From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.
Even though Christmas seems to be campaigning for “most romantic holiday” with its flirty, “Santa Baby” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” its wistful, “Merry Christmas, Darling,” and its determined, “All I Want for Christmas is You,” I’m not buying it.
Everyone knows Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday, and let’s be honest. There’s nothing romantic about stuffing ourselves with turkey or mopping up sweat and fighting mosquitoes while we wait for the fireworks display to begin. Obviously, the only choice for Most Romantic Holiday is New Year’s Day.
Wait – what? Didn’t I mean to say New Year’s Eve? With its fancy parties and bubbly champagne and midnight kisses? WITH ITS WHEN HARRY MET SALLY RACES ACROSS TOWN AND DECLARATIONS OF LOVE?
Um, no. I really did mean New Year’s Day.
I believe New Year’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. The first day of the calendar year is a time for you and your husband to celebrate what’s happened over the previous year – or maybe to close the door on a tough year. Maybe even a little bit of both. But more importantly, it’s a time to look forward together, to evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t, to make plans for the best year yet.
It can also be a time to get to know each other better, as you reflect on what was most important, most challenging and most rewarding over the past year. New Year’s Day is not naive; it remembers what’s come before. But it’s hopeful and full of potential for what you can do and become, together, from here on out.
So how can you take advantage of this oh-so-romantic day and celebrate the beginning of a new year (and the end of an old one!) with your husband? I have three suggestions.
3 Ways to Make New Year’s Day the Most Romantic Day of the Year
1. Look back on the past year together.
Did you and your husband struggle to communicate this year? Did you make a record number of date nights happen? Was this a year you reconnected – or one where you drifted apart? Did you break some habits or slip into some old ones? Did you fight a battle together and win, or fight for each other (which is always a win)? Take an honest look at the last 12 months as a couple, so you can decide which parts you want to duplicate in the coming year and which ones you want to leave behind.
This can also be a fun time to create a time capsule. Make a list of questions to answer together – or take turns answering – and record those answers. In the last year, what was…
…the best meal you ate?
…the best movie you watched?
…the best book you read?
…the catchiest song you couldn’t get out of your head?
…the most fun you had as a couple?
…the hardest you remember laughing?
…something new you learned to do?
…something new you learned about each other?
2. Make resolutions or set goals for the year.
Okay, okay, we all know that making New Year’s resolutions is often an exercise in futility – or, at least, frustration since we usually break them all before February rolls around. But what about setting one or two goals for your marriage? We talked about this last year, and this year I found a great list of suggested marriage resolutions that you can check out. I especially love the way this list recommends only picking THREE of these goals and then focusing on them.
I haven’t talked with my husband yet, but I’m hoping we can agree on #2, #15 and #16: regular date nights, inviting friends over for dinner once a month, and trying something new together.
This can also be a time to share with each other your individual goals, hopes or even dreams for the next year. Wouldn’t it be easier to reach your goal of running a 5K with your husband cheering you on? And if he shares his dream of finishing his degree, that gives you the opportunity to talk about how you can support him and make it happen together.
Honestly, my husband isn’t very good at the traditional romantic gestures like flowers or gifts or candlelit dinners he planned. But when he looks me in the eyes as I share a dream or hope from a hidden corner of my heart – and then he says how much he believes that I can make that dream come true? Well, I might just feel a little like swooning, friends!
3. Plan a year of dates.
Last but not least, take an hour on (or near) New Year’s Day to come up with a Date Night Plan. How often will you spend focused time together this year? What will you do? How will you budget for the babysitter? Who will make the plans? And then – this is my favorite part! – brainstorm some ideas for date night activities.
We did this last year, and even though we barely made a dent in that list of things we wanted to do together (because we leaned on our traditional dinner-and-a-movie agenda more often than we thought we would), it was still fun to think up new date night ideas! And, since we weren’t all that successful trying new things in 2015, I’ll be pulling out that list for next year, too.
Okay, friends. Tell me: What do you think is the most romantic holiday? And how will you celebrate the new year with your husband?