Do you and your partner have regular relationship checkups?
What is a relationship checkup?
A relationship checkup is a time set aside to check in with your partner and gauge the health of your relationship. It helps you and your partner identify the strengths and weaknesses of your bond so that you can work together and strategize how to enhance your relationship.
Additionally, checkups are an ideal time to bring up some new things you would like to try as a couple. Most importantly, it’s a time of connection and bonding.
What are the benefits of having a relationship checkup?
A regular checkup helps to build trust between you and your partner and foster feelings of affection.
It helps you resolve conflict more effectively by helping you identify areas of difficulty and set goals to deal with these.
Best of all, having regular relationship checkups requires that you make quality time together a priority. By getting to know each other on a deeper level, you will feel more fulfilled in your relationship.
How do you suggest having a relationship checkup with your partner?
If relationship checkups are not a part of your routine right now, your partner may be hesitant to try this new habit.
To maximize your success in introducing this new idea, find the right time to suggest it. Don’t bring it up after your partner has come home from work and is tired. It may also not be something they are willing to discuss first thing in the morning.
Instead, try to bring it up naturally in conversation while you’re already having a good time.
You could say, “Honey, have you ever heard of a relationship checkup? I heard that taking a moment to assess our relationship can help strengthen our bond and identify areas of improvement so that we can both experience happiness and satisfaction in our relationship. Would you be willing to try it with me?”
How often should you plan a relationship checkup?
There is no set formula for the frequency at which you can engage in relationship checkups. They can be long or short, intense or light-hearted. Generally, couples see success with bi-weekly or monthly checkups.
How much depth should you explore in a relationship checkup?
A relationship checkup can cover everything from work to sex life to dreams about the future. But it doesn’t always have to be this way.
A brief relationship checkup may suffice if you've been together for a short time.
But if you are running into issues that need resolving or want to explore more depth in your relationship, you may want to dedicate more time to the checkup.
If you are new to relationship checkups and you don’t know where to start, the following list of questions can help promote discussion.
- Are you happy with our relationship?
- What do you most love about our relationship?
- What could be going better in our relationship?
- What do you need more of from me?
- How do you feel about our sexual connection?
- Are you comfortable with our financial situation?
- What can we do to make each other’s lives easier?
- Is there anything on your mind you want to talk about?
- Are you happy with how we communicate?
For an in-depth relationship checkup, this list of questions may be helpful in guiding your conversation.
- How do you feel things are going with us, both good and bad? What concerns do you have, if any?
- What do you think we need to do to improve our relationship?
- What do you hope never changes in our relationship?
- What am I doing that you like?
- Is there anything you want me to change or do differently?
- Do you feel loved, supported, and secure in our relationship?
- What can I do to help you reach your goals and feel good about yourself?
- Is there anything that has been making you feel stressed or anxious?
- How do you feel about our finances and financial goals?
- Are you happy with the frequency and quality of our sexual relationship?
- Are you happy with our balance of time spent together and time spent apart?
- How well do you think we’ve been communicating?
If you have children, take a moment to discuss parenting with questions such as the following.
- How do you think we’re doing as parents?
- Is there anything I’m doing as a parent that you want to discuss?
How do you plan a relationship checkup?
These ten steps will help you in planning successful relationship checkups.
First, pick a convenient time.
Consider what time or day of the week works best for you and your partner.
You want to be able to show up when you’re alert and ready to engage. Avoid scheduling a relationship checkup when you are rushed.
Second, make it a priority.
We all know life happens at the most inconvenient moments.
Plan ahead so you won’t be interrupted. Put your relationship checkup on the calendar and arrange for a babysitter if necessary. Treat this time together with your partner as you would any other important meeting.
Third, choose a location that works for you.
Perhaps your home is a safe space where you can relax together. But many times, especially if you have kids at home, it can be a place of distraction. Consider going for a walk in the park or enjoying a cup of coffee at your favorite café instead.
It is especially helpful to meet in a public setting if you and your partner have been at odds with each other lately. Couples are less likely to pick fights with each other in public places, so if you do need to resolve conflict, it may be a good idea to get out of the house.
Fourth, set a time limit.
Dragging out a relationship checkup is draining. Don’t cover too much ground, especially when you first start.
Setting a time limit helps you stay on topic, and it will also give the necessary space for you and your partner to process your emotions afterward without feeling overwhelmed.
Try to wrap up your checkup within 30 minutes.
Fifth, eliminate distractions.
Put away your phones, turn off the TV, and eliminate other distractions that might inhibit the quality of your conversation. Choose to be present with each other, even if it gets a little uncomfortable.
Sixth, set a positive tone.
Be positive and start off the conversation with encouragement and gratefulness. Watch the tone of your voice.
Seventh, listen to show you understand.
Focus on hearing what your partner says before and being sure you understand them before you reply. Do your best to avoid criticism, defensiveness, or stonewalling.
Eighth, plan your action items.
Don’t just talk about what needs to change or improve in your relationship. Talk about the actions you can take to get there. Better yet, write these actions down.
Ninth, finish on a high.
Have you ever heard of the Hero sandwich?
It is a communication tactic where you start the conversation with a positive affirmation, bring up the issue that needs resolving, and end with another positive affirmation. Let the positivity in your conversation outweigh the negativity, and don’t forget to celebrate the progress you are making.
Finally, don’t expect a magic fix.
Remember, change takes time. Be patient with yourself and your partner, and trust the process it takes to allow your relationship to unfold into all it’s meant to be.
Relationship checkups are a useful communication tool to help you understand how each other views your relationship. By regularly setting aside time to check in with each other, you and your partner can plan how to improve your overall relationship health.
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