Happy New Year, WMC friends!  A new year always feels refreshing for me.  It’s a new page with a fresh start.  I also love looking back on the previous year as we step into a new one.  Call me basic, but I love to see people’s yearly recap photo dumps all over Instagram and Facebook!  It’s such a neat way to look back on the growth, the highs, and even the lows of the past year and reflect on where you’re at now.

The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past year of your marriage.  Connor and I have found it incredibly beneficial to have various marriage check-ins throughout the year, but at the turn of the new year, we carve out some intentional time to really dig deep into how we’ve felt like the past year went and what we’d like to do differently in the next.  It’s helpful for us to check the pulse of our marriage and communicate our expectations in this way.  It’s kind of our own little take on setting new year resolutions, but we’ve found that inviting one another into the conversation helps hold us accountable to the goals we’d like to set and be more intentional about the goals we're setting.  Being that it’s still the new year, we wanted to share with you what this process looks like for us!  Maybe you’ll decide to adopt this new tradition as well!

Connor and I have a notebook where we keep important notes from our marriage– think kind of like a small scrapbook.  It started out as a wedding gift I gave Connor filled with photos and letters I had written leading up to our wedding.  As we’ve continued through our married life together, we’ve added things to this little notebook as they’ve come up.  It’s where I keep our wedding invitation, Christmas cards from each year to look back on, and our goals and prayers for the new year.

Each year in January, Connor and I sit down together and talk about the previous year.  What did we really like about it?  What do we wish we had done differently?  What did the Lord teach us throughout the year?  And then we talk about the upcoming year.  What do we want to change?  What new habits do we want to take on?  What can we be praying for intentionally throughout the year?  I love our yearly review.  These conversations are not always easy, but they are always life giving.  It gives us an opportunity to have an open and honest dialogue with no distractions about how our year went and how we hope the next will go.

After talking through the year, we start getting specific about what we want to see happen in the new year.  We break up our written portion into two sections.  The first is titled Marriage Goals.  This is where we write out how we want to grow together in the new year.  These have included things like be healthier (like everyone in the new year haha), read more, grow in communicating expectations, have more tech free time together, and make it a routine to always eat dinner together sitting at the kitchen table.  Some goals are weightier than others, but it helps us to be on the same page about where we want to go in the new year.  Below that section, we begin a new section titled Yearly Prayers.  This is where we get specific about the things we want to be intentional to pray for throughout the year.  This has included things like continued growth in our marriage, career clarity, salvations we so desperately want to see, wisdom, and a multitude of other things.  Prayer is powerful and we have seen it be incredibly fruitful to go to the Lord together in prayer throughout our marriage.  This list helps us be intentional about the things we’re praying about through the year together.  Writing these out also gives us a way to keep a written record of how we’ve seen the Lord at work in our lives as we go back and see how different prayers have been answered.  These two lists can be as long or as short as you feel is needed for you, there’s no limit, it’s just a helpful way we’ve found to reflect and look forward.

Whether you’ve been married for one week or 60 years, we have heard from countless couples the importance communication plays in your marriage.  This time of setting new year goals and prayers is just one way we’ve been able to be intentional about communicating throughout our own marriage.  We hope that this month as you begin the new year you’ll be able to set aside some time with your spouse and reflect on the last year and look forward together to 2023! Happy new year!