Discussions about self and relationship care are often neglected in discussions about parenting. Yet, one of the most important predictors of child wellness is parental wellness (this is why self and relationship care is featured in my parenting book). With Valentine’s Day approaching we parents who are in a committed relationship do well to take stock of how we might better support or improve our relationship with our significant other. The following list of questions is designed to aide in that reflection:
• Do you and your partner have a weekly minimal amount of time you spend with each doing something you both enjoy (without children)?
• Do you regularly point out what your partner does to support your relationship?
• Do you readily acknowledge to your partner your opportunities for growth in the relationship?
• Do you regularly perform nice gestures for your partner without expectation of a response?
• Do you share your sexual preferences and fantasies with your partner?
• If your partner shares his or her sexual preferences and fantasies with you, do you endeavor to be accommodating and flexible?
• Is the frequency of intercourse in your relationship okay with both of you?
• If your partner gets into a conflict with someone from your family of origin, do you side with your partner, at least in front of the other family member?
• Do you maintain mental counts of who did what for whom, endeavoring to establish your greater investment in the relationship?
• Are there important aspects of your life regarding which your partner knows nothing?
• Do you routinely fantasize about being with a specific other person?
• When something goes wrong in your relationship do you wonder how you might have contributed to it, or does your mind go exclusively to your partner’s mistakes?
• Have you and your partner reached a meeting of the minds regarding your financial life?
• If you share children, have you and your partner reached a meeting of the minds regarding how you parent?
• If you share children, do you discuss differences in your parenting in front of the child/children?
• Is your partner okay with you having an outside interest/interests that do not directly involve him or her (e.g., going out with friends from time-to-time)?
• Do you or your partner investigate each other (e.g., check cell phone records, internet usage, etc.)?
• Are you able to bring up areas of concern with your partner?
• Are you maintaining any grudges against your partner?
• Do you regularly do things for your relationship even though you don’t feel like it?
I gave permission to Boston Globe producer Elizabeth J. Comeau to adapt some of these questions for an online survey she created. To see how her readers have responded click here.
In closing, please keep in mind that evidence-based relationship counseling can be quite effective in restoring, fixing or advancing mechanics in a relationship. To find a therapist near you click here.