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10 ways to rev up your relationship in 2009
By Julie Merar | Daily Herald Correspondent

Do something nice for each other this year - like putting down the remote and arguing less.


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Published: 1/1/2009 12:04 AM

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Whether your relationship could use a little work or is humming along just fine, you have probably thought about it during the holidays. Happy relationships take a lot of things to make them work. Why not use a few New Year's resolutions to improve your relationship.

Here is my top 10 NYR couples can make that will get their relationship off to a fresh start in 2009.

10. Exercise together

One of the most common NYR people make each year is to exercise more. It can be difficult to get motivated when exercising alone. Exercising together as a couple can make getting more exercise fun.

9. Cook

Spending time together should be at the top of every couple's list of things to do. This NYR involves spending time together creating meals. Cooking together is a great way to spend time together. It also allows for you and your mate to become reconnected after a long day. This can also teach you both how to work together as a team.

8. Have fun together

This NYR is a fun one to fulfill. Relationships are not all work and no play. Take the time to have some fun with your partner by playing games or taking up a new hobby together. Throw a Frisbee around, stay indoors and play card games, join a softball team together, take cooking lessons, golf lessons or dancing lessons. You'll not only learn something new, but you'll have fun with your partner at the same time!

7. Give something up

Doing something that your partner is constantly asking you to stop? Make a commitment to stop something that is hindering your relationship. Whether it is smoking or an obsession with a hobby. If you are constantly discussing it, then make next year the year that the thorn is removed.

6. Surprises

Spontaneity is the key. Try sending her flowers "just because." Buy him two tickets to a game of his favorite sport - and go with him! Vow to surprise your partner at least once a month.

5. Listening

This one is an important one, yet requires nothing more than listening to your partner. I don't mean the "uh-huh" accompanied with a smile and nod. Truly listen. Keep in mind that your partner is not always in search of answers and may not want to receive advice; he or she just wants your ears all to themselves.

4. Fewer arguments

All couples argue. Make a NYR to argue less. Granted that there may be times where an argument seems unavoidable, but there are many times when arguments are. Pick your battles wisely. Most importantly, learn to compromise.

3. Compliments

Boost your partner's self esteem by creating a NYR to dish out more compliments. Taking the time to compliment your significant other shows you do still care, shows your appreciate and that you find him or her attractive. Surprise your lover with compliments during appropriate times, such as dressing up for a dinner out, a job well done or the way a difficult situation was handled.

2. Dates

No, I don't mean cheating on your significant other, I mean taking him or her out on dates. A little alone time with your partner can be all that you need to feel reconnected. This means time with no TV, no deadlines and no stress. Just quality time spent with your significant other. Even if it's just dinner and a movie or a candlelit dinner together at home, resolve to make time for each other this year. Having a special date night at the end of the week can give you both something to look forward to.

1. Do something

You do not always need to make a grand gesture to show someone you care about them. Something as simple as setting the coffee machine to brew in the morning, making lunch or opening the car door for your partner can really show how much you care. You have heard the phrase that it is the little things that really matter when it comes to showing how much you care. So vow to show how much you care by doing something nice for your partner frequently. It is the practical (and much appreciated) way to show you care!

Whether you are dating, just married or celebrating your 25th anniversary, there is always more to learn about your partner. Have fun doing it! Using any or all of these New Year's Resolutions can make 2009 an even sweeter one for you and your partner.

Other things to do

Don't need a date?

Because you're already engaged? Or just want to hang with the girls in bad bridesmaid's dresses? Head over to Bogart's Bar & Grill, 9701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. in Rosemont, on Friday, Jan. 9, through Sunday, Jan. 11 for a special wedding weekend to coincide with the release of the movie "Bride Wars." Wear your old wedding dress or bridesmaids' dresses and dine on a special menu and sip special drinks, the bachelorette or tropical honeymoon. You can also donate your old dresses, shoes, bags and jewelry to the Glass Slipper Project, which helps needy high school girls get decked out for prom. For more information, see

Be honest

As we swim in political corruption these days, why not reflect on good people who've told the truth? The Geneva History Center, 113 S. Third St., is hosting an exhibit of "Americans Who Tell the Truth" Friday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Feb. 22. The show includes 26 portraits, quotes and biographies of people like Woody Guthrie, Mother Jones, Jane Addams and Margaret Chase Smith. Exhibit hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. Cost is $4 for adults.


Shake off the post-holiday blues (and some of those Christmas cookie pounds) with a free class on chair yoga Friday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Round Lake Area Public Library, 906 Hart Road, Round Lake. Stick around for a sampling of calming teas afterward. Sound like an odd date? It's free - and it shows your sensitive side. For more info, see