The Power of Checking In
In many relationships, people will get busy with their daily lives. Things can feel like they are going OK, and for the most part, they are. Working and raising children can take a lot of time and energy.
If you don’t check in, this tends to cause more of a long-term problem, rather than short-term problems. Those who don’t check in tend to build resentment, frustration, and irritation over time. Without checking in with your partner, it’s hard to know what is going on in the other person’s world. Knowing that is what can help you feel closer to your partner. It’s also what can draw your partner closer to you as well.
Here are four things that I remind couples when they think about checking in:
- Checking in can be difficult and easy to avoid. Sometimes the topics discussed are not easy to discuss. You have to point out some challenging things in your life and world. This can make it easy to avoid discussing these things. And your busy life can be just the distraction that you need.
- Practice good listening skills. Checking in is about sharing your perspective and story. It’s also about listening and understanding your partner’s story as well. Remember that listening is the hardest part to any good conversation.
- Trust that the topic is important. Sometimes, when people check in, what they are sharing can seem unimportant, critical, or pointless. Rather than critiquing the importance of this, trust that it is important. Ask deeper questions about it to increase your understanding of the significance of this.
- Plan and commit to it. Many times, people will have intentions of doing these check ins, but they don’t put them in place. This is often because they don’t take the time to plan it into their schedule. Remember that this is easy to avoid, because it can get uncomfortable.
If you take the time to do this, you’re likely to enhance several things in your relationship.
- Trust. We tend to trust people more when they learn about our inner stories and lives. It’s important to avoid betrayal. However, that isn’t the foundation that trust is built upon. This is one way of building this foundation.
- Breaking down of negative assumptions. When we don’t inquire from others, we tend to make up our own stories. When we make up stories, they tend to be negative. If you practice checking in, you have an opportunity to challenge these negative assumptions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat with couples in session, and heard one admit how wrong their assumption was about the core issues.
- Shared goals. In these discussions about your inner lives, you’ll start to see where you both want your relationship to go. This can enhance your relationship dreams and goals. When this happens, you can end up feeling more like you’re on the same road and path as your partner.
I know it sounds tedious. Sometimes it can be hard to fit into your daily life. However, if you practice taking the time to share the good and bad of your feelings and life, your relationship can grow.
It’s also important to point out that this becomes easier with time and practice. When couples start to put this into play, they feel quite clumsy. This is another reason that many of them avoid it. However, after you get used to doing it, you start to realize that you don’t have to have the perfect thing to say or share. It’s not necessarily about that. Instead, it’s about the time that you’re taking for each other.