Beyond the Veil: Resolutions to be a Better Partner

Hi friends! It's Kaitlynn. I'm here to talk a little bit about January - a time for new beginnings, new goals, awful weather, and the loved - yet equally hated - resolutions. I'll preface this post by saying that I am, by no means, a goal setting expert (though Emma and I both love this article by our friends at the Rising Tide Society) but in the spirit of the new year, I want to chat about something that all of us are capable of - being a better partner. 

So - a brief anecdote before I dive into today's post. At the start of the new year, Andy and I talked about putting a renewed focus on our relationship. After six years together, it can be hard to remember the butterflies that existed when we first started dating. You know the little ping of excitement you would get when your cell phone buzzed with the coveted good morning text or the giddy feeling when you were showing potential date night outfits to your girlfriends. And not that there's anything wrong with losing a bit of the butterflies - six years has brought a whole new, deeper, wonderful connection, that I could have never imagined at the ripe age of 19 -  but it's easier to get wrapped up in my work and my life  than it was back in the beginning. In that vein, I'm pledging to these five resolutions to be a better partner in 2016:

1. Be a better listener
When I get home from a long day at the office, knowing that I've got a to-do list a mile long to accomplish before I go to sleep, it's easy for me to check-out of "good partner mode" and check-in to myself. That means instead of listening to Andy talk about his day - achievements, challenges and even his (at times very) random thoughts - I'm concerning myself with blog posts, dinner recipes and responding to emails. Now that we're facing busier-than-ever schedules (Andy has a wonderful new internship that he starts next week!) I'm pledging to stop the hustle, put down my phone and log some face-to-face time with him every night before we delve into our respective to-do lists. Not only because I want him to feel that I care about his day and his life, but because  I actually care about what's going on for him and making sure that I'm the best support system I can be. 

2. Get back to basics.
This means date night. When Andy and I first moved in together, we we're 22, I was just out of college and working for a non-profit  and we we're both pretty flippin' broke. As a result, we gave up some our favorite dating traditions from college in lieu of, ya know, having money for groceries. It also meant that we (unfortunately and unnecessarily) let "at home date nights" turn into watching Netflix and having dinner on the couch. Lame. This year, we're taking our dating a little more seriously. We went all Pinterest-y and made a jar filled with date night ideas (categorized by cost!) and we're setting aside one night a week dedicated to dates. Carving out that dedicated time for each other ensures that we're checking in on our relationship often, despite our busy schedules.

3. Put the phone down.
This gets back to Resolution #1, but working full-time and running a new business means that I log a lot of time in front of my precious iPhone.  This year, I'm making it a goal to schedule some serious phone-free time. Besides being good for my health, it means I won't be as wrapped up in Instagram and Facebook analytics (it can get obsessive #yikes), and creates more space for Andy and I to do little things together - like an afternoon game of Scrabble or a walk on our favorite trail in Lansing.

4. Gentle reminders.
And not the "hey honey, the bathroom is a mess" kind. This year, we're resolving to put more effort into reminding each other how much we mean to the other. I got an amazing book for Christmas - Our Q&A a Day - that allows us to answer a question a day for three years. It's been so fun to see each other's answers and the sweet sentiments Andy's written are wonderful reminders of his love. So whether it's something as simple as waking up a few minutes earlier to make him a cup of coffee, or sending an encouraging text during the afternoon, appreciating our love makes it that much stronger. 

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
When Emma and I started hatching the idea of starting our own business, we both went to our respective partners to talk about what this meant for our relationships (because seriously, #ittakesavillage). Andy and I both agreed that filling the few openings in our schedule with a new business and new work opportunities meant we we're going to have to take our communication into overdrive. We've grown to have a very strong communication base, but this year especially we're working on making sure the other is always aware and comfortable with our rapidly changing world. We have weekly check-ins to talk about the upcoming week and a master calendar we use to keep track of meetings, personal appointments, girls night, golf league and all things puppy related. This year, we're being extra diligent about making sure our home base keeps running smoothly, allowing us to function better individually and as a couple.

What kind of relationship resolutions do you have for this year? Leave them (and your favorite date ideas!) in the comments below!

Here's the a love-filled 2016,