This is me and my husband at the Dead Sea on New Year’s day.  We soaked in the sulfur pools, covered ourselves in mud, floated in the sea and went for an incredible hike in the desert mountains.

Why am I sharing this with you?
Because we did this day trip in honor of our 14 year anniversary and it almost didn’t happen.  Our actual anniversary was 2 weeks earlier, life got busy- children, work, the house- you know how it is.  We almost got away with letting our anniversary slip by unnoticed and prioritized other things instead.

Yes, I am guilty of it too.

The day was so relaxing, so rejuvenating and truly helped us to recover an intimacy in our relationship that seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle in the last coupe of months. This day helped us become aware that we are not just pillars of our family that make things run smoothly- we are a couple, we have a relationship built on love, trust and respect.  But this relationship must be nurtured- or distance grows.

2013 is a fresh start and an invitation to make a decision about what you want to prioritize.

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to mindfully cultivate the role that your relationship plays in your life.  As you know, being a parent, and especially a parent of a special needs child, your relationship can easily be put on the back burner. So ,here are…

3 ways to prioritize your relationship in 2013

1. Gratitude.  We all do so much every day that we often stop noticing how much the other person is doing and are only aware of how much we do.  Take a moment, each day, to sincerely thank your partner for doing his/her part (like managing the finances, doing the shopping, doing homework with the kids).  This kind of gratitude not only cultivates love and awareness, but also help you to see that you are not doing this alone- you have a partner.

2. Having alone time- together.  I cannot express this enough- this is hugely important and often overlooked. I suggest a regularly scheduled date time at least once every 2 weeks.  It does not have to mean a fancy dinner, it can be sweet and simple, like going for a walk together or out for a cup of coffee.  The important thing is that it is just the two of you with no one else to interrupt your conversation.
***Note: this time is sacred- turn off cell phones and focus on each other.

3.Communicate.  Sounds simple- but you would be amazed how often this does not happen.  I am not talking about communicating a ‘to do’ list, but honest and even vulnerable conversation.  Express apologies, how you are feeling, what is challenging for you, what you ultimately want, etc.  This kind of communication might spark a conflict (which may be why you avoid it sometimes) but conflict is better than a relationship with no communication-which ultimately is a relationship that is dying a slow death.  I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but this is often what happens.
There are many ways to turn up the volume in your relationship so that you can feel the support, love and trust that you have built together as you live your busy lives.

I would love to hear from you: what is one way you would like to prioritize your relationship in 2013?