Here are three great ways couples can team up for the new year.
Do you and your spouse want to kick off the new year right? If so, don’t stop with that midnight kiss. This January, join hearts and hands and determine to start – and finish – this new year as a united team. Here are three ways you can do this.
1. Make Peace with Last Year
A few years ago, my husband Ted’s normally high, but manageable blood pressure sky-rocketed into dangerous levels. for most of the year, his doctor struggled to determine how to bring it down. Ted’s meds were increased and he underwent a $1,100 stress test that insurance refused to cover.
During this time, one of our daughters started to break out in an inexplicable rash that resulted in multiple trips to the allergist. I also had several moles removed, one of which came back as slightly abnormal.
It was stressful, to say the least, on us individually and on our relationship. But this wasn’t an isolated year. This past twelve months, we faced similar health and financial challenges that have left me feeling weary in ways.
Maybe you can you relate. Perhaps this past year was rough on your marriage as a result of financial issues, health challenges, or relational struggles.
While it’s likely you’ll have to again face some of these issues in the coming year, determine to make peace with last year’s events. What I mean by that is this: Decide together to see these challenges not just as annoyances, but as opportunities for growth, both individually and as a couple. What’s one way you can do this?
Sit down together and reflect. Talk about how the struggles you faced wore on you, and also how they made you stronger. Consider times when you let them divide you rather than unite you and discuss how you could do better next time. Resolve that in the coming year, you’ll try to face difficulties with an “us vs. the problem” attitude instead of a “me vs. you” mentality.
2. Choose Lightheartedness This Year
Ted and I have ended multiple years with much coughing and sneezing. A few years ago, our entire family was hit by an upper respiratory infection that lingered … and lingered.
Do you know what we decided to do?
We chose to hear the chorus of coughs that resounded through our house not as an inconvenience that threatened to ruin our holidays, but as part of our end-of-the-year story. A chapter that we decided would be marked by chicken noodle soup and family movie nights snuggled on the couch together rather than frustration.
Decide together to approach the coming year with a sense of lightheartedness. While this points to the ability to laugh together at things like colds and coughs, don’t stop there. Also choose to practice a lightheartedness that comes from what I call in my book Team Us: Marriage Together an “unburdened heart.” Or, in other words, a heart that’s not weighed down by grudges toward one another.
If you’ve kept a list of the ways your spouse has failed, disappointed, or hurt you in the past, determine to let these things go – either personally or, if they are deeper issues, through the help of a trusted counselor – and determine that this year you won’t keep a “record of wrongs.” That instead, you will strive to not be so easily offended, to do your best to overlook offenses and to seek to be a team.
3. Get on the Same Page … Literally
Ted and I have talked about what we want the coming year to include for us. For example, we want to work toward both better financial and physical health. What about you? Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to your hopes and dreams for the next twelve months?
One way you can get on the same page is to brainstorm together. Grab some paper and some pens and make a list. Jot down what you desire the new year to hold for you as an individual and as a couple. I recommend writing individual lists first. This allows both of you the freedom to be honest about your personal hopes.
Next, come together and discuss your lists. What items are common? Which ones are unique? What are some practical ways you can work together to accomplish these things?
Make This the Year of “Team Us!”
Decide this year that no matter what challenges you may face, that you’re in them together. In your marriage, declare this the year of “Team Us!”
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--Rachel Starr Thomson, author of Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
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