Many relationship therapists encourage the couples they work with to have weekly check-ins with one another. These check-ins are a time in which partners can discuss anything on their minds, connect with one another and focus on the status and strength of their partnership. This need not be a serious conversation, prefaced by a “we need to talk” opener. Rather, it can be incorporated into a date night and may even become one of your rituals of connection. The goal is for you and your partner to have a discussion in which you reflect on your relationship, openly and honestly share your feelings and assess progress over time.
Below are some tips to help make your check-ins productive, while still keeping them light and enjoyable.
Focus On Growth/Finding Solutions
While it is important to bring up any issues that may be of concern, you don’t want your weekly check-ins to devolve into sessions where you solely share your frustrations. If this were the case, they would likely become incredibly stressful and quickly be removed from your weekly agenda. Instead, focus on what went well over the previous week and what you would like to see more of in the coming week. By focusing on the positive, you can communicate to one another what each of you is doing right and how you want to grow together and show love and appreciation for one another.
Customize The Meetings
It will take a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you and your partner. You want to find a time and place that you are likely to keep consistent from week to week so that these meetings become a ritual. You may have to try out different options, such as over coffee on a weekend morning or after dinner on a weekday. Figure out when you can both be fully present (which also means you should limit outside distractions such as your phones or the TV).
Spend Time Reflecting
It is important to occasionally pause and look back on the progress made. Relationship growth is not linear and while some weeks you may feel on top of the world with your partner, others may be more of a challenge. Look back every few months to appreciate how far you’ve come as a couple.
Notice Small Changes
Changes are changes; big or small. Even if you feel like there’s a lot of work to be done with your partner; every change adds up over time. Celebrate small changes as signs of success. Express gratitude for one another and acknowledge each person’s investments to the relationship as these are signals that you care for one another.
Dr. Marisa Cohen is a relationship scientist and coach, and teaches psychology at the college level.