ends, you can opt to review what worked well in your relationship in the preceding 12 months.
We could call it a past-resolution, or maybe a presolution: Our annual effort to honor where our relationship is going by honoring where it’s been.
I’ll drink to that!