There are likely many items you are hoping for this holiday season, but did you know that gift giving is a perfect opportunity to think about how to improve your life. You can ask for self care items, such as a massage gift card or a Fit Bit. Maybe you’ve had your eye on a special symbolic piece of jewelry or the newest electronic that will bring you joy. As you are thinking about your answer to that very popular question this time of the year, “what do you want for Christmas?” I urge you to consider making your relationship a priority. Here are 5 things to think about when putting together your wish list that will lead to improvements in your relationship.
1. Think about something that will help you connect:
The foundation to a great relationship is having a solid friendship. Having a satisfying connection with another person can be difficult when life is busy and other tasks get in the way. Think about items for your wish list that will allow you to spend time together doing something that enhances your enjoyment and provides the space for quality time. Some ideas: Board games, Cookbooks, DIY books, dance lessons, couples spa day, Topgolf membership, Dave and Buster’s giftcard
2. Items that will help you reach a common goal or complete a project:
Research has shown that couples who share dreams and goals have longer-lasting, more satisfying relationships. Talk about your ideas for your future with your partner and come up with a project that will help you get there. You can work on the activity together, which also creates a stronger bond. Some ideas: tools and supplies for a home improvement venture, funds for a family vacation, a nice camera to document special memories, a personalized calendar to schedule family events
3. A Couples Retreat or Workshop:
A couples retreat can be the perfect way to work on enhancing your relationship and have fun. You can search for one out of town or stay local. They are typically based in scientific findings and involve engaging activities. You can use the time away to relax, have deep conversations with your partner, and do something you both enjoy like eating at a new restaurant, and learn new skills to make your relationship last. If you are unable to go out of town or feel uncomfortable with the idea of attending a workshop or retreat, you can buy a home workshop. This one from Gottman would be great.
4. Books that you can read together:
If a workshop sounds overwhelming, you can always start by reading relationship books. It’s an easy and cheap way to start improving your relationship. You can do it in the privacy of your own home and at your own pace. The key is going through the book together and discussing the ideas presented. Have a real conversation about it and be honest about your thoughts. Some ideas: Hold Me Tight, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, and Wired for Love.
5. Something that would be new for both of you:
Think about something that neither of you have done before that would be fun for you to explore together. This could be a good way to expand your friendship and strengthen your foundation. It could also add an element of spontaneity and break you from your routine. Some ideas: Sports lessons, join a bowling league, take a cooking class, an adventure (sky diving or a helicopter ride), funds to go towards couples therapy (even if you only attend a few sessions for a relationship checkup), or a staycation.
I hope this gave you some creative ideas for what to ask for this year that could also improve your relationship. I know some years I am at a loss for what to request, so thinking outside the box is helpful and things that will make my life better is a win-win. Comment below with some other ideas of what to add to your wish list or things you’ve gotten in the past that led to keeping up your amazing relationship.