Lindy Cooke Celebrant

Making a relationship checkup a priority

What exactly is a relationship checkup?

I consider a relationship check up is best described as something which is done to support your relationship and keep the lines of communication open. If you think of it in terms of looking after and caring for something of value, it makes perfect sense to dedicate time to it as well. After all, we don’t think twice about having an annual medical, doing a defrag on our computer, asking a mechanic to give our car or van the once-over before we go on a trip. So, why not look on preserving, improving and nourishing our relationships in a similar way?


How important is it to have a regular relationship check up?

It’s a common belief that when two people live together they know each other intimately. This, of course, is true is many ways. We know our partner’s likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, family history and hopes for the future. What none of us know, however, is how much we or they will change over time, and in what ways.

What starts out as a close and intimate bond can, without care, suffer as time and events take their toll. The arrival of children, challenges at work, family or health issues, money worries and the stresses of day-to-day life all play a role in how we feel about ourselves and others around us. Often, problems outside the home aren’t left at the door and so what was once a haven becomes a place of tension.


Requirement under the Marriage Act 1961

One of the legal requirements which authorised marriage celebrants must adhere to before marrying couples in Australia is to provide them with a copy of what’s called the “Happily Ever … Before and After” brochure. In addition, celebrants must also provide couples with information on relationship support services in their area.


Before you tie the knot

For a relationship to be successful, you need to know what’s important to you, what’s important to your partner and how you can achieve, independently and together, much of what you desire along the way. An earlier blog post details some of the questions you may like to consider before marriage. Here’s the link to take you there.


Other things to consider

If something’s important to us, it’s natural for us to want to nurture it. If we hope to show ourselves in our best light, we will do out utmost to shine. In order for our relationships to be healthy, we may like to consider including some or all of the following in our lives:

A regular date “night” … time spent with our partner, not necessarily at night, but on our own. It could be coffee and conversation, a walk on the beach, a picnic, or a drive in the country. It doesn’t have to cost much. Lock in once a week, once a fortnight or something else on a regular basis.

Offering a helping hand … with a project around the house or garden, taking responsibility for story or bath time with the kids, or sharing household chores more equitably.

Taking time to listen … turning off devices, finding a place and time to really talk about your day or your week, and really listening to what your partner has to contribute. Showing empathy, even if you can’t solve a particular problem, is a wonderful way to encourage and connect you in a very special way.

Speaking to someone who is trained in relationship counselling (preferably with your partner present) … someone who is impartial, invested in helping you and your family (particularly through a rough patch), someone who can cut through the emotion and get to the heart of the matter. Having a voice, gaining a new perspective, and coming away with tools for managing stressors are all positive outcomes.


Planning ahead

So, rather than just devoting what is often many months to planning the perfect wedding, perhaps our focus should be more on planning a successful marriage. For me, making time for a regular relationship checkup is key.


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