As we approach the new year it is a good time to look back and to look ahead. First to look back at this last year and review what worked well in your relationship and where improvements can be made in the new year.
Often there is a break in work and school schedules between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Find several hours at home or on a getaway trip to talk. Find a quiet place or go out to a coffee shop and sit down and make a list together of what went well for the two of you as a couple this last year. Assign one person as the note taker and write down times that you supported each other in achieving a goal, changed old patterns so that one person didn’t do all the cooking, kids activities, etc. Take your time and find out what really did go well and reminisce how that felt to both of you.
On another piece of paper write down what didn’t go so well in your relationship. Be honest and make note of misses in communication, unkind words and the times that you felt you didn’t get the support and help you needed. It is natural that the “misses” are easier to list as the impact of the negatives outweighs the positive in our psyches. That is why it is good to have at least five positives.
Put those lists aside for now and start another one. This one is what you want to accomplish together this coming year. Think about what is important for you both to have or create and make a list of those things.
Break the list down into four categories:
Under Emotional put things you want to have more feelings as a couple such as more connection, expressions of love and affection.
Under Physical put things you want that are more body oriented such as giving and receiving massage, hand holding, one minute hugs or going to the gym together. It could include taking better care of yourselves and having a more sensual connection.
Under Spiritual put things like a shared vision of prosperity and abundance. List affirmations about the life you want to be leading with an emphasis on the positive and how you want to grow in your life.
Under Practical put things like addressing your financial goals, looking at saving more and creating funds for vacations. Also list house projects that you want to do together.
At the same meeting or later get a large sheet of paper and colored felt pens or crayons. First draw an outline of a shield for a coat of arms. The shields date back to the royalty in Europe in the middle ages. The royal families created a motto and put symbols on them to show who they were and what they valued. This is for the two of you to draw up your own “coat of arms” with your own symbols that you draw, color and embellish on the shield.
Take your time and have fun with this. Use your imaginations and get creative with the symbols that represent the garden you want to create, travel plans and the deeper heart connection you truly desire in the new year. Come up with a couple or family motto that stands for your values. Maybe something like: “Always Faithful”, “Never Give Up” or whatever rings true.
After you are done stand back and appreciate your crest together. It will be a great reminder that you can keep coming back to as you progress through the year. When you are feeling lost or without a goal get your shield out and see your motto and symbols to help renew your values and sense of purpose.