Want to keep your romantic closeness on track?
Then start asking each other weekly relationship check-in questions!
Experts agree that incorporating a regularly scheduled talk to share comments, concerns, kudos, and feelings is the emotional equivalent of spinach: it keeps the relationship strong and healthy.
So that’s what we’re unpacking today.
We’ll explore how to structure an effective conversation and review probing check-in questions that will help keep your relationship finely tuned.
What Is a Relationship Check-In?
Relationship check-ins are premeditated, scheduled, intentional meetings where couples spend time asking and answering pointed questions about the “state of their unions.”
The goal is to be as open and honest as possible and review what’s going well and what needs improvement.
Couples check-in questions are both practical and emotional. But the ultimate goal is diving into questions that genuinely relate to your situation and relationship.
How often should you do a relationship check-in?
It depends. Some couples make it a weekly event; others do it every 15 days or monthly.
Doing it spontaneously is also an option so long as you formalize it and set an intention to communicate about your partnership.
Why Relationship Check-Ins Are Healthy
Relationship check-ins aren’t only for couples in trouble. People that incorporate the practice into their routines usually enjoy healthier relationships than those who don’t.
- Address Issues Before They Explode: Having a scheduled meeting allows you to pinpoint a problem before it morphs into a crisis.
- Enhance What’s Working: The opposite is also true. Your relationship benefits when you know what makes your partner feel good — and vice versa.
- Bonding Habit: Having a regularly scheduled deep talk will strengthen your bond.
- Practice Listening and Compromising: Structured conversations in which both parties agree to let the other person have their say helps strengthen listening skills.
- Maintain Good Mental Health: Excellent communication is a pillar of good mental health. Relationship check-ins go a long way in this arena.
How Do You Start a Relationship Check-In?
So what does a relationship check-in look like?
Should you do it at home? Combine it with a date night? Is it smart to set parameters? Let’s get into it.
Set a Time
While it’s possible to do a check-in on the spur of the moment, relationship experts advise setting a time in advance and treating it like a high-priority event on your schedule.
Christina and Matt are thirtysomething professionals with hectic schedules. “Prioritizing our monthly check-in has saved our relationship,” explained Matt.
“Making it a ‘big deal’ has helped me understand and internalize that our relationship is important to Matt,” continued Christina. “It makes a huge difference in our crazy lives.”
Set a Time Limit
Establishing a time limit is another good idea. Failing to do so could let the conversation spiral out of control, and you risk not accomplishing anything.
When setting the date and time, be mindful of what you want to discuss at the check-in. Ask your partner if they have any significant issues to unload.
Then determine if you’ll need 30 minutes or two hours. Note that anything over 120 minutes is usually overkill.
Make it Comfortable
The last thing you want is to infuse your check-in meeting with unnecessary stress. As such, keep things comfortable. If that means sitting at home in sweats over a glass of wine, go that route.
If you’re active folks who feel your best when hiking or kayaking, go that route.
However, don’t combine date night with relationship check-in time. They’re different things with disparate goals.
Relationship check-ins where both parties talk over each other aren’t effective. They usually erode into screaming matches, and neither party feels heard or seen. So make an extra effort to take turns speaking.
You may even want to use a “conch” or object the person speaking holds. If you do not have the item, it’s your turn to listen.
Start and End With the Good Stuff
Start and end on a positive note. Begin the meeting with a hug and kiss, then finish it with a high-five and a pleasant meal.
Also, kickstart and cap the conversation with positive questions and topics.
21 Vital Relationship Check-In Questions You Should Ask
We’ve looked at the structure of what makes for an effective session. Now, let’s explore some relationship and marriage check-in questions.
1. What do you think was the high point of this [week/month/period]?
Do you and your partner’s answers align? They don’t have to match exactly, but you may want to dig deeper if your partner considered your highlight a low point.
Note that improving your mindfulness skills will help you have answers ready when this question is on the table.
2. What do you think was the low point of this [week/month/period]?
Relationship check-ins should explore the good and the bad. So delve into the low points, too. What annoyed both of you? Did you hold anything in for the sake of keeping the peace?
This is your chance to air any grievances. Remember, though, that the goal is to stay cool, calm, and collected. Approach disagreements with compassion and grace.
3. Did I say or do anything that made you feel bad about yourself or the relationship?
Sometimes we say things off the cuff that sting our partners’ feelings. Find out if you unwittingly hurt your partner and vice versa.
Your significant other may broach something small that seems silly and inconsequential. When this happens, remember that tiny things can often cut the deepest. It’s the paper-cut phenomenon.
As such, try not to be dismissive.
4. Did I say or do anything that made you feel especially loved?
Relationship check-ins are also about puffing each other up. Praise each other for sweet and thoughtful gestures.
It’s also okay to say that you didn’t feel particularly loved or appreciated. Use the opportunity to explain why and suggest solutions.
5. Is there something you wish you had done differently? Why?
Check-ins are also about checking ourselves. Is there anything you and your partner each wish you had done differently?
Do you need to apologize for something? Flushing your faults in a safe environment can be exceptionally cathartic, and it’s an effective tool for maintaining good mental health.
6. Is there something you wish I had done differently?
Continuing on the improvement track, question each other about things you each wish the other had done differently. It could be something as small as washing their dishes after a meal or as big as not flirting with other people.
But again, try not to let things escalate. The aim is to discuss things in a productive environment.
7. Do you have any potentially stressful situations coming up?
This may be one of the most critical questions of any relationship check-in session. Because when we know our partners’ plates are overloaded for the upcoming period, we can prepare and adjust.
It also allows the other person to reframe situations and not take things too personally.
8. How did you feel about our intimacy level this [week/month/period]?
If intimacy is an integral part of your relationship, openly discussing your sex life is vital. Are you both satisfied? If not, why? Are there easy solutions?
This question, however, shouldn’t be used to guilt a partner into uncomfortable sexual scenarios. Everyone has autonomy over their bodies and should never be pressured into sexual experiences they’re not interested in having.
9. Would you like to add anything to our schedule this [week/month/period]?
Maybe it’s time for a date night. Or perhaps one of you wants to be out of the house a bit more. Whatever the case may be, state your case.
If one party doesn’t want to participate, discuss why. Is it something the person can do on their own without hurt feelings?
10. Would you like to remove anything from our schedule this [week/month/period]?
Sometimes, one partner may be obsessive about packing in as many experiences in a week as humanly possible, and their enthusiasm exhausts the other person.
In such cases, removing certain activities or events may also be necessary. Again, unpack the whys and determine compromises.
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11. Did we do a good job of sharing responsibilities?
One of the most common pitfalls of any relationship is resentment. So make sure both of you feel like the other is pulling their weight.
There will be times when circumstances require one party to take on more responsibility. Life is unpredictable. Just ensure neither one of you feels unfairly strained.
12. How do you feel about our finances?
Couples who live together, are married, or otherwise share financial obligations must have regularly scheduled discussions about where things are and where they’re going.
Are there debts that we must address? If there’s a surplus, what’s the saving or spending plan?
13. Did we spend enough quality time together?
This line of questioning should be a top priority for busy people.
While you may not always have time to enjoy an entire day off together, finding a few hours here and there is vital. The goal is quality over quantity.
One party feeling like the other requires too much time could be another topic to tackle.
14. How did you feel about our food consumption this [week/month/period]?
As they say: We are what we eat! If you and your significant other live and cook together, discussing meal planning and prep is wise.
This is especially true if one or both of you have health issues to consider. Remember that expressing genuine concern is wonderful; dietary shaming, however, is unhelpful and unkind.
15. What could we do to be healthier this upcoming period?
Apart from diet, could you do anything to be healthier in the upcoming days or weeks? Perhaps you both work from home and could stand to get out and get moving a bit more?
Or maybe you’re spending too much time obsessing over social media.
Whatever the case, identify things that aren’t productively contributing to your life and think about ways of eliminating or lessening them.
We’re not suggesting eradicating all vices and pleasures from your life. They’re essential for balance. Instead, focus on things that are having a desirable negative impact on your day-to-day existence.
16. Did we focus enough on our goals?
Do you have set goals? Support each other by reviewing what you each accomplished over the elapsed period.
Did you make progress? Did either one of you prevent the other from pursuing their aims? Was it a fair and legitimate reason?
17. What can we do this upcoming [week/month/period] to further our goals?
Assessing accomplishments is important — and so is planning your steps. Take a few minutes to plot out things you can do to further your objectives.
Explore ways to help each other out. Are there any synergies?
18. What can we celebrate this [week/month/period]?
No rule says you can only celebrate on holidays, birthdays, and major life events. Try to find something each session worth throwing your hat in the air over.
19. Do you think we’ve been avoiding a topic that needs to be addressed?
Some topics are more challenging to broach than others. Dig deep and find the courage to introduce conversations that require nuanced understanding.
And don’t just talk about the nuts and bolts of the issue. Discuss why it’s difficult to talk about.
20. Did you have enough alone time this [week/month/period]?
Quality time is vital for any partnership — and so is alone time. Did both of you have enough space to stretch your silence and fill your emotional tank?
21. How do you think the kids are doing?
Do you have children? If so, dedicate a few minutes to discussing how they’re doing. Are you on the same page?
If not, why? Is there a problem? Brainstorm potential solutions. But don’t forget to consider your kid’s circumstances and feelings.
Check-ins have the power to improve a relationship vastly. Take the exercise seriously and commit to working cooperatively.
So long as you both approach it with sincerity, you’ll be able to build a healthy relationship that can withstand life’s ups and downs.