There are some good habits for couples to get into. Whether they come naturally to you two or you're constantly having to strive and be aware to make your relationship work, there are things that you should make sure you're always doing. But what's the one thing that you should do every day? One thing that's so important, you need to make sure it's a regular part of your routine?
It's actually really easy. As as easy as asking, "How are you today?", in fact. The one thing you need to do every day is check in with each other and actively listen.
"Checking in with your partner every day is more important nowadays than it ever was," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein tells Bustle. "Given the current state of technology, we are already pulled in so many different directions. Work has many fewer boundaries than ever before. We are expected to answer emails, texts, and calls 24/7. Not only is this state of affairs quite stressful to us and our nervous systems, it also has the effect of pulling us away from the intimate relationships in our life, including our partner. For most of us, it’s very easy to chat or text our partners multiple times a day. That’s fine, but there needs to be some direct, face-to-face communication as well."
So it's not just a case of one of you venting about your day while the other half-listens aimlessly. It's a real, deep check-in. But it doesn't mean sitting down and talking about your deepest dreams and desires for hours while weeping softly. All you need to do is to ask how they're doing and listen to the response.
Being Honest Doesn't Have To Be Dramatic
Checking in with each other in more than a rhetorical way is so important. And like I said, you can be honest without being melodramatic. Psychotherapist and couples counselor Mel Schwartz tells Psychology Today, "Without going into details, if you're not doing well your answer might sound like, 'I’ve had better days.' That opens the door to a genuine interaction."
Even if it doesn't lead to more conversation, you and your partner have shared how you're doing — how you're honestly doing — and now you know how to interact with them the rest of the day. If they're having a rough day, you use kid gloves. If you're the one suffering, your partner can be a little more gentle with you.
It's All About Communication — Without Technology
Although grand gestures can be great for some people, they're not the real building blocks of a relationship. Small gestures, like making your partner a cup of coffee, actually build up to mean more in the long run. Not only is checking in an example of this, it's also a great way to keep your communication skills up to scratch. But how do you make sure you're really present? Have time with your partner every day device-free.
"It can be at any time of the day for any length of time but it should be consistent," Hartstein says. "Put the phones, computers, and iPads down and just talk to each other. It doesn’t have to be about anything specific, it doesn’t have to be deep, it doesn’t have to be serious. But your relationship needs consistent, device-free communication every day otherwise it is remarkably easy to lose sight of each other and start to feel distant and detached. There needs to be something a little different, a little special about this relationship in order to keep it going in a satisfying way. You're showing that you're engaged, present, and available for your partner— all while learning how they handle exciting times or period of stress. Making the time to ask each other 'How are you?' and really focus, is a little act that can add up to a lot of communication and trust."
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