Standing at the altar didn’t you feel your love would overcome any scenario?! We have this belief we will be the couple who is different and conquer any trial that comes our way. Do you check in with each other every week? Does that sound excessive?
Over the years, one practice we’ve learned is to check in with each other every week. We talk about three things:
- Our schedule for the week
- Our hopes and dreams and
- What have we done to hurt each other and what have we done right this week?
The schedule seems minor but it does help avoid conflicts thinking your spouse is available when they are not. It also helps remind each other of events which are important to your spouse and to make sure it’s on your calendar.
HOPES & DREAMS
The second item we talk about are our hopes and dreams. We discuss them without the worry of how much it costs. A weekly discussion might seem too frequent but we’ve learned our hopes and dreams change with life’s circumstances. Some dreams drop off, some new ones get started. Couples have told us they thought they knew their spouse’s dreams only to find out they were on parallel paths going in separate directions.
The final thing we ask is have we done anything to hurt each other. This helps prevents hurts and offenses from building to the point you are saying, you’ve never met my needs the whole time we’ve been married. This is definitely the harder part of the conversation but probably the most important part. It is important for both partners to create a safe environment to allow your spouse to open up.
My husband, Russ, had been creating this safe emotional environment for years. It felt safe enough for me to share how I had been hurt by his words or actions that week. After a while, I noticed he never had any offenses to share with me. I knew I was a saint but I wasn’t that good. haha Seriously, I knew he was holding back so the following week he brings up something that had been bothering him. Now, remember, I’m supposed to listen, ask questions and apologize, if necessary. Do you know the first words out of my mouth were to him? “Are you kidding me?!” And it wasn’t in a nice tone, either. Needless to say, the conversation ended very quickly. I was embarrassed considering all the times he showed me grace.
This brings me to my next point about having this part of the conversation. It takes practice. Don’t get frustrated if you find yourself falling back into old habits. It takes lots of practice and knowing you’re safe. Over time you’ll find it gets a bit easier.
BREAK DOWN THE GOOD
For years, we followed this model but never spent time discussing the good. Our counselor loves this Check-In method but reminded us to not only share the good but break it down just like you break down hurts. Understand why the good happened and watch how encouraged your partner will be from learning what good words/actions had on them.
We believe checking in every week creates emotional intimacy, which helps when life hands you a crisis situation. Check-In so you don’t Check-Out.
Is Checking-In a new concept for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.