Are You Checking In With Your Partner?
Life can be pretty hectic sometimes. Especially with COVID restrictions ending, life seems to be getting busier day by day. We are able to meet up with our friends who we may not have seen in quite a while, or we may be returning to the office. As life is seemingly returning to “normal” (whatever normal really is!), it may impact those whose relationships were affected by the global pandemic. Couples who may have worked from home together or found they had more time together due to restrictions may now find themselves having a more challenging time keeping up and communicating with their partner. Even outside of the adjustments due to the pandemic, it can be a challenge to ensure we are effectively communicating with our partners and checking-in on a consistent basis.
Communication is crucial to a healthy, successful relationship and it is important to be proactive in communicating with our partners. Lack of communication or poor communication are the leading factors that cause couples to separate, breakup, or divorce (Huffpost, 2013). This is a scary fact, but on the bright side, there are ways to work on increasing effective communication in your relationship! Communication is a broad term and is defined by the Oxford Languages (2021) as “the imparting or exchanging of information or news.” If we reflect on our relationships, it is interesting to think about what information or news we share with our partners, specifically about the relationship.
In my work with couples, we typically discuss some form of weekly relationship check-in or meeting to help increase communication. These check-ins help to create a sense of accountability to make sure couples are establishing or continuing communication about their relationship, even outside of the therapy session or when therapy has ended (Goldsmith, 2012). Scheduling a weekly check-in gives us intentional, preplanned time to communicate important topics and connect with our partner (Carpenter, 2020). I want you to ask yourself, when was the last time you and your partner sat down to discuss and check-in on your relationship? Below are suggestions for questions that can be asked during the check in, as well as tips for how to engage in a successful check-in (Hartle, 2020).
Questions to ask in weekly relationship check-ins:
- What has been going well this week?
- What could use some additional work?
- What are some stressors you are currently facing right now?
- What is one or two things you have appreciated about me during the past week?
- What is something that made you feel loved?
- What can I do to help support you in the coming week?
Tips for planning your relationship check-in:
- Have a shared calendar and decide on a specific day and time to have your meeting. Try to find a time that can be consistent. Have a back up plan in case life inevitably throws a curveball that may postpone the weekly check-in.
- Decide how much time you want to spend on the meeting. I would recommend anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to give enough time to cover the topics you and your partner want to discuss.
- Discuss expectations and boundaries for topics of conversation. Will there be a new topic each week? Or will there be consistent topics you want to check in on?
- Use these meetings to practice different communication skills including I Statements, active listening, and reflective listening.
- Take notes! If important decisions are made, it may be helpful to right these down to keep both you and your partner on the same page.
- Put away electronic devices, or any other distractions.
It can take time to get the hang of implementing these check-ins, so be patient, kind, and compassionate as you and your partner find a check-in style that suits your relationship needs.
Navigating relationships can be challenging, so do not be afraid to seek support from a licensed professional. Feel free to contact one of our many wonderful couple’s counselors at Symmetry Counseling to start working on your relationship today. Contact (312) 578-9990 for more information.
Carpenter, E. (2020). The relationship meeting- How to have weekly check-ins for couples. https://abetterlifetherapy.com/blog/the-relationship-meeting.
Goldsmith, B. (2012). How to Have a Weekly Relationship Meeting. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-fitness/201203/how-have-weekly-relationship-meeting.
Hartle, A. (2020). This relationship check-in can help you rock your marriage. https://twodrifters.us/blog/relationship-check-in.html.
HuffPost. (2013). Survey Reveals #1 Reason Couples Divorce. HuffPost. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/divorce-causes-_n_4304466.
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