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January 10, 2020

Setting an intention for your relationship this year

Most people set goals or resolutions every year. They’re usually personal. Not as many set an intention or goal specifically about their relationship.

Whether you’re in a difficult relationship, or you’re in a great relationship in a difficult spot, every relationship can benefit from some intention. If you’re in a difficult place, the last thing you Probably want to do is set relationship goals. But if you’ve decided to stay with your partner, it’s imperative that you make it the best you can!

There is nothing honorable about staying in an unhealthy relationship and making each other miserable.

Why you need to set intentions

You can set intentions as a couple or by yourself. Here’s why that works – changing any part of a system changes the whole system. And FYI, your relationship is a system.

So, the truth is that you can affect change even when your partner isn’t making an effort. It’s the simple physics of relationships. If you change, he will in response. Does this give you ultra powers to change him into everything you’ve ever wanted? No, of course not! He can only change to the extent of his limits, but change will occur if you change. I promise.

Take time to reflect

Part of the benefit of taking the time to reflect is that it can give you an opportunity to examine what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong in the previous year in your relationship and what part you had in in it. Stop trying to figure out his part, that’s his job. You stay in your lane and focus on what you can do. You can’t control anyone else!

What is an intention?

So, what exactly is an intention and how is it different from goals or resolutions? I first heard of setting an intention when I took my first yoga class.

I was a little annoyed at the word. I was kinda intimidated to start a yoga practice because it was all so new to me and this woman kept talking about setting an intention for your day- as if everyone knew what that was!

I was like, what the heck does that even mean? I was annoyed because I felt I had failed before we even started the actual yoga because I didn’t know how to set an intention for my day. The reality is that I often set an intention for my day, I just didn’t call it that.

Many people just let the days pass and hope that things will get better, or have a goal of arguing less, helping more with chores or letting more things slide. But, that’s a very vague goal and difficult to attain. You quickly slide back into old habits because there is no intention attached to how to get there.

Instead of resolving to understand your partner better, maybe resolve to read a chapter of a book about relationship and discuss it with him. Do you see how that’s a behavior and that’s an intention, rather than just a general ‘let’s get along better’?

This may go without saying, but an intention is a positive declaration of a behavior that you want to have. It must be positive. So it works best when it does not declare what you shouldn’t do or don’t want. So you shouldn’t have an intention of arguing less. Instead, it should be something like an intention of focusing on your partner’s point of view, or choosing to practice releasing your need to be right.

Be intentional this year about your behavior towards improving your relationship because anything left to its own will naturally decompose, including your relationship.

How to set intentions?

If you’d like to set unique intentions for your relationship, Saint-Rossy, a licensed therapist, suggested asking these questions:

  • How do I want to feel in my relationship with my partner? 
  • What specific things can I do to feel more that way?
  • How do I want to make my partner feel in our relationship? 
  • What specific actions can I take to help my partner feel that way?
  • What do we want our relationship to look like in the next year? 
  • What can I do specifically to create this life?

Dr. Kathy Nickerson, Love Champion, also shared these additional questions to consider: 

  • When was the best time in our relationship? What was I doing for my spouse then? What was he or she doing for me?
  • What would make me feel safer? More loved? More important?
  • What can I do to be more helpful? More positive? More optimistic?
  • What’s a goal that’s positive and important to us both?

Sometimes, setting an intention can be scary. Why? Because you desire so much to have this relationship, this idea, this dream of a relationship in your head. You fear that by setting that goal and not attaining it, that pain might be too much to bear.

What I can tell you is that it’s better to come close than to not even try it at all. Yes, it hurts when we don’t attain our goals, but what you’ll find is that there’s so much power in writing them down. Acknowledge them and you will get so much further!

So, set aside some time to focus for a few minutes on what you want to manifest in your relationship this next year. Write it down and share it with your partner. Then take the next smallest intentional step towards that behavior. That’s setting an intention and walking it out. You’ve got this!



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