3 Tips to Make 2014 the Best Year Ever for Your Marriage We can always improve our relationship and it doesn't need to feel like a monumental task—just follow these simple tips. BY ELLIOTT CONNIE
Everyone can improve upon something in their marriage and it doesn't need to be a difficult task.
“ We often neglect the power of noticing progress as we're waiting for a task to be completed.”
If you're like most people, you have big hopes for the coming year. In fact, you're probably hoping that 2014 will be better in lots of ways than last year was—even if 2013 was an amazing year for you. Whether you'd like to advance your career, improve your personal health, or improve some other area of your life, the New Year is a great time to establish new habits and commit to improving, changing, and growing.
One area that we always want to be going well is our marriage. Here are three key strategies that will make 2014 a great year for you and your spouse to remember.
Make a "future year in review" list with your spouse. Have a conversation with your partner as if the coming year had already passed and create a list of all of the things the two of you would like to have accomplished during the calendar year 2014. For example, "Imagine that it's December 31, 2014, and we're reviewing the year and realizing we've had the best year since we've been together. What things must have occurred?" This type of question will help you and your partner focus on the details of success instead of making requests of each other or using blaming language about some problem that may have occurred in the previous year. The focus is simply on establishing goals and ideas for 2014.
Schedule regular goal-tracking discussions. As the year unfolds, establish a habit of having weekly or bi-weekly discussions to notice signs that the goals you two established at the beginning of the year are being accomplished and progress is being made. This is very important. We often neglect the power of noticing progress as we're waiting for a task to be completed. However, noticing progress is the wind behind the sail of accomplishment, and without it the goal becomes less likely to be completed. Also, having frequent conversations about progress toward mutually beneficial goals will keep the mood of the relationship positive.
Notice signs that other areas of your life are also improving. Our lives are very much like a baby mobile—if you touch one part of it, the whole thing moves. So, as you spend time working to improve your marriage, undoubtedly other areas of your life will somehow also improve. Pay close attention to these signs so that your perception stays oriented toward positive experiences and allows you to catch all that is good in 2014.
As you can see, the key to having a great year and accomplishing some great things in 2014 is being able to be positive and focused on progress instead of letting the problems become an overbearing part of your life and relationship. I hope these tips help you and your love spouse make 2014 the best it can be!
Elliott Connie is a best-selling author, well-known couples therapist, and an internationally known speaker and teacher who trains clinicians in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy around the world. His newest book is "The Solution-Focused Marriage." Learn more at www.elliottspeaks.com and follow him on Google+.