I was inspired by The Stir's 5 New Year's Resolutions in this post. Rather than setting hard core goals of "lose weight or else", the article instead uses the more soothing words, "Resolve instead to."
I can't help but think how many people would be happier with their marriages if they took this approach. After all, there really are no black and white solutions when it comes to personal relationships. The best we can do is set some realistic expectations. It doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for amazing passion and happiness, but truthfully, who has that 100% of the time? In thinking that we must have this or our relationships are doomed, we're setting ourselves up to fail long before January 2 is over.
The Stir writes, "Instead, break things down. You can still have lofty goals, but make your resolutions concrete changes that are possible to stick with throughout the year."
Ahhhh. That sounds do-able. Here are five ideas I have for my union. Yours will likely be different. I'd love to hear about them.
1. Exercise Together
In Idealisitc Andrea Land: We would jaunt seven days a week for an hour in matching track suits (or at least goofy iron-on tees with arrows that say, "I'm Power Walking with Him/Her." Let's not forget the 80's theme music and perhaps my husband stopping along the way to pick me a dandelion or measure my pulse rate.
In "Resolve Instead To" Land: Walk 3 days/week around the block on Rex's lunch break. A few moments left over for a peanut butter sandwich and bubble water is a bonus.
2. Eat Better
In Idealistic Andrea Land: We make organic salads and gluten free pasta meals together by candle light. We drink amazing red wine that we burn off with passionate lovemaking after our perfectly behaved children fall asleep under 400 thread count Pottery Barn quilts.
InResolve Instead To Land: Meal prep every week to ensure healthy veggies and whole grain breads hit the table every night. If we can save some money with coupons that would be a bonus.
And no Diet Coke! Together we made a vow to kick the evil juice to the curb. So far we've lasted... drum roll please... two days. I am currently drooling onto my laptop, but my gracious spouse is popping frozen marshmallows into my mouth for encouragement. Before you knock the sugary goodness that is frozen cubes of mellow white mushy heaven, let me state for the record that they are low cal and a lovely alternative to Snickers dunked in Yuban.
3. Stay On Budget
In Idealistic Andrea Land: Rex tells me that he got a fifty percent raise, I sell my book, or we win the lottery. Suddenly we not only avoid the budget from hell but instead take Daria, Jason and all our friends on a Disney Cruise and blow both #1 and #2 Resolutions completely by ingesting more all-you-can-eat boat buffet food than will be humanly supported by lounge chairs on the Shuffle Board deck.
In Resolve Instead To Land: We both stop fighting over finances and stick to something that we both agree on. Resentful attitudes will get us nowhere. He gives/I give...everyone wins. Yes, it really is that simple.
4. Organize the House
In Idealistic Andrea Land: We hire a professional organizer who convinces my husband that "No, a wrap around office desk with built-in bookcases really cannot be avoided any longer." Rex wakes up and agrees that 3 un-matching rolling chairs really is a punishment from God and I obtain more coordinating boxes for my crap (from The Container Store, please) than Jennifer Aniston has magazine covers.
In Resolve Instead To Land: Together we pick one of the house per day the first few months of the year to clean up. Everything will get a place, even if it's not fancy. From there we can consider our next move which, hopefully, will involve a better office space for yours truly. With a spot for everything, there will be more time for last minute gatherings and less tension over missing keys and "where the heck did I leave my ATM card" woes.
In Idealisitc Andrea Land: We sit in front of a fire every night. I read him a great chick book, or perhaps I indulge his senses in a new meditation book. We talk about spiritual matters. We plan our vacation in Europe. He surprises me with flowers and tickets to the Symphony.
In Resolve Instead To Land: We get those kids in bed by 7:30 the latest so we can chat for at least 30 minutes before crawling into bed at a decent hour. Both of us are so much happier with a good night's sleep. If anything happens before we go sleep - an added bonus!
That's my list for now. What's yours? Would love to hear from some men out there!
Posted by Andrea Frazer
Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.