You do it at work, likely 1 to 2 times per year. You probably do it with your dentist. Hopefully you do it with your doctor too.
Your kids do it too, multiple times per year.
Do you do it with life partner?
I’m talking about the review process. The check-up, the report card, the preventative wellness visit, all great names we can apply to a practice that would do our relationships a ton of good too.
What’s the principle behind our medical check-ups? Catch any problems early before they get worse, before they become big problems. Sometimes our dentists and doctors catch things that we don’t even have symptoms from yet and can help us turn them around before we do.
Interim report cards during the school year can help you and your kids make adjustments so that they can end the year more successfully.
At work you and your boss, typically, will sit down and, if it’s a good process, you will both contribute to a discussion about your strengths, your growth opportunities and your goals and dreams. You may talk about your relationships within the team and your relationship with each other.
These are all very important, very wise practices.
For our most important relationship we often have no equivalent! Too often the “check-up” happens because something is really off. The same is sadly true with respect to couples seeking support with a counsellor, they often wait until it’s really bad and that makes it harder to unravel and get to healthy.
What could a pro-active, regular check-in with each other look like?
As a coach I’m not going to tell you the way to do it. What works for you and your partner will be unique to the two of you but I’m going to give you 5 ideas that I hope will ignite a conversation where you can make a plan best for you both.
1. Plan an annual get-away where you will focus on answering questions together that you have created ahead of time. (Sample questions: “What is one thing you would like me to do more of?” and “What is one thing you would like me to do less of?”)
2. Read a relationship book together every few months and discuss and apply what you learned to your own relationship. (If you haven’t read it yet, Five Love Languages is an easy starting place.)
3. Find a relationship professional - coach or counsellor - that you can do a check-up with. Tell them that you want them to meet with you and ask you questions to make sure you have healthy habits and practices with each other. (So great to have someone who works with you over the years so if something does start to get off track they know you already!)
4. A couple times per year write each other love letters that include what you love about each other and also some dreams you have for making your relationship even stronger. Then share them and talk about them together.
5. Set aside a regular date night that you dedicate to simply talking about these three great questions: “What is going well?”, “What is tricky for us?” and “What do we want to do differently moving forward?”
Of course there are many other great practices too like attending marriage enrichment weekends, couples groups and classes (many faith communities offer these), speakers, etc.
Here’s to proactively making your relationship stronger and more fulfilling!
Until next time,
Luv Life Coach