5 New Year's resolutions that will take your marriage from good to great

Start the new year off right by focusing on your marriage and making resolutions aimed at improving your partnership.

New Year's resolutions for married couples
There's something about the start of a new year that spurs us to make positive changes. This year, consider putting the spotlight on your marriage. We put together some simple but effective resolutions aimed at boosting your bond and creating a deeper connection with your partner.

We turned to Tina B. Tessina, a psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage (Adams Media, 2008), for her insight into how to take your marriage from good to great. "The new year is a great time to make positive changes in your relationship," says Tessina. "If you keep these resolutions, you'll get back much more than you put in."

1. Be open and honest
The more open and honest you are with your spouse, the stronger your relationship will be. It can be easy to let things go unmentioned, but this year, resolve to talk often and to do so face to face. "Talk frequently and honestly to each other about your frustrations, about sex, anger and disappointment, about your appreciation of each other, about everything," says Tessina. "No topic should be off-limits."

Making an effort to talk through any issues that arise can also help minimize conflict. "Learn to listen and communicate instead of fighting. Fighting is childish, and you want a grown-up relationship," the psychotherapist explains.

2. Work as a team
One of the most important marriage resolutions you can make is to work as a team. "Strive to work together to solve any problems that come up," says Tessina. "Don't get stuck on who's right or wrong, focus instead on what will solve the problem." She explains that when you build a successful working partnership, each of you will feel supported and respected by the other.

When each person feels that the other has their best interests at heart, problems are solved in a way that leaves both parties happy with the solution. "The mutuality of this type of partnership creates an environment of love where deep trust grows," says Tessina. "When trust, respect, responsibility and love feel mutual, that's when we feel secure in being loved."

Page 1 of 2 -- Keep intimacy a treasured part of your marriage with expert relationship advice on page 2

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