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relationship advice

Each time a new year rolls around, you make promises to yourself, hoping that this time they'll stick. But this year, why not shake things up a bit? Channel the energy you typically spend on the same old resolutions – like losing 5 pounds – into strengthening your relationship instead. Let the following romantic resolutions help make love your mantra in the new year.

Commit QT to your conversations

When relationships are brand new, couples often spend hours engrossed in conversation. Remember those nights? But as we get older and life gets increasingly more hectic, conversation tends to fall by the wayside. This year, carve out quality time every day to really talk to each other. "Communication is always the place I encourage folks to start out from as they set out to make new resolutions," says author, professor, and therapist Jeffrey Sumber, M.A. Get lost in your conversations the way you once did. After all, that kind of nostalgia can be good for the libido, too.

Expand your horizons

Between work and family obligations, much of where you travel together as a couple is dictated by your commitments to others. Seize the new year to reclaim some of those hours for yourself. Recent research commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association revealed: "couples who travel together are significantly more satisfied with their relationships, enjoying better sex and improved romance long after the trip ends." Talk about a win-win situation. If a destination trip isn't in your budget, expand your horizons at home by trying something new to you – think dance lessons or a painting class.

Go to bed together

In the most literal sense, that is. "Bedtime might be the only opportunity you're alone together all day," explains relationship author Barton Goldsmith, PhD. Once there, consider that sexual intimacy also brings couples closer. Bonus? It also eases stress, nixes headaches, and helps you sleep better. If you're feeling frisky, you can pair this resolution with another by trying new things as a couple, such as incorporating a sensual lubricant into your intimate play.

Be silly

Life is full of tough stuff, but your relationship doesn't always have to be. Sure, there are times your partner will drive you a little batty. And, yes, you'll share plenty of moments that call for seriousness. But, this year, vow to spend more time just being silly together and see how it improves your connection. "Humor benefits both individuals and relationships by helping to relieve stress, defusing tension that might otherwise lead to conflict, and even allowing people to bring up topics that would be difficult to discuss otherwise," says professor and "affectionado" Kory Floyd, Ph.D. So go ahead and get your silly on together!

About the Author

A native of Charleston, S.C., Julie Sprankles has been writing professionally since 2003. She received a double Bachelor of Arts in English and communications from Charleston Southern University. Formerly editor-in-chief at award-winning shelter publication "Charleston Home + Design Magazine," Sprankles now enjoys writing and editing full-time.

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