This is an important question to answer and research has proven relationship check-ins to be effective for people in committed relationships, with intimacy and overall relationship satisfaction. But why?
First, let’s start with a story…
When Lucy and Joe first started dating the connection was instant. It was almost as if two long-lost friends were reconnected. Conversations stretched for hours. Lucy loved how Joe pulled her to think about the world in new ways. Joe loved Lucy’s curiosity for life. They got along great. At about 9 months of dating, something shifted.
Lucy got a promotion at work and took on a lot more responsibility, which made her less available and much more stressed. Joe saw her usually energetic demeanor change to fatigue and what he’d describe as “being edgy.” Every time he asked if she wanted to discuss the new role, Lucy gave a vague answer and changed the subject.
Until this point, they’d always coasted so this was a new kind of conversation and Joe didn’t know how to support her. For Lucy, work was bringing her joy in many ways but also a lot of anxiety. It wasn’t her best side and she was worried Joe would get annoyed. For most of her life, Lucy has been an “I can handle it myself” type. In a discussion, Lucy said work was “all she had time for these days” so there wasn’t “much else to talk about.” After a couple months, Lucy and Joe started bickering more often. Joe wanted to be there for Lucy and Lucy wanted to connect with Joe, but neither of them knew how to communicate these deep desires.
At this point, neither of them viewed the relationship as “in trouble” but both knew that they were starting to have more distance than connection.
And this is the importance of the relationship check-in:
Being in communication creates connection. Naming what’s going on, naming needs and goals build connection.
Studies have shown that doing regular check-ins in a relationship can contribute to greater relationship satisfaction, enhance intimacy and diffuse the charge around conflicts (as compared to groups that did not participate in check-ins.)
Simply put, doing regular relationship check-ins helps prevent major blowouts. The Happy Partners Project Relationship Check-In method provides a structure for couples to stay in open dialogue around each person’s wants, needs, desires, dreams, goals and challenges, both as individuals and as a couple.
As we saw with Lucy and Joe, not all individuals communicate the same way. Every relationship is unique and every partner brings unique gifts and challenges to the relationship.
The Happy Partners Project’s protocol helps partners stay on track in their relationship before trouble arises, or in the midst of trying times, while teaching good emotional intelligence habits.
The conversation then becomes: “How can we best serve the relationship, together?” — a unifying act that builds toward a shared vision — instead of “This is about You.” Or “This is about Me.”
Relationships are intended to create opportunities for evolution in each of us. In that way, our partner is our greatest teacher and a shepherd for personal growth. The problem is that most couples haven’t been given the tools to check-in without escalating a situation. Others believe that if the relationship is good, check-ins aren’t necessary. By the time many turn to therapy or other remedial options, the relationship is often at the brink of an end.
Divided couples aren’t power couples. With divorce rates still at 50%, it’s time that couples introduce relationship check-ins that can powerfully serve couples as they “go for the gold.” It’s science, and heart, proven.
Grab your deck and get our tips on How to Introduce a Check-in Into your Relationship.
This post is from the Happy Partners Project — a mission-driven method for building and sustaining healthy and blissful relationships. Its first product is a relationship check-in deck. Our belief is that happier partners build happier homes and ultimately have healthier communication, greater life satisfaction, and increased emotional intelligence. For those couples who have children, we also believe that modeling healthy relationships will have legacy effects on the next generation of emotionally intelligent, well-adjusted humans.