15 ways to create healthier and happier relationships in 2015

by Kimberly Sandstrom, M.A., Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

After 25 years of marriage & almost 50 years of friendships, I’ve seen my share of broken, mended, & thriving relationships. I’ve learned through hard work and observation that relationships take time and investment—they’re certainly not easy and many times, the source of pain. Learn to play, listen, and communicate.

Here’s 15 ways to create better relationships in 2015:

  1. Play. Build a fort in the living room when the kids go to bed–sip on sparkling cider or a glass of wine together. Forts aren’t just for kids!
  2. Break the rules. We have so many constraints and responsibilities in the world (school, work, church, driving on the freeway!). Take some whip cream and go wild in the backyard.
  3. Have a zero care day. No outside friends, no rules, no fights. Just each other. Ignore responsibility and go on an adventure.
  4. Text encouragement. Text more than logistics. Text something sentimental, text appreciation, & text playfully. Don’t expect a text in return. Technology should maximize your relationships, not compete with it.
  5. Post positively. Don’t post your differences on social media. EVER.
  6. Eye contact is key. Sit on the couch across from each other, chat, and keep eye contact! Be playful and flirty. See how long the distance lasts…
  7. Cook together. If possible, do it in just your aprons!
  8. Go on a picnic! They’re fun & you probably haven’t been on one in a bit.
  9. Listen. Listen before speaking & put what you want to say aside. Reflect back what you heard before moving on.
  10. Share love. Tell people you cherish that you love them, and tell them often.
  11. Stop comparing. Find what works for your relationship and keep at it. Ignore others—every relationship has their pain points.
  12. Be vulnerable. Take a risk and share how you are feeling.
  13. Apologize. Healing apologies use the three A’s: Acknowledge, Accept, Ask.
  14. Work from a place of rest instead of resting after all the work is done. Schedule rest and relaxation before work and notice the difference.
  15. Live beaming. Don’t underestimate the power of a smile to make another’s day.

Wishing you a rich, full 2015 full of connection and fun.


Kimberly Sandstrom is a Licensed Marriage &  Family Therapist & Relationship Educator in San Diego, CA. Hopeful & handy with matters of the heart, Kimberly helps couples, families & individuals create & strengthen their most cherished connections. To learn more about Kimberly visit: www.KimberlySandstrom.com, For couples workshop schedule visit www.HoldMeTight4Couples.com.


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