Written by Kate Pauley






Our performance in the professional setting is constantly evaluated.  We receive reviews from bosses and peers, and get feedback based upon how we are doing.  These evaluations provide others an opportunity to reflect on how we are performing, as well as create space for our own selves to reflect and consider how we are doing.  These evaluations are useful because they provide us with both opportunities for growth, as well as build our self-esteem and confidence by identifying areas in which we are excelling.


This same concept of the “performance evaluation” can be applied to partnerships, and should be applied to partnerships, though maybe with a little more gentleness and vulnerability than one may experience in a work-place setting.


Enter: The relationship check-in.

couples talking and having coffee

The relationship check-in is a regularly scheduled time to check-in with your partner, assess how you each are doing, and discuss issues that you may be grappling with.  Check-ins are most effective when partners come prepared and willing to be vulnerable.  For the check-in to be successful, both partners need to be open to receiving feedback as they are inviting it in by participating in the check-in.


My recommendation is to set a cadence, and do your best to stick to it.  Maybe you want to check-in once a month, maybe you want to do a mini check-in every day.  The frequency is totally up to you and your partner, but I do recommend that it becomes a priority until it becomes second-nature.


Allow for your discussion in the relationship check-in to be different from every day conversations.  For example, rather than discussing the logistics of which kid needs to be where when, you might talk about how the process of scheduling the week has been going for each of you.  The relationship check-in is a more vulnerable conversation than details and dates.  It gets into the space of feeling.  This may make some of you reading this want to pretend that you’ve never read it because getting into the space of feelings can be uncomfortable.  But, research shows that connection at these deeper levels, though hard to do, actually brings couples closer together and strengthens relationship bonds.


Here are some questions that you can use for your next relationship check-in.  My recommendation would be to spend 10-15 minutes journaling on these questions sometime before your check-in.

  • How have things been going for you?
  • How does it seem things are going for your partner?
  • What has been working well for you? What hasn’t been working well?
  • When do you feel most connected to your partner? When do you feel most disconnected?
  • When have you felt loved by your partner? How have you tried to show your partner love?

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