Relationship Resolutions

By John Daum
January 6, 2020

The YMCAs and Planet Fitnesses in town and all the other gyms are packed full this week with all those who made New Year’s resolutions to lose some pounds, to better their physiques, and to get healthier. Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Did you set some goals for this year? I hope they weren’t all about diet and exercise! Did you make some Relationship Resolutions?

Relationship Resolutions are just goals for the relationships around you.

They’re a way to be intentional and goal-oriented, and maybe even start some new habits this year with how you relate to people, especially the people closest to you.

Here’s the catch: usually when we make resolutions or set goals for the year, we’re indicating the kind of person that we WANT to be. We want to be healthier, eat better, exercise more, work on a hobby or we want to learn a new skill. We want to be a better person. (And we should! Good for you!)

Relationship Resolutions are a little different. They aren’t about the person we WANT to be. Instead, they’re about who our friends and family NEED us to be.

It’s one thing to want to be this or that; it is something entirely different to ask, “Who does my spouse NEED me to be, who do my kids NEED me to be, who do my friends, my co-workers NEED me to be this year?” That’s such a powerful question, it deserves to be in bold or something…

“Who does my family and friends NEED me to be this year?”

Maybe you have a spouse who needs you to support them better emotionally. Maybe your spouse needs you to talk less and listen more. Perhaps you need to make some financial changes, time-management changes, or some intimacy changes. Can you be the person they need this year? Maybe the best resolution you could make is to commit to a monthly Date Night so you can talk through what each of you needs as the next year marches on.

Who do your kids NEED you to be this year? Do they need you to be involved and more engaged—with their friends, their dating life, their academic life? Maybe they need you to take the lead on a family game night or turning the TV and phones off during dinner so everyone can talk.

Maybe your whole family needs you to be on your phone less and give them more of your attention? Can you resolve to try to be the person they need?

Relationship Resolutions! Not easy!

Maybe you need to talk with your spouse and each of your kids or some friends or extended family members and ask them: “Who do you NEED me to be this year? What do you NEED me to start or stop doing this year?” Then really listen. What you hear just may surprise you!

I’m not asking you to forget all about who you want to be right now and in the future. I’m suggesting you be brave enough this year to ask, “Who do my family and friends NEED me to be right now?” Look at the relationships you are in. Who do they need you to be?

I might not be able to totally become the person I want to be, but I can try to be the person my family needs me to be this year. That would be a Happy New Year!

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