All relationships require communication to survive. When communication is respected and open in a relationship, especially a romantic one, it builds safety and trust. Learning how to communicate with your partner can give you an even stronger foundation for your relationship moving forward. Knowing that you can trust each other to be open and honest makes daunting relationship conversations easier to handle. Many couples find starting a regular relationship check-in gives them a chance to connect often and work through problems together.
A relationship check-in is more profound than a surface-level conversation.
It’s so easy to get into the habit of only skimming the surface in conversations. Doing a proper job takes time, and it is helpful to go deeper. This might feel overwhelming initially, but it can go a long way toward making both partners feel seen and validated.
You might have plenty of conversations with your partner and wonder if a check-in is necessary. Giving yourselves a dedicated space to address issues and express appreciation is a powerful way to prioritize your relationship. Checking in regularly can help you find patterns that aren’t serving your relationship, allow you to celebrate each other, and to even spot issues as they arise before they get a chance to get too big.
Everyone is overbooked these days, so don’t worry about having to find a huge chunk of time to make a regular check-in happen if that’s not realistic for you. Start small as you build this new habit of checking in with your partner. Maybe at first, you can set aside 15 or 20 minutes to sit down together and have a conversation and see how that feels as you move forward. You might want a longer chunk of time to connect, and that’s fine!
The crucial part of a relationship check-in is to be consistent. It might feel like the last thing you want to do when you have free time is to sit down and talk to your partner about important things, but consistently showing up can be transformative to your relationship.
What should you include in a relationship check-in? Here are some suggestions:
1. Set yourselves up for success
It’s always tricky starting a new habit, and it can be incredibly overwhelming to sign up for regular emotional conversations. Do what you can to make it as easy as possible to check in with each other regularly. Maybe add a quick recurring event weekly on your calendars or add it to something you do regularly, like grocery shopping. The key is to make it as easy as possible for you both to feel present and engaged in the conversations.
You can also see what you can do to make a regular relationship check-in into a meaningful ritual between you. Some couples like to go out on a date and check in there. Others prefer to check in at home or while on a walk. Wherever you decide to talk, make sure you’re both comfortable and not distracted.
Remember, the two of you are on the same team. When problems arise, it can be easy to jump into the “me vs. them” mindset, but try to pause when that urge comes up. Is the situation really you versus your partner? Or is it the two of you together versus the problem? Remind yourself that you can work together and support each other through whatever is going on and take it from there.
2. Express appreciation for one another
Everyone likes to feel appreciated or celebrated, especially by a romantic partner. Often we get into patterns in relationships where we take things for granted and choosing to notice and understand your partner can help counteract that. Is there anything your partner has done lately that you appreciate? Has something happened that you would like to celebrate with your partner? Check-ins aren’t only for talking about relationship problems; they also give couples a chance to appreciate one another regularly.
3. Ask questions
A relationship check-in is a perfect time to ask questions of each other and take turns answering. Asking questions is a way to get to know each other on a deeper level and find ways to improve your relationship. You can ask each other questions like:
- What do you think is working in our relationship right now?
- Is there something you wish we did more or less?
- Are you feeling close and connected to me?
- Is there anything from the last week that we need to discuss and resolve?
- Are there any perpetual issues that keep coming up?
- How would you like to be shown love this week?
- How can I support you best this week?
- How do you feel about our sexual connection?
4. Check-in on responsibilities and goals
Relationship check-ins give you an opportunity to talk about the responsibilities the two of you share, like childcare or housework. Are you happy with the distribution of labor in your relationship? Are you connecting as a parenting team? Do you feel like you’re both being supported adequately?
This is also a great time to check in on goals that the two of you have worked toward together. What are your hopes for the future? Are you on track with your goals, or do you need to adjust some expectations?
5. Bring up concerns
Is there anything that isn’t working that you need to discuss? Remember, when problems arise in relationships, it doesn’t mean your relationship is bad. All relationships have ups and downs, and learning how to talk about the natural changes will serve you better than waiting for issues to cause irreparable damage.
This part of the relationship check-in lets you work together to repair and solve problems to keep feeling like a team, even when tough stuff comes up.
Are you looking for more support with communicating effectively in your relationship? Working with a holistic couples therapist can help you find ways to communicate that keep your connection strong and happy. Learn more about couples counseling or contact us here.