It seems counterintuitive that so many couples are complaining about feeling alone and disconnected despite spending so much time together during the pandemic. However, time together does not always lead to feeling connected; you can be sharing the same but live separate lives. Understandably, couples are also stressed more than ever before. The pandemic has created restrictions, excess screen time, and fear, leaving partners feeling burned out and overwhelmed. Feeling these emotions is part of life but feeling this way for more than four months with no end in sight takes a toll on a relationship.
When one partner begins feeling isolated, disconnected, and unappreciated, they often check out of their marriage. Marriage experts are recommending couples take time to do weekly check-ins with each other. Scheduling a check in once a week with your partner improves communication, prioritizes your marriage, and enhances emotional connection. Below are five questions to ask at your first relationship check-in.
1. What did I do last week to make you feel appreciated and special? This will give your partner a chance to reflect and give you feedback that may have gone unnoticed. Maybe you fixed several things around the house or your partner made dinner or bathed the kids. When life gets busy and your stressed, you often forget to mention the little things.
2. Do you feel like you get enough time alone? How can I help you with this? Everyone needs alone time. If you are an introvert, you may need more alone time and if your partner is constantly chatting you may withdraw. Your withdrawal without explanation hurts your partner. When you ask the question directly in a check in, you can better understand why your partner behaves the way they do.
3. What can I do next week to make you feel more emotionally connected to me? Be sure you keep it task-oriented so whatever you tell them, they can do. If your partner wants you to be more romantic, make sure to clarify what that means to your partner. Specificity works best here.
4. How do you feel about our intimate life right now? Are there specific things we should work on changing? Many times, the elephant in the room revolves around intimacy. Set your intention with your needs in the relationship and offer to be part of the solution rather than a complainer on the sideline. Taking ownership of your part in the relationship is important.
5. How do you feel about the way we resolve conflicts? Conflict is difficult for many couples because they don’t have a plan for fighting fair. Unresolved resentments ruin relationships. Talk about how the two of you will resolve conflicts before you get in the middle of one. Work on fighting fair and taking breaks from the argument to cool off. Once you have a plan, you can practice it during your next conflict.
A healthy marriage must be nurtured and cared for every day. Although no one has a perfect relationship, it’s worthwhile to strive and work toward making it better every day.