During this time of year, many individuals make resolutions. They try to embrace the newness of the year and think about the ways they want this year to be different, better, healthier. We all know the routine – either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s day, someone asks, “Hey, Carrie, what’s your New Year’s resolution this year?” And then, out of desperation, most of reach for tried and true statements such as losing weight or exercising more. But we all know that somewhere around mid-February, these best intentions for a new way of being fall away in the business of our normal ways.
Some years ago, while my husband and I were still dating, we thought it would be a new way of engaging an old tradition by making ‘couple resolutions’—things we could focus on together and in so doing, hopefully hold ourselves accountable. Some were simple, like reading a book together or going away on vacation, while others were more intense, like learning about Global Warming and participating in a ‘green’ activity in our neighborhood. It was much easier to do before we had our son but we still try to have this conversation. It has helped us remain grounded and connected.
But as I was thinking about this activity recently, I realized that there is another important purpose in us doing this together, as a couple. It helps us tap into our commitment to one another. It reminds us both that we made a vow to be friends, partners and supporters throughout our life journey. Our daily actions are the cement between the major life events—taking care of home and self and children may not seem that exciting, but it is the continuity and routine of home life that gives us a sense of belonging and protection and stability. I want to make these resolutions not because I want to CHANGE my life but because I want to COMMIT to it. And the people in my life and home—my husband, myself, our son, and the baby on the way—we are all a part of the commitment that I find so easy to make. Plus, it’s not as easy to think about breaking a commitment like it is a resolution. So if I am going to put my energy into anything, shouldn’t it be something that I want to maintain because it helps me to realize my vocation?
What are the ways that you, either as a married couple or as a family, can think about this new year as a way to re-commit to the life you lead? How might technology use, or over-harried schedules, or silence about important issues be creating a distance that you want to change? I know that we all have interesting insights and ideas about how to make these commitments. Can you take a moment now and share your wisdom with the larger group of us who have read these posts with interest? Can we, as a unique community, agree to pray for one another as we attempt to make these commitments and live them out? I look forward to learning from all of you!
Carrie Nantais, M.Div., MA, currently lives in Detroit, MI with her husband, David, and two sons, Liam (age 6) and Theo (age 3). She is completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology in May, 2017. Her areas of interest include: integration of spirituality and psychology, forgiveness, trauma and resiliency and women’s health issues. When she takes care of herself, she enjoys yoga, being creative, singing loudly in the car and laughing with her family.