The old has past and the new has come.
On the eve of the dawn of a new year there lingers such wonder and possibility. It feels like, if even for a moment, anything is possible. For a frozen second in time, the stars will align and all of our wildest dreams and hopes will magically manifest as reality.
Financial security, a healthy body, obedient children, and a happy marriage are only a tick of the clock from our ever-reaching grasp.
We want our marriages to be better. We want to argue less. We want to love each other more. We want to find happiness and contentment with our partners.
So we hold our breath in eager anticipation. At the stroke of midnight, like a mystical fairy tale where happiness always prevails, our lips will meet those of our one true love and there will be fantastical, breathtaking fireworks that light up our lives with wonderment and happy ever after.
In that mystical moment when time waltzes into a new identity, we make resolutions and promises. We dare to hope. We dare to believe.
But just as the early morning mists are slowly driven away by the harsh rays of the rising sun, so do our resolutions slowly dissipate with the coming of the new days and new trials.
An estimated 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail, the majority within the first 30 to 90 day. Why? Because we dream of the big change, but real change comes in small, sometimes barely perceptible increments. We want the end result not the journey. We set our eyes on the final prize but never train ourselves for the race.
But there is hope for marital change! A new year can bring a revolution to your marriage. You just have to do it the right way and be patient.
Here are eight steps to marriage revolution resolutions for the new year:
- Baby steps: Instead of taking giant leaps and making end-game resolutions and expecting massive, instantaneous changes that are destined to frustrate us to the point of failure, we must take baby steps—setting attainable short-term goals for our pilot marriages. Change will come. Be steady, be patient.
- Reactive not forced: Do not set goals for your partner’s behavioral changes but instead set goals for your own behavioral modification! You cannot forcibly change someone else’s behavior. Trying to do so will initiate great frustration for you and your partner. Instead focus on things you can do personally that will in turn initiate reactive change—a change in behavior in response to a change in yours.
- Keep it simple: You should only set 1-3 attainable behavioral changes. Do not overwhelm yourself with so many things you cannot do them all (or something so vague and big that it is inconceivable). When those are met, make some more!
- Talk about it: Ask your spouse for a list of one to three things that you could do to make him or her happier in your marriage. However, if he/she does not ask for a list in return, do not provide one! And if they do not provide one for you, don’t let it sway you. Think up your own and carry on! Remember not to take his or her answers personally. Frank questions demand frank answers. If a face-to-face is too emotionally volatile then ask him/her to write it down.
- Write it down, post it, share it: No, I don’t mean on Facebook! Write down your marriage revolution resolutions in a card with a favorite picture of you together and give it to your spouse (the next time you see him or her!). Make a second copy (with picture) and post it in a place where you will see it and be reminded at the start of each day. This will make the goals more real and keep you focused. This will be an encouragement to your spouse and a reminder for you not only of your goals, but of why you are pursuing them!
- Dust yourself off: You are going to fail. Own it, get over it. When you do, get back up dust yourself off, offer apologies to yourself and your spouse where necessary, and keep going! A happy, stable marriage will be so worth it.
- Journal it: Keeping a journal of your marriage revolution resolutions, how the day went, what you did well, what you didn’t, and any changes in your marriage will help you see the changes that slowly over the year and give you motivation to keep going.
- Check in: Ask your partner how you are doing every 30 days. Ask him or her if there is anything new you can attempt that would continue to strengthen your marriage. After all, marriage revolution resolutions don’t just have to happen in January!
A few marriage revolution resolution ideas to get you started:
- I will do something nice for my spouse every day.
- I will speak only encouraging, uplifting words to and about my spouse.
- I will post only positive things about my spouse on social media.
- I will have sex with my spouse ___ times a week.
- I will tell my spouse how proud I am of him/her every day.
- I will text my spouse good morning and good night every day when we are apart.
- I will go on a date with my spouse at least every ___ weeks.
- I will tell my spouse something I love about them every day.
- I will respect my spouse in public.
- I will not say negative things about or argue with my spouse in front of my children.
- I will pray for my spouse daily.
- I will put down my phone when we are together and pay attention to my spouse.
- I will not allow toxic outside sources to taint my marriage or view of my spouse.
- I will communicate my feelings to my spouse instead of holding them in.
Change is neither quick or easy, but it is possible and it is worth it! If there is one wish I had for the New Year, I would wish that each and every one of you find and revel in the pure joy of a happy marriage.
I love you, aviation family. May your 2017 and your marriages be full of amazing blessings and overflowing with joy.
~A Fellow Pilot Wife