New Year, New Relationship Intentions

Setting relationship intentions is a great way to work together with your partner to improve your relationship and get closer. One great time to set new intentions is – you guessed it – the New Year! Everyone is already creating New Year’s resolutions – why not do a version of that for your relationship?

Just remember that “intentions” are not the same as “goals.” Intentions are a direction you want to go in to improve your relationship rather than a rigid target you’re trying to hit.

How do you and your partner set these intentions?

Set Aside Time and Make a Plan – Together

Dedicate time to discuss the highs and lows of your relationship over the past year. Reflect on themes like communication, disagreements, quality time, deepening your connection, and intimacy. 

Answer these questions individually and then share your responses. Identify common ground and differences. For shared goals, create a plan to achieve them collaboratively. Address divergent answers with open dialogue, seeking convergence for the year ahead.

Establish Ground Rules for Constructive Dialogue

This means you need to emphasize taking turns, active listening, and staying present. Despite their apparent simplicity, adhering to these rules requires effort, especially when discussing sensitive topics. 

Be generous with each other and frame responses in a way that focuses on shared responsibility. Phrases like "We need" or "We could" foster a sense of teamwork rather than pointing fingers.

Remember This Is a Continuous Process

Significant relationship changes take time. Setting intentions, not rigid goals, acknowledges that behavioral shifts are a continuous process. 

Expect to revisit and adjust your plan periodically. Celebrate successes and discuss areas for improvement. Consider setting smaller resolutions as mile markers, making progress more visible and allowing for a sense of accomplishment along the way.

This is a good thing, because you don’t want your relationship to have a final destination. The only thing “final” is when a relationship ends or you stop trying. In a continually evolving relationship, the ultimate aim should be finding ways to enhance the journey for both partners. 

Let 2024 be a year of intentional growth and continuous improvement in your relationship. And if you discover you need help as you embark on this journey, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Walt Ciecko, Ph. D., BCB
605 Wynyard Rd
Wilmington, DE 19803