If you asked a room full of relationship experts to identify the key ingredient that predicts long-lasting love between romantic partners, chances are they would hastily exclaim, “Communication!”
Yes, most of us know that solid communication is the gorilla glue that keeps couples happily stuck together for years, so what do you do when communication is the problem?
I’m here to offer you a concrete and powerful strategy for improving the lines of communication.
Start by agreeing to have a brief, non-negotiable, 10-minute check-in session with your partner once a week, such as a Friday or Sunday night. Consider this time to be a weekly assessment of the health of the relationship.
Address any unmet physical, sexual, social, spiritual, time-related, or other needs. The format is simple. You share your mind for five minutes and your significant other must remain silent and listen with undivided attention. Then switch roles and the second speaker receives the same courtesy.
No technology, no multitasking, no kids…nothing to distract you during this crucial exercise. During this time, you are free to talk about whatever you want, but the hope is that each of you will:
- identify areas in need of greater attention,
- generate a plan together,
- report on progress from previous agreements.
If you and your partner simply find it too hard to accomplish this task, please consider getting professional help. Hopefully, this ritual will not represent the only time you share your thoughts and feelings with your partner. It’s more of a foundation upon which additional forms of face-to-face communication can be built.
A Non-Cheat Sheet
The real purpose of this ritual is to facilitate open communication, practice undivided attention, and troubleshoot any disruptions in how connected each partner feels. If this wide-open space for sharing intimidates you, consider discussing one or more of the following topics:
- what you appreciate and love about your partner,
- your thoughts about any quality time you’ve shared in the past week,
- the ways you’re committed to your partner’s growth,
- what you’re committed to in the next week,
- what you’d like to see from your partner in the next week.
The check-in ritual:
- increases personal accountability
- allows for any disruptions or new commitments to be monitored.
- keeps the relationship feeling fresh.
- promotes a lasting connection and enduring warmth that accompanies a sense of feeling felt and understood.
Even if you abandon the check-in ritual for a period of time, the fact that it was once implemented successfully will allow you to return to it in the future with greater ease.
Follow this ritual and the seeds of love will feel amply watered so the roots of love and connection can flourish. Good luck!