This time of year it’s natural to think about starting fresh and making changes, and not just because of the ubiquitous “New Year, New You” ads for Weight Watchers and laser hair removal. If you’re in a serious relationship, it’s a great time to think about doing a State of the Union on your relationship and reflecting on the little ways it can be improved. I’m not talking about cheesy crap like “spend 20 minutes a day staring deeply into each other’s eyes” (although that’s nice, I suppose), I’m talking about using the new year as an excuse to check yourself and make sure you’re doing what needs to be done to keep the old relationship machine well-oiled and running smoothly. And yes, that does include accepting his ear-cleaning habits, as weird and compulsive as they might be…
1. Watch more animal documentaries on Netflix together because “Blackfish” made both of you cry and want to hold each other.
2. Try not to get annoyed when you ask for an honest opinion about how your jeans look and he tells you he likes when you wear a skirt with no panties better.
3. Let him Q-tip his ears multiple times a day without making any comments about it being a “compulsion.”
4. Stop reminding him that he NEEDS to have health insurance.
5. When you fart under the covers, at least lift them up and air them out before he gets in bed because he doesn’t think it’s as funny as he did when you first started dating.
6. Try not to fall asleep on the couch at 9p.m. on Saturday night when he’s waiting to have sex because you’ve consumed half a bottle of wine.
7. Remember the name of his favorite photographer once and for all.
8. Instead of hinting that you hate the ratty hoodie he always wears, just buy him a new one.
9. Extend “penis kisses” into full-length blowjobs at least once a week.
10. Watch the dumb comedy movie from the 80′s that he’s always quoting so you can finally understand the 1000 references he makes every day.
11. Try to scrub “I told you so” and “I think you should go to therapy” from your vocabulary.
12. Confess the weird armpit fantasy you’ve been harboring for years, even though you know he’ll think it’s very strange.
13. Don’t get mad when he goes out drinking with his work buddy dudes and “ends up” at a strip club.
14. Give up on him being best friends with your brother, even though he was best friends with his ex’s brother.
15. Send a naked picture of your tits every now and again (and at least try to appreciate that dick pic he sent while drunk).
16. Plan a few more legit dates at locations where sweatpants are not appropriate.
17. Try to stop waking him up at early on weekend mornings because you’re bored.
18. Let go of the idea he can meet ALL of your needs (like showing up on time and discussing season 2 of “The Rachel Zoe Project”), and be happy about the fact that he cooks you breakfast and understands your oddball sense of humor.
17. Say yes more often when he asks to pop your whiteheads because it brings him so much joy.
18. Try to be your best self with him even if you’ve had the shittiest day of all time and he’s the easiest person to dump all that pent up anger on.
19. Let him cry if he needs to cry.
20. Remember to appreciate the little things he does — like hanging a hook by the door for your jacket.
21. Tell him you like him as often as you tell him you love him.
22. Show up with little presents from time to time — your partner’s favorite snack or a used book by his favorite author.