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One New Year’s Resolution a Couple Can Make Together

Maybe you’ve already made a resolution or two for the New Year. Have you and your partner ever made one together? Choosing one that you’re both likely to keep can do wonders for your relationship. One is the key word, because keeping it simple makes it more likely that you’ll both follow through.

Any relationship, no matter how great it already is, has room to grow. So instead of thinking, “Were fine,” think “The sky’s the limit!”

Tips for Making a Resolution Together

Whether you make a resolution together or independently, make it as specific as possible, by stating the resolution in a way that includes:

  • when you will start keeping the resolution;
  • for how long you intend to carry it out;
  • how often you will do it.

For example, rather than simply resolving to be nicer to each other, a couple might commit to giving each other at least one compliment every day for the next three weeks, starting today.

It takes 21 days to change a habit, or to establish a new one, so if you want the daily compliments or some other new behavior to become a lasting lifestyle, you might decide to commit to do it every day, starting now, and for at least three weeks.

You might like the idea explained below (Resolution #2) about giving each other at least one compliment a day. This might be your joint resolution, or it can be your own personal resolution if your spouse isn’t on board now for it. Even if you start out as the only one giving compliments daily, your relationship will probably get better. Your spouse will appreciate your sincere compliments, and you’ll find yourself noticing your partner’s virtues, so you’ll feel warmer toward him (or her) more often.

Maybe you both already excel at compliments. What would be a better resolution for the two of you to consider making together? You may have one in mind or you might want to select one of the other two ideas listed here:

Resolution 1: When we disagree, we will take turns listening to each other kindly and respectfully. When one of us states our viewpoint, the other will say what he or she heard, then asks if they got it right. Once the first speaker says yes, the other gets to state their own position and get listened to. It can be tempting to compose our rebuttal instead of totally listening. Listening doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing. The active listening technique is so worthwhile because it fosters emotional intimacy. When most spouses really want is not to win an argument, but to feel understood.

Resolution 2: We’ll tell each other daily what we appreciate about each other. This is a worthwhile resolution because busy spouses often forget to notice each other’s positive traits and actions. Sometimes their communication gets loaded with complaints or demands. Strive to implement Dr. John Gottman’s researched based advice to make at least five positive comments for each negative one.

Resolution 3: We’ll hold a weekly marriage meeting. This is a worthwhile resolution because couples who do this effectively, as explained in my book, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, gain intimacy, romance, teamwork, and smoother resolution of issues.


In case you’re feeling tempted to make more than one resolutions, remind yourself to choose just one. Changing just one long-established way of behaving is challenging enough, so keep it simple. You can always add a new resolution once you’ve firmly put your first one into practice.

Happy New Year!

One New Year’s Resolution a Couple Can Make Together

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Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW

Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW, author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted (New World Library, 2014, audiobook, 2020), has a private psychotherapy practice in San Rafael, California. She offers and workshops for couples and singles, and continuing education classes for therapists at NASW conferences and online. She has taught also at the UCSF School of Medicine, UC Berkeley Extension, and Alliant International University. A former executive director of a family service agency, she earlier held senior level positions in child welfare, alcoholism treatment, and psychiatry.

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APA Reference
Berger, M. (2018). One New Year’s Resolution a Couple Can Make Together. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 31 Dec 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.