Life pulls us in numerous directions between work duties, day-to-day responsibilities, keeping up with our friendships, trying to maintain physical and mental health, parenting, and so much more. Unfortunately, it becomes routine to put your romantic relationship on the back burner because quite frankly most of us are running on fumes and are at our wit’s end by the end of the day when we are reunited with our partner. Your romantic relationship deserves and needs attention but how exactly can you nurture it? A common homework assignment that I give my couples in counseling is scheduling a regular relationship check-in that allows for intentional time to explore how they are showing up for one another and to ensure their relationship is remaining a priority. Read along to learn what a relationship check-in is, how to make time for a relationship check-in, and some examples of questions to ask during check-in to spark meaningful conversation!
Defining A Relationship Check-In
So what exactly is a “relationship check-in”? A relationship check-in is an intentional time scheduled with your partner to focus solely on discussing your relationship! The purpose of the check-in includes reconnecting, feedback about how each of you is showing up in the relationship, and identifying and addressing any specific relationship concerns that need to be resolved. These relationship check-ins can be used whether your relationship is in a state of turmoil or if your relationship is happy.
Consider relationship check-ins as routine regular maintenance. If you own a vehicle, you have to make it a priority to stop in at an oil and lube shop every few thousand miles to get an oil change to ensure your car is running at optimal performance. A relationship check-in essentially serves the same purpose to ensure you and your partner are connected and operating in the most nurturing and healthy manner. Relationship check-ins should be an emotionally safe space and each partner should feel that they can answer honestly with the intent of fostering healthy communication and strengthening the relationship.
Tips for Scheduling Check-Ins
Relationship check-ins can be scheduled on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. You and your partner can evaluate how often you believe these check-ins should be scheduled. Try to schedule this time in advance so that you can make the appropriate arrangements to allow for one hour of uninterrupted time. For example, if you have kids, try to make sure they are down for bedtime or have a sitter or family member keep an eye on them to allow you to be fully present during the check-in. Once you have collaboratively identified a regular time and location for your relationship check-ins, be sure to remove distractions such as phones and television during the check-in. If a relationship check-in has to be canceled, communicate with one another to reschedule the check-in, and then make sure you stick to that plan! If you keep putting off the check-in, it is likely that the check-in will not happen.
Relationship check-ins should not be viewed as a time to come together to argue but instead should be treated as a time to be curious about your partner. Explore various aspects of your relationship, foster healthy communication, and become curious about your partner’s perception of the relationship. Be open to receiving feedback and recognize that the feedback is meant to strengthen your bond with your partner and to identify how you can show up as your best self in your relationship.
Topics of Conversation
There are many facets of a relationship that can and should be discussed during a relationship check-in with your partner. Here are some ideas of topics that can be explored during a check-in:
- Identifying love languages and ensuring you are loving your partner within their desired love language
- Identifying what support looks like for your partner
- Non-sexual and sexual intimacy
- Long-term and short-term goals for self, relationship, and family
- Coordinating date nights
- Positive and negative feedback for your partner
- Any hang-ups that have occurred recently that need to be discussed and resolved
Relationship Check-In Question Examples
Throughout this blog, you have learned the definition of a relationship check-in, identified tips for scheduling a check-in, and learned about various topics that can be discussed during a check-in. I want to end this blog with a list of example relationship check-in questions that may spark reflection and conversation during your next check-in with your partner.
- What were the highlights of your past week or month?
- What were the lowlights of your past week or month?
- How do you feel I supported you this past week?
- What are ways that I can support you in the upcoming week or month?
- When was a time that you felt loved this past week?
- What are ways that I can show my love and appreciation for you?
- When was a time you struggled emotionally this past week?
- Is there something you need more of from me at this time
- What are your thoughts on our sexual intimacy at this time?
- What are your sexual needs?
- Do you feel satisfied with the frequency of sex within the past week or month?
- Was there anything specific that you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy during sex throughout this past week or month?
- What do you love the most about our relationship?
- In what area do you think we need to improve our relationship?
- Are there any hang-ups or resentments that you feel you are holding on to that we need to address?
- What are you looking forward to in the next week or month?
- What goals do you have for yourself for the next month or throughout this year?
- What goals do you feel are important for our relationship for the next month or throughout this year?
- What goals do you feel are important for our family for the next month or throughout this year?
- Do you feel that we need to make any changes to reach our personal, relationship, or family goals?
Whether you are dating or married, relationship check-ins can be an incredibly beneficial tool to help you connect on a deeper level with your partner, encourage vulnerability, and foster healthy communication for a stronger relationship. If you and your partner need assistance with navigating how to make your relationship a priority and how to use check-ins to strengthen your communication, our counselors are ready and available to provide support! Feel free to reach out to us today to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to take the first step in nurturing your relationship!