Relationships top goal in 2016

I was thinking about my New Year?s resolutions for 2016, and my thoughts kept turning toward love, gratitude and all the relationships in my life?with husband Randy at the top of the list.

We both had some bumpy times in 2015, but are still together. For that, I am grateful. I look forward to being with Randy as we begin 2016.

On my side of the fence, I need to trust him more than I did in 2015, become more transparent in our discussions and have more peace and order in my life. For too long it?s been a relationship in chaos.

This new year, I am pledging to dig deep within myself and set my sights on living life to its fullest by enjoying the good times and riding out the hard times. It?s a tall order, but I know it?s possible.

Two years ago, my most important resolution was to continue improving family and work relationships and enjoy people who come into my life.

Last year, I didn?t make any resolutions. Or if I did, I can?t remember what they were. That?s not happening this year, though. I plan to look at 2016 as a new chapter in my book of life. I want to write this particular section with purpose.

Goals I have in mind include Randy and me spending time together?whether it?s serious discussions or fun places to visit.

We need to go on dates. I would like that to be once a week, but even twice a month is better than the few and far between dates we have had in recent years.

I want to figure out a way to get back to Berlin, Germany, to see our daughter, son-in-law and grandchild (with our second grandchild coming in March).

I also look forward to seeing what new adventures our two sons have in 2016.

Life is not all terrible or all wonderful, but a combination of the two. I need to remember that, especially in family matters.

The pain of loving someone in trouble can be overwhelming and all-consuming at times. I need to work on balancing my emotions.

I know I have a lot of character defects, but I also know I have many good qualities, too.

The defects that can eat me up inside need to be thrown out. Someone once told me it?s like a store manager who doesn?t periodically go through the inven?tory and throw out bad merchandise to make room for the new, good things. That will require talking to someone I trust.

All my life I have worried about other people. Last year, I did things I thought were helping people but weren?t. I tried not to hurt anyone?s feelings, but hurt myself in the process.

Like so many things, 2016 is my fresh start with God?s help and guidance. If I am right with God, I will be right with myself and others.

As the new chapter in my book begins, I need to quash the past and live for the present and future.

Another thing I need to do is talk about money. For once, Randy and I need to resolve who handles the cash and who gets an allowance. Settling this ahead of time will save a lot of fighting. In any relationship, but particularly with mine, sometimes we didn?t fight fair. When a difficult topic arises, we needed to focus on it and not make personal attacks.

I?ve been writing about a lot of changes my husband and I need to make, but I will need to make my goals realistic. Nothing changes overnight.

My father told me that sometimes relationships aren?t always 50-50. At times, one partner gives more, and at times the other. That means compromise. It?s not about giving up who I am, but more about limiting friction on issues that are causing problems. At times, we simply will need to agree to disagree.

Of course, communication is the key. I remember reading about a couple of friends who failed to articulate their needs.

One friend asked the other if she wanted to pick apples at an orchard. Though not really wanting to, the friend said yes, but hardly spoke on the drive.

When they arrived, the friend who issued the invitation wondered why her friend was pouting. It turned out the friend said yes because she didn?t want to disappoint the person who invited her.

But the friend who issued the invitation already had a bunch of apples at home, but thought the outdoor trip was something her buddy wanted to do. As a result, both friends had a miserable time.

I need to remember that communication and honesty go hand-in-hand. If I follow my own advice, keep a journal and move forward, there?s no losing.

I look forward to reporting my progress next year, but until then, happy New Year and God bless you.

Patty Decker is a news and features writer for the Free Press. She covers Marion city government and organizations. She can be reached at patty@hills?borofree?press.com