Over the weekend Mr. Lively and I discussed a few of our intentions for next year, including our intentions for our marriage.
While reflecting on 2012, we realized we strayed away from a lot of the positive communication habits we had while dating.
Early on, I was intent on using a lot of communication skills to help us set a good foundation like empathic listening and “the talking stick” (to help me listen more patiently when I was upset). But as we focused on many major life events like the engagement, elopement, home, and puppy this year, we stopped communicating as effectively.
Instead, we subtly let familiarity and the comfort of our vows keep our bond strong, not our communication.
This distraction from properly talking to one another didn’t mean we fought more often, but it did mean any disagreements we had were not dealt with very well. We didn’t listen quite as deeply nor reflect back to the other person as often.
To help us work those discussion skills back into our marriage, we have decided to create a term we can use when either of us feels the need to talk about something important. We’re calling it a Check-In.
Rather than let a topic that may seem insignificant to the other person go unnoticed, or escalate later, we can use this term to communicate the importance of a conversation. It also indicates that we want to have an emphatic dialogue right away, which will help avoid potential arguments.
By having a specified term, we can even interject a “Check-In” in the midst of a discussion as well, if needed. Which will help us bring effective communication into a conversation that has already begun… and might have the potential to become an disagreement.
Though I am sure it won’t stop us from ever having another argument in 2013, I do believe that having this shared term will help us build our Seeking to Understand skills, communication, and marriage overall.