Relationship Check In
Relationship Check In
[Part one of three]
A week after Ayla was born Stuart and I had our first relationship check in. I heard about this concept on the amazing Project Love podcast in this interview (at the 41 min mark).
We are now coming up to our 6 month ‘relationship check in anniversary’ and I absolutely love this process and feel that it has helped us enormously, both in our relationship and in the pursuit of our own personal goals.
Please note, this is not like one of those instagram posts painting the perfect granola making, yoga teaching, green juice drinking earth mumma goddess…. absolutely none of that… our house is a mess, I get moody and snap sometimes, cry other times (more especially when we have very broken nights sleep) and I often find chocolate on my cleavage and sometimes my little baby’s cheek in fact the other day as I was breastfeeding I watched an ant carrying a piece of granola across the living room floor (yes it was homemade, in case you were wondering, so there is that…).
That said, in the midst of the madness that is 2020 we’ve had a little flurry of creativity and productivity in our home despite having had 2 kids under 2 and no childcare. I really think a lot of that is due to this structure we created to hold our week, drum roll… our weekly relationship check in.
During lockdown Stuart managed to start 3 new companies as well as grow his existing business and I have started on some creative pursuits that I have been dreaming of for years – e.g. I started writing a book on motherhood, and I have written kids stories with my Mum illustrating them (we are working on our fourth book now).
I believe that our weekly relationship check in ritual has contributed massively to all of this happening for two main reasons, firstly STRUCTURE and secondly ACCOUNTABILITY.
I personally do this process weekly with my husband, we have a set time on a Friday. It takes us approximately 45 mins. However, you do not need a romantic partner to do this with. You can do this with your best friend, your sibling, your colleague… someone you feel close to and who will support you in pursuit of your dreams. And it can be weekly, biweekly or monthly.
I find myself often cut and pasting the process to friends of mine who keep asking about it so I figured others may also be interested….
Here is the structure we use and feel free to use it, adapt it, do with it what you will…
|Appreciations||Here you share 5 things you appreciate about your partner….
(Alternate turns with this, you share one and then your partner shares one and so on. We make sure we are sharing different things that we appreciate about each other each week).
|Start sentence with I appreciate… (e.g. I appreciate how well you packed one hold bag for our entire family, I appreciate how you manage to have client calls and cook for us at the same time).|
|News||Things that you may have forgotten to tell your partner about during the week.||e.g. Julie’s wedding date has shifted to April next year.|
|Goals update||This is where you share where you are at with each of the three goals you set last week.
(It is up to you how you structure this, we do one of us going through our three goals and then we switch)
|e.g. Write a chapter for my motherhood book – update – I almost finished it, I am not quite happy with the ending so I will rework the last paragraph.
|Goals for the coming week||It makes sense for them to be as SMART as possible but we are not sticklers to this. At least two of them are in line with our longer term goals (see note about this below) and sometimes we have health goals too.
|e.g. Complete one pager on my new project idea and send out to five people I would like to collaborate with on it.|
|Confessions||In the original podcast I heard explaining the process they mention using the category ‘mysteries’ but this didn’t really make sense for us, so we changed it to confessions.||e.g. This week I tasted my own breast milk or this week I almost dropped a saucepan on Remmy’s head.|
|Requests for change||Rather than say in the moment the thing you would like your partner to do differently – please can you put the lid back on the toothpaste? – you wait until the relationship check in to do it. You alternate requests for change from your partner.||e.g. Please can you put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket? Or rather than a direct request you figure out together a solution to a joined problem. Can we find a solution for the cloth nappy system that both works for us? And you use that time to create a joined solution.|
|Gratitudes||Say something you are grateful for in your partner. This is much like the appreciations and it feels good to end with a positive||e.g. I am grateful that you are such a sensational cook.|
Enjoy the process and please if you do a relationship check in I would love to hear how it goes, either in FB comments or send me a private message.
Please note – when we did this for the very first time we set 3 long term goals and 3 short term goals our weekly goals are almost always somehow aligned with these goals. More on this in my next post.