Try doing this relationship wellness checkup for Valentine’s, and look at how you can better love (and be loved). Take turns addressing each of the following questions. Make sure both partners get an equal chance to address the questions, and assume there will be multiple answers to every question. You get bonus points for not being defensive, not explaining or justifying yourself and for treating with importance whatever your Valentine says.
1. On a scale from 0-10, what number would you give our relationship right now? What would raise that number for you?
2. What do I do that makes you feel especially valued and cherished? What would you like me to do that would help you to feel more loved and cared for?
3. What do I do that annoys, frustrates or hurts you?
4. Using the 0-10 scale, how affectionate am I? How affectionate would you like me to be?
5. What does romance consist of for you, specifically? What could I do with greater regularity that would make this a more romantic relationship for you?
6. What would you like me to do that you’re hesitant or embarrassed to ask for? What would you like me to say more often?
7. What most helps you to feel connected and close? When do you feel we are most connected with each other? When are we least connected?
8. What should I do (and what should I not do) when you are angry or in a bad mood?
9. Are there any goals you want us to create as a couple this next year? What are they? What are the goals you have for yourself? Are there any goals you wish I would pursue?
10. What did you do this past year that you’re most proud of? What did I do that you’re most proud of?
11. How could I be a better communicator?
12. Is there anything you would like me to apologize for?
13. Are we spending enough quality time together? If not, tell me what you want instead.
14. If I were wanting to be the best partner possible for you, what would I do different?
15. Anything important that we are leaving out of this conversation?
If you do this every year at Valentine’s, you will be able to gauge how your relationship is growing, developing and improving year by year, and you can compare your answers with what you said last Valentine’s Day, and how you felt several years ago.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. You can reach him at 303-758-8777, or e-mail him at his website: heartrelationships.com