Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, why not use January to take stock of your relationship? Make sure your relationship will flourish. The start of the year is a good time to refocus on your relationship vision, think through your priorities and plan the year ahead.
Even though regular, frequent check-ins, are used throughout the year by successful couples, the beginning of the year is a great time to do a more major check-in on how you’re doing as a couple. It’s a good time to reflect and celebrate about what is going well, in addition to looking at what you’d like to change or improve. This ensures your relationship will flourish.
Making plans, clarifying your vision & checking if you’re on track is what smart couples do. Frequent check-ins are done by smart business people, smart creators & anyone who’s successful in their field. Successful couples apply the same principles to their relationship to ensure their continued success.
What success means for you as a couple is a very personal thing. What’s right for you as a couple is not right for the next couple. The clearer you are about what success in relationship means for you, the easier it is to be intentional about the changes and improvements you want to make.
Here are seven key questions which Sarah Abell recommends you consider as you give your relationship an annual check-up.
Think back over the last 12 months and then answer these questions about your relationship. Think about what, if anything, you would like to improve about each area.
1. What are you creating together?
How well do you and your partner work as a team? What do you want to create together? What is the vision or plan for you as a couple and how are you doing at making that a reality for you?
It can be a great help to think and play together about your values, goals and mission as a couple. What have you achieved together this last year? What are your priorities as a couple for 2015?
2. What’s in the memory bank?
One of the most important things that couples can do to invest in their relationship is to spend focus only on your relationship together. Quality time is unique to you as a couple. For some it’s sitting quietly together, for others it’s having a fun, exciting outing together. What pleasurable activities have you done together that you’ll store in your memory bank?
What memories did you create as a couple this year? What were your best and most enjoyable moments? What would you like to plan to do together in 2015?
3. How much did you learn about your partner?
Happy couples are intimately familiar with each other’s inner lives and social worlds. According to relationship researchers, they know how each functions on a deep, inner level, what their joys & successes are, as well as their fears & worries.
How much did you discover about your partner this year? How regularly did you discuss things that are really important to you?
If you want to increase your knowledge about each other next year, many people recommend introducing a 10-minute daily briefing. This is when you and your partner take time to talk about anything under the sun except children, work and household responsibilities.
4. How well did you do on the 5 to 1 ratio?
Dr John Gottman discovered that there is a very specific ratio that exists between the amount of positivity and negativity in a stable relationship. His magic ratio is five positive interactions for every one negative one.
Even though some negativity is necessary to help air issues and voice differences, positive behaviours are what nourish and build the love in a relationship.
Think for a moment about how the two of you have been interacting. What, if anything, needs to change to create a healthy 5:1 ratio?
5. How naked did you get?
I’m not talking physically naked here (we will get onto that!) but emotionally naked.
How much were you and your spouse able to be truly authentic and vulnerable with each other? This is what helps create intimacy.
Psychologist Dr Sue Johnson believes partners need to be able to build a strong emotional bond with each other. To do this you need to be able to express your fears and needs and feel sure that your partner has your back.
6. On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate your sex life?
Your satisfaction with your sex life can often (but not always) be a barometer for the health of the whole of your relationship. How happy were you both with the level of intimacy and frequency of sex in your relationship? How easily do you find it to talk about your sex life together?
Michele Weiner-Davis believes sex is one of the greatest connectors in a committed relationship. “There is no reason anyone wanting a more vibrant sex life can’t have one. Whether the causes for a ho-hum sex life are biological, relational or personal, help is available. Sex-lite marriages often lead to infidelity or divorce.”
7. How much investment did you put into ‘us’?
Great relationships don’t just happen. Great relationships are made over time. They take an investment of our time, energy and focus. Did your partner get the best of you or did they get the dregs after everyone and everything else had used up your time and energy?
Investing in ‘us’ means making your relationship a priority and giving it the attention, focus and time that it needs to grow. What will you do to invest in ‘us’ for 2015?
You deserve the best trained relationship coaches if you’re planning to invest time and money in your relationship. If you’re not ready to book an appointment, call us on 0421 961 687 to book a FREE 10 minute phone consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you.
This post was adapted from Sarah Abell