No relationship is ever truly stagnant. Change is the only constant in life, and relationships are no exception. Change comes both from within a partnership and from without. How partners deal with this change can greatly impact a relationship.
Big, epic changes are easy, in that that they evoke an immediate response. That challenge is in dealing with slow, methodical change. The old cliche talks about how a couple just “grows apart” without realizing it. As busy as our lives get, it is easy not to notice minor changes until they add up into an unexpected surprise.
The key to stopping this from happening is to have what we call “check-in conversations.” Pick a topic of importance to your relationship, sit down with your partner, and discuss it. Topics can range from household chores to work schedules to sex. They do not have to be of earth-shattering importance; just things one or both partners care about
The best place to start is with your current assumptions; this is often where problems lie. One partner may assume everything on a subject is fine, while the other is in the middle of a crisis about it. Even if there isn’t a problem per say, it is possible that both aren’t exactly on the same page and need to adjust.
Even if both are thinking similarly, this is also a good time to bring up changes to those assumptions. Joe and Jill might agree that the current agreement is that Jill always does the dishes, but Jill wants to renegotiate that. Talking about in a check-in conversation is far more agreeable than simply refusing to do any dishes one night.
Check-in conversations can be valuable for opening up new avenues that haven’t been discussed before. This allows partners to lay down ground rules and prevent anyone from feeling like they got the short end of the stick. Joe and Jill moved into a house from an apartment, bringing with it a whole host of lawn care responsibilities. Discussing this before hand prevents confusion or hurt.
A word of caution: these check-in conversations NEED to be safe spaces to talk. They can not be used for accusations or punishment; they won’t work to your relationships benefit if you treat them that way. Partners must be able to express their feelings, needs and desires if a team solution is going to be found to the discussed problems.
Finally, making time for these discussions can be difficult. So plan them into the schedule. Put them on the calender if need be. Because if you put a serious effort in, they won’t happen, and more problems will occur. Make the effort. Its worth it.
-That is all.