State, national lifestyle columnists

Enjoying your relationship in the coming year

By From page A2 | December 25, 2012

Are there things you have thought of doing to increase your level of enjoyment in 2013? Do you feel that you are getting the most joy you can from your relationship?

Joy can be elusive, especially when your relationship has hit a few speed bumps. But finding it can mean the difference between success and failure in love. Joy is a feeling that comes over you when you look at your partner and emotionally experience all the good that the two of you have created together and will create in the future.

Being unable to enjoy just being with each other, without some outside input, is a possible problem. If you enjoy life with your partner most when you are engaged in some kind of activity together, that’s fine, but you also have to be able to enjoy life as a couple when all there is to do is watch television and hang out on the couch. If all you really wanted to have was an activity partner, then almost anyone would do. You chose the person you are with because he or she made you feel like no other, and you needed to share the rest of your life with him.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions. This is a fresh start we can give ourselves every year. It can also be a gift that as a couple you give to each other. Breaking bad habits and creating good ones is one place to start. You can also resolve to have a closer and more joyful relationship. By declaring that you both want it, you can both benefit from this little jump-start we get on Jan. 1. Making this commitment to your relationship is something that requires you both to agree – and to let go of being disagreeable.

Creating enjoyment in your relationship and for the year ahead may be one of the most fulfilling things you will ever do as a couple. As you embark on this path, you can know that the joy you feel will radiate to others and will create deeper relationships with all the people who matter to you.

By doing this emotional homework, you will give yourself and your relationship the opportunity to get back on a positive track and create greater enjoyment. What both of you want from your union is usually within reach. You can begin with a gentle discussion and then give it your best effort in following through. Remember that a relationship worth having is one where both people feel it’s worth the effort.

Given all the hard work it takes to make a good relationship, you deserve some enjoyment. It is there for you as long as you don’t harbor resentments and do share your real feelings. The things that prevent us from feeling joy are the same things that create depression. We have to get out of ourselves and into the hearts and minds of the people we love. Then we can share the truly joyful gift that the new year has in store for us.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, is the author, most recently, of “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence – Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too.” Email him at [email protected]

Barton Goldsmith


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