Ah, spring. Those first few warm days where people feel the urge to open the windows, dust away the cobwebs, and deep clean the grime that has accumulated over the winter. Relationships can benefit from a regular “clean up” as well, or in this context it could be more of a “check in.” Whether it’s once a year on your anniversary or as often as a weekly or monthly date night, make a point to touch base with each other on the state of your relationship. Here are some things you might have on your task list:
Admire previous handiwork.
What’s going well? In what areas did you thrive as a couple over the past year/month/week? Acknowledge and take pride in these things. We tend to overlook our successes and focus on the areas in which we feel we’ve failed, but giving your strengths the credit they deserve helps you utilize them in the areas you tend to struggle.
Air things out.
Is there an issue that needs to be discussed, a complaint you’ve been holding back, or something that simply isn’t working for you? Let each other know, respectfully of course. Keep your mind open to hearing what your partner has to say. While dwelling on past behaviors isn’t always productive, it’s helpful to talk it out if you find yourself harboring feelings of resentment. Use “I statements” to say what you need to, then focus on how you can move forward.
Do some reorganizing.
Are there areas that have room for improvement? Things you want to let go of or things you want to adjust? Clutter tends to accumulate over time, and sometimes you just need to tidy up and clear away the things you no longer need. Maybe you want to reassess the division of household responsibilities or you want to nip some bad communication habits in the bud. Realigning with each other helps prevent seemingly minor things become bigger issues down the road.
Make a short to-do list.
When you’re cleaning your house, you inevitably end up with a few more things added to your to-do list, like restocking supplies or bringing all that cleared clutter to the Goodwill. Come up with 2 or 3 simple, actionable things you’re each going to do over the next month or before your next check in. They might be related to things you’ve discussed above, or you might simply ask each other, “What is something I can do for you in our relationship?”
Having regular, candid conversations about your relationship is kind of like preventative maintenance – it’s an opportunity to recalibrate with each other to prevent small annoyances from becoming bigger issues if left to fester. Hopefully you’re left with a sense of peaceful satisfaction – not entirely different from the feeling you get from giving the house a good deep clean.