The early stages of a relationship often seem the easiest. As you get to know each other, you also cater to the wants and needs of your newfound partner. Until you reach the phase in your partnership where you both start doing less and less of the work. Your relationship finds a groove that works, and you stick with it. By the time this happens, most relationships have fallen to the sidelines of work, social activities, and other obligations like family.
The primary secret to any healthy, long-lasting relationship is communication. Not just communicating your annoyances and having general day-to-day talk, but also having meaningful conversations about your relationship. Finding time to talk with your partner about different issues, feelings, and future plans doesn’t require more than a commitment to an hour or so out of your busy day.
So step away from work, clear the air of any chaos, and shut down the technology. Here are the four things you should talk to your partner about and when.
1. Daily Highs & Lows
Take some time each day to talk about what the high points and low points of your day were with your partner. This activity helps you both vent your problems instead of keeping them inside in an environment where you are both actively listening and interested in giving advice.
2. Weekly Needs and Relationship Performance
At the end of each week, carve out a few hours to really recap the week before and plan for the week ahead. You want to ask your partner: What have I done this week that made you feel appreciated? What have I done this week that made you feel underappreciated? Have I met your needs this week? What can I do to do better in the next week?
Most people do not like to talk about their feelings “under the gun.” This activity gives you a chance to talk about little issues before they become bigger ones. When both of you take time to ask, answer, and discuss, it opens the lines of communication on future issues.
3. Monthly Maintenance
Once per month, you should have a good old-fashioned date night where your focus is to reconnect with your partner. Even with the daily and weekly communication, it is easy to fall into a routine and not feel connected During this time, get away from various distractions in your lives. Talk to your partner about anything that is weighing on your mind, from decisions about work and the future to household chores.
4. A Year in Review
Couples who utilize the “year in review” concept in their relationship are more successful than those who do not. Think of this as your goal planning and strategy meeting for your love life. Look over the past year and bring up the biggest issues that you faced as a couple. Ask yourself if there are things that you could have done differently. Determine what you want to accomplish moving forward. For example, saving for retirement, taking a vacation, or starting a family. Have a plan and short-term and long-term goals for your life that are designed together.
It might not seem like much, but having an open and honest conversation about all aspects of your life is exactly what being in a healthy, happy relationship is all about.