Check-in with your significant other seems like a weird phrase for relationships. What does checking in with your partner even mean? It seems like it falls under the purview of communication, which it does, but checking in with your SO has a very distinct function it is trying to accomplish. And honestly, the idea of checking in with your partner isn’t new but was solidified as an idea for me after watching a TikTok. (What a surprise a millennial watching TikTok.)
And while I can’t seem to find the TikTok in question, the idea was simple. The couple in the video would check in on each other once a week. (Or month. The details are kind of hazy at this point. Sorry!), and they would talk to each other. The way they worded it made it sound almost business-like, which, if it works for you, have at it. But they would talk about things that the other has been doing to frustrate them, things that their partner has done that has made them feel loved, and other in-depth topics that need discussing. This couple communicates transparently and bluntly that was refreshing to hear about on the internet.
But what does that transparent and blunt check-in look like in your relationship, and how do you get to that level of healthy communication?
Check-in with Your Significant Other
Healthy communication is a phrase that many people throw around when talking about getting into a relationship. But the heck does it even mean? We all have our communication styles and deal with confrontation and conflict. And it’s no easy task to combat our own bad/toxic communication habits when we are in the thick of an argument and feeling frustrated.
I’ve had friends tell me they don’t know what to do when their significant other doesn’t yell back at them during an argument. Of course, they know it’s not something they should do, but bad habits are hard to break. But it’s also the only way they know how to argue and get their point across. Some of it comes from watching how our parents handled their marital conflicts, and some of it comes from our personalities. So what does healthy communication entail?
- Setting boundaries
- Get to the real issue
- Agree to disagree
- Listen to both sides
- Use “I” statements when talking about how you feel
Oh wow, six bullet points outline what healthy communication is but with no real description or guide on how to do it. So helpful, I know. If you want a better breakdown, read more on healthy communication during arguments and conflict here.
Transparency in your check-in
A check-in with your significant other helps avoid assumptions in your relationship. Communication generally does, but a check-in, which is a scheduled time to talk about issues or praises and everything in between, gives you and your partner the space to air out your grievances. Of course, just because you love someone doesn’t mean you like them all of the time. But, isn’t that the nature of close relationships? To have someone know you so well and feel loved and cherished, but on the other hand, they know all the buttons to press that will light you up like the night sky on the fourth of July.
The purpose of transparency during these conversations is to tell your significant other what you are feeling. There is no point in hiding your true feelings; otherwise, your relationship will feel like a prison cell. You’d be trapping yourself in something that should be open and free. And if you feel like you can’t be transparent with your partner out of fear of judgment, you have bigger issues in your relationship.
Bluntness in your check-in
If transparency is about telling your partner your feelings, then bluntness is about accountability. Of course, no one is perfect, and maybe you are holding them accountable for something small. (Doing the dishes, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, walking the dog, etc.)
Calling someone out on their BS is never easy. Either you sound like you’re nagging them about something dumb, or you’re scared they might think you are judging them. Whatever the case, being blunt is important, but there is a fine line between being blunt and being rude. Hold your partner accountable for what they said they would do in your relationship, but don’t lecture them about it. You aren’t their parent. You’re their partner.
Your bluntness and accountability need to come from a place of love and trust and not from frustration or annoyance because that’s how people can feel attacked. But, as I said, it’s a fine line and can take some practice.
What’s the point?
I know it sounds dumb to schedule a conversation like this in your relationship, but it’s important, and you should always make time for the important things. It’s no different than having a predetermined date night or schedule to hang out with friends a few weeks in advance. The time lets you prepare, and wouldn’t you rather know what you want to say than be reactive at the moment?
Much of what I’ve been talking about in this article has been about confrontations and conflict, but a check-in can also be a time to be grateful for your partner. Let me know you appreciate the things they do for you. It lets you be present in your relationship and not take the amazingness of your significant other for granted.