Whether you have been dating your partner for two months or have been married for five years, relationships are created from commitment and are continued due to mutual respect and effort. You might have gone through ups and downs last year but this is the right time of the year to turn things around.

According to Margaret Tumusiime, a counsellor with Girl Talk Uganda, among the issues that bring disagreements among couples are conflicting loyalties over finances or sometimes social activities. However, she says, these and more should be among the issues that couples address this year.

Make new resolutions
Ali Male, a counsellor at YMCA in Kampala, says it is important for couples to make relationship resolutions for the new year. He says among these should be challenges that have been faced so that you find solutions as a couple.

“List some of the most challenging issues in your relationship and provide solutions that will help you to overcome these issues,” he says.

Male says taking time to know your partner’s likes and dislikes should be one of your ultimate goals in 2019.

“If your partner loves to attend church, attend with them,” he says adding that doing that which your partner likes will create a strong bond beteween the two of you.

Let go of the past
Tumusiime says couples need to do away with holding grudges in order to move forward. “If you are a culprit for many potential arguments and the underlying issue for future ones, make it a point that in this year what happened in the past stays there,” she advises.

Tumusiime observes that if you find yourself continuing to dwell on the past, it might be a sign to take a step back and consider why you are naturally less forgiving or whether what happened is something you cannot seem to forgive.

She says by focusing on the reason for this recurring feeling, you will find more clarity within yourself and what you want from the relationship with your partner.

Express your appreciation
Tumusiime says sometimes the comfort that a relationship brings is the reason some partners tend to overlook what their loved ones do which makes them treat their acts of kindness as forms of expectation instead.

“To put it honestly, your partner does not have to fill your car with fuel or buy your favourite scent so that your acknowledgment of this type of effort will reinforce your partner to be thoughtful and remind you to feel thankful,” she says.

Discuss finances
Male says although financial chats do have their challenges, they can also be deeply bonding. He adds that these financial talks can keep serious money problems at bay and can help partners to save and invest more smartly.

“Revealing your finances may mean losing some autonomy. Many people see their bank balance as the ultimate achievement of independence. But while sharing this information may make you vulnerable and accountable, you will also gain a new openness in your relationship,” he observes.

Tumusiime says this year, it is important to consider taking your relationship to another level. She says this advancement will help bond your relationship.
“If you have been staying with someone without meeting their parents, make a step of meeting your partner’s parents this year, if you finished this step then go on to introduce them,” she says.

Do not withhold information
“Money is an intimate subject, and we are coached from an early age to be secretive about it. It is hard to break that habit and let someone else in and inviting another person into your pocketbook can mean risking judgment, but do not withhold such information from your loved one,” Tumusiime advises.

Have a confidant
Ali Male, a counsellor at YMCA in Kampala, advises those who do not have a confidant whom they share their relationship challenges with to have one this year. He says it is necessary to have a mutual person who can help the two of you in case of a misunderstanding.