6 Promises Couples Should Keep This New Year


Commit to Date Night. It’s easy to push fun time aside; less easy if you set a date. Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day or a birthday to do things together with your partner. Schedule something monthly. Step outside the routine. Restaurant and a movie? Booorrring. Go someplace you’ve never been: wine tasting, festival, karaoke bar. Break from your usual behavior. Be silly. Sing a song to your sweetie in public. Pretend it’s your first date or that you’re strangers meeting for the first time. Have glamour shots taken together. You get the idea.

Have Sex Often and Keep it Fresh. Scheduling sex can take away the spontaneity. Tune in frequently to opportunities. Fan the flames of desire. Try something you’ve both wanted to do that’s been on the back burner. Introduce props or costumes. Change lovemaking locations. Be spontaneous. Try not to schedule it – unless you’re booking a romantic hotel or resort get-away.

Pay Attention. Are you really focused on what your mate is saying to you or are you thinking about the next thing you want to say to them or multi-tasking with your cell phone? Do you have a blank look on your face when they’re talking because your mind is somewhere else? It’s irritating when it’s being done to you. Consider what it’s doing to them? Not paying attention builds walls and resentment.

Have More Heart-to-Heart Discussions. You don’t always have to think about when you should have them or what to talk about. They just come naturally when you pay attention. If something is bugging you, find a way to bring it up. Don’t let it fester. Ask what’s going on when you see that look or feel that weird vibe.

Compliment More, Criticize Less. Remind your sweetie often what you love about them. It’s easy to stop doing that, especially if you’ve been together a long time. They will reciprocate in kind. Hold that critical thought.

Make Them Laugh, Surprised. Tickle their humor bone. Life can get serious and intense. Cut the tension. Show them through words and actions that you remembered something they said. Act on something they’ve been hinting about.

And while you’re committing to these New Year’s relationship resolutions, above all else, be sure to enjoy, respect, and love one another.


How to Keep the Holidays Fight-Free Between You and Your Mate


Did your mother just diss your mate’s cooking and she’s giving you that look? Are you annoyed about spending Christmas at your in-laws? Is your sweetie in a bad mood and lashing out at you? Is he having to work late again? Do you feel a fist-fight about to erupt with the person you love? Stop aggression on the home front dead in its tracks with these emotion modifiers:

Avoid button-pushers. Don’t be aggressive and provoke an argument with sensitive issues, manipulate, or be rude. Discuss openly later at an appropriate time and place.

 Compromise. Give a little. Take turns. Suggest ways you can both get what you want.

 Don’t match their hostility. You could start a nasty shouting match. Stop. Breathe. If they are shouting, speak calmly and with compassion and sincerity in response.

 Be a good listener. Show empathy. React with kindness and understanding. Sometimes that’s all your partner wants. Cut them some slack. Put yourself in their shoes.

 Ask them what’s really bothering them and how you can make it better. Hurt and anger can take on various disguises. Coax them to get at the root of the problem. Just asking may help.

 Do something nice for them. Send them off for an afternoon to a spa or gym or for a little shopping therapy. Leave a love note on the mirror or fridge. Take the kids off their hands for the day or send them off to their grandparents for the weekend.

 Spend time in a relaxing setting together. Go to a park, their favorite restaurant. Take in a romantic or funny movie at the theater.

 Make yourself scarce – except for the big holiday dinner or other planned events. Stay out of their hair temporarily ­– especially if you’re the source of their anger.

Are Thanksgiving Plans Turning Your New Relationship into a Battlefield?


Making plans for family holidays like Thanksgiving can sometimes set off arguments or hurt feelings for new couples. Family issues, ingrained traditions and being unfamiliar with your mate’s habits, feelings and expectations can sour the occasion and create a rift in the relationship or with the families if you’re both not careful.

Dinner at your family’s house or theirs? Dreading long-distance travel in winter weather? Will my mate’s family accept me as the new spouse? Will my children resent my new beau so soon after their father died and act out at the dinner table? As a vegan, how do I avoid offending her mother if I pass on the turkey? How do I tell my fiancé I’d like to start a new Thanksgiving tradition and have dinner at home without offending her?

Holiday Planning for Couples

  • Discuss in advance how you each feel about celebrating the holiday. Talk about what’s important to each of you, the traditions or activities you and your families enjoy most.
  • Try not to turn the decision into a tug of war. Be flexible, compromise, but neither of you should always be the one to accommodate the other.
  • Don’t make a decision just to avoid conflict and secretly regret it. It can grow into resentment.
  • Once a decision is made, anticipate potential problems and how to avoid or handle them together.