Have You Ever Evaluated Your Performance?
If you had to rate your performance as a partner over the month of April, what score would you give yourself?
I know this might sound like a bizarre question initially (and if you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, might evoke some desperation about wanting an “A+” or figuring out a way to get extra credit so you can score over 100), but let me tell you why you should be asking it.
We’re wrapping up the month of April, where we’ve been giving you different suggestions for “spring cleaning” different parts of your relationship. Because there are probably just as many dust bunnies in your relationship as there are lurking under your bed!
Our final suggestion for your relationship spring cleaning is to start scheduling regular check-ins with your partner.
We have regular check-ins with our doctor, with our tax guy, with our kid’s teacher, but so few of us make the time for a check-in with our partners!
In our business, our team uses a method called the 90 Day Year to plan out and organize all of our projects. One of the things that I really like about this model is that it makes us look backwards and evaluate our past performance before making plans for the future.
It’s like Steph Curry watching game tape the day after a game, seeing that he was releasing the ball a little too early, and adjusting his grip in the next game. (Can you tell that we’re watching the NBA playoffs over here? Don’t talk to Xander right now if you’re not a Warriors fan.)
It’s so easy in life to keep plowing forward like a horse with blinders on. We get so caught up in our endless to-do lists and daily anxieties that we feel like the only option is to just. keep. moving.
But taking the time to stop, look back, honestly evaluate what we’ve done, and brainstorm how we can improve in the next round can transform our relationships!
If you look back, it gives you the chance to be grateful. (“Wow, I’m so lucky to have a partner in my life that I still want to hang out with, even after 20 years together.”)
It gives you the opportunity to celebrate accomplishments. (“Holy crap, we actually stuck to weekly date night for four weeks in a row!”)
And it helps you become a better person and partner. (“Hmm… I’ve spent too much time working lately, and not enough time reading those Dog Man books with my kiddos.”)
So here’s what I suggest: Have a monthly check-in meeting with your partner. During your check-in, ask each other these questions:
- What did we do really well this month?
- What are we grateful for?
- What did we struggle with?
- What do we need more or less of in the next month?
- How can we be the best possible partners to each other in the next month?
Xander and I just walked through this together (at the dining room table, over dirty breakfast dishes, before I had to dash off to the gym, because we’re busy and imperfect just like everyone else!). Here’s what we came up with:
What did we do really well this month?
- We prioritized a sense of adventure in our lives, by taking a trip to Berlin just to see a good friend hit a major career milestone.
- We went to our first-ever business conference, even though we were nervous about it being “cheesy” and almost cancelled our trip at the last minute. (We ended up LOVING it and already signed up for the next one!)
What are we grateful for?
- We had some really fun times in the bedroom together! We definitely made some memories that we’ll be thinking about for a while.
- Multiple friends recently told us that we’re good at being the glue that holds a friend group together. That really meant a lot to us.
- We celebrated the anniversary of the adoption of our rescue pug, Maggie! Letting this spunky little 12-pound bundle of love into our lives was one of the best decisions we have ever made.
What did we struggle with?
- We dropped a few balls during our travels, and we had some not-very-skillful conversations about those incidents.
- It continues to be an ongoing challenge for us to figure out how to navigate being coworkers and husband and wife. The boundaries between those roles get a little too blurred sometimes.
What do we need more or less of in the next month?
- A bit more quiet time at home (“Nesting!” Xander proclaimed.)
- More make out sessions! There have been too many quick, closed-mouth pecks in this relationship lately.
- Less screen time. Ironic, I know, that I’m typing this as I stare at a screen. But I want to be more purposeful about putting my phone and laptop away next month.
How can we be the best possible partners to each other in the next month?
- Vanessa says: “Take me on a surprising date night!”
- Xander says: “Make me dinner one night when I’m feeling stressed.”
(I’m laughing at the fact that both of our ideas involve food!)
What you’re the most proud of from the last month? What did you do really well as an individual, and what did you both do really well as a couple? Did you slay that pile of paperwork that’s been sitting on your desk for eons? Did you bring your sweetie toast and tea in bed, and even slide socks onto their cold feet when they were sick?
And what do you want to do better next month? Do you want to make sure you do your fair share of the chores, or try to give your partner a good hug every morning?
OK, so now let me go back and soothe that anxiety bomb that I might have set off your gut with the opening sentence of this blog post…
The point is not that you need to get an “A+” in relationships every single month. Nobody’s perfect, and nobody’s asking you to be.
What really matters is that you care enough about your relationship – and about how you show up in that relationship as a partner – to be thoughtful and reflective about your actions and keep striving to do and be better.