check-ins for marriage

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.

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  1. Thank you for the reminder to prioritize the needs of marriage and my husband during stressful times, too. It’s easy to take those things for granted and trust they will be there, when they should be nurtured before the “other stuff.”

  2. I love this. My mom told me gently over the summer that I “like to interrupt.” Of course, I do not LIKE to interrupt others, but the fact that she said this to me has stuck with me, and I’ve consciously worked on it. It it also one of my big goals for 2013. Your thoughts on communication in marriage and the Fast Company article are great!

  3. Valerie

    It’s good that you can recognize when communication becomes a problem. I’ve been married ten years and sometimes its all to easy to let good communication slide accidentally.

  4. Monique

    I love this post. My husband and I use the term “connected.”. When I hear him say, “I don’t feel connected,” we make time to talk right away. It is a compliment to you both and your marriage when you can check in. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. k.

    My husband and I do “check-ins” in the same way. It’s incredibly helpful and can quickly diffuse an argument or tension.

    We also use the term “we’re on the same team” in those types of situations. When we think of ourselves as a team (as opposed to me vs. him) it makes it easier to find ways to work together to solve a problem.

  6. Jess

    I love it ladies! Here’s to high quality communication!

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