A Few Good Resolutions (That You’ve Been Meaning to Make)

I never make New Year’s resolutions.

It seems counterproductive to wait for a flip of the calendar to begin making changes in my life that I have known about all along. It’s like a man declaring that he’ll start his workout program on the magic Monday—the one that never arrives. Or the student who plans to finish that paper…tomorrow.

However, I do get a kick out of eavesdropping on others’ annual resolutions. Last year was a pivotal year in our marriage. We celebrated a decade. We saw a counselor. I wondered if it could ever work. He questioned if we would make it. So I decided to ask Google what relational changes other couples were committing to in 2013; M. Gary Neuman had some good advice. He said in a blog post,

Daily time: Successful couples spend a minimum daily average of over 30 minutes talking uninterrupted.”

Ouch. True confessions, my husband and I usually have our cellphones within an arm’s distance, even during our precious few minutes together each evening. Quite frequently, we’re interrupted by bleeps and blings relaying critical information from friends and family. Or, we simply scroll through the recent updates on our favorite apps. Neuman also said,

Date night: One night a week, no matter what, go out alone for a minimum of two hours. Don’t spend the time with another couple.” 

My first reaction is to object, we’re too busy! Often my husband gets home late, he’s tired and the weekends pass far to quickly. My second objection lays blame. I want my husband to plan a date! In the name of romance and chivalry, shouldn’t he take me out? And what will we talk about by ourselves? Lastly, Neuman said,

Make three appreciative gestures daily: Don’t just appreciate the things that are “above and beyond.”

I pat myself on the back for this one, then turn around and waggle my finger at my husband. My husband works hard and provides for our family generously. I comment frequently on how handsome he is. But my little efforts are quickly dwarfed when pride surfaces. Then, I remind him that he doesn’t compliment or thank me enough. I sigh heavily and sometimes fish for compliments.

I started by saying that I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions. The most effective resolutions are the ones that are enacted now, to change behaviors before they develop into unbecoming habits. Consequently, I can’t wait until January 2014, to implement these suggestions for a stronger marriage.

Many New Year’s resolutions are derailed by excuses and slip ups. One missed workout  and I’m doomed to be out of shape forever. A missed deadline, and I feel like a failure. Surely, my husband is the one who should make the greatest changes to improve our marriage.

Not this time. I know that I will make mistakes. We will go a few weeks without a date. I will holler at my husband instead of praising him. We will answer that text instead of leaving our phones in the other room while we focus on each other. But, since I’m not waiting for another new year, I will get up and keep going.

For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”                    – Proverbs 24:16

“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver.”


Abby Kelly is a blogger, personal trainer, partner in Moms Who TRI, a journaler and a dog owner. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her military officer husband. She writes on cultural, personal and relational lies that destroy women's lives and seeks to share the truth, hope and love of Jesus Christ.

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