My friend Tom likes to make resolutions. I think it’s because resolutions sound grand, and also because once he breaks one, he can quit trying. As he has said, “Well, once it’s broken, it’s broken.” Of course, it’s not so much the resolutions that crumble as us. We’re fragile and we tend to lose focus when tested. It’s time to accept that persistent truth and—instead of playing the resolution game—to approach positive change from the standpoint of intention. Intentions come with the understanding that becoming our best selves is always a journey. This is especially true with marriage intentions.
So we talked about the distinction between “resolution” and “intention,” and then came up with a few ideas. Here are 10 marriage intentions for the new year.
1. AuthenticityWithout authenticity, you can’t have emotional intimacy.
This is more than just honesty. Without authenticity, you can’t have emotional intimacy. Authenticity facilitates connection and hiding creates distance. Challenge yourself to share thoughts and feelings that you’re tempted to hide. She didn’t marry a projected image you created. She married (and wants to know) the real you.
Doing life together can be a real adventure—having children, buying a home, moving across the country, dealing with challenges. We can dull the experience with too much caution, or we can hold hands and jump in. Make this intention together: “To live is the greatest adventure of all.”
My wife and I taught our kids this mantra: “It doesn’t cost much to be generous.” We were thinking of things like restaurant tips. But it’s a principle potentially at play in almost every element of life together. Be generous. It will make her smile.
Passion is a depth of love that moves us. You may know you are passionate in your love, but does she? Let’s ask ourselves, constantly, how we can show our passion today.
Love that has fun as a consistent element also has more passion. Make “have fun together” a can’t-miss part of every week. Be deliberate.
We will make mistakes, we will disappoint, we will hurt each other. Forgiveness as an intention is always humble, and always ready to facilitate healing.
Spice is defined as “adding flavor.” Waking up for the day? Bring her a fresh cup of coffee. Going out on a date? Add a single rose. Working in the garden together? Bring out a folding chair and her favorite cold drink. Going to the shops? Literally run around the car to open her door.
Life can be numbingly routine if we’re not careful. Just a small move away from predictability can add a ton of interest.
Not laughter that trivializes, but laughter that celebrates life. Laughter is distinct from fun in that it can happen even when things are difficult.
Make the positive intention to believe in one another and to believe in ourselves. Re-creation begins with believing newness is possible.
Sound off: Ten is not a complete list. What are some other marriage intentions you’d like to have?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you intend to accomplish this year?”