A new year frequently ushers in New Year’s resolutions. We resolve to lose weight or pay off debt, but how many of our resolutions are geared towards one of the most important relationships in our lives — our marriage?

Honestly, until this year, none of mine have been. I feel a little sad about this. I have sat down and compiled a list of resolutions for a better marriage. Please feel free to adopt a few or all of them in your marriage.

1. Cook a meal together monthly. What if you don’t know how to cook? Buy a cookbook and test recipes together. Not only will you make lasting memories, but at the end you will have a fabulous (hopefully) meal.

2. Go on vacation, just the two of us ... even if in the next town. Family vacations are great. However, the best thing you can do for your marriage is invest in it. Keep your eyes open for good deals. You can take a seven-day cruise out of Galveston for less than $1,000 for two. This includes all meals. Plus you can make payments. We just booked one for this fall going to Honduras, Cozumel and Belize. You can’t find a much cheaper vacation.

3. Go for walks together. Not only has walking been proven to help with blood pressure and weight loss, but walking together gives you both time to unwind and talk.

4. Put our phones away and talk face to face for an hour each week. This may be awkward at first, but it’s incredibly refreshing and puts us back on the same page as a couple. If there are things we can’t agree on, we can discuss them again later in the week. Talk about your dreams, work, family, and even how your marriage is doing.

5. Join a marriage group to meet other married couples and strengthen our marriage. Churches are a great place to start looking, as they generally only cost the price of the current study’s book. And, of course, the book is yours to keep.

6. Seek marriage counseling to work through difficult issues. We all have ups and downs in marriage. Sometimes it’s helpful to find a third party that can help us work through them. Find a reputable counselor in the area.

Fort Hood may have programs for soldiers. Some churches also offer free counsel. I know Grace Christian Center offers free marriage and family guidance, as my husband is over that department.

7. Be a good example for our children. Compliment each other in front of your children. The best thing you can do for your children is provide a good example of marriage. Love their mom or their dad and let them see it. This makes your children and spouse feel secure.

This list may have sparked some of your own ideas. Write them down and resolve to follow through with your list this year. This is fun to do as a couple over coffee or even dinner. Just have fun and challenge your marriage to grow. Until next time, happy resolution making!

Kindra Warner is a marriage group facilitator at Grace Christian Center in Killeen and a Herald correspondent.

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