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Sacred Check-Ins for Couples

This Activity for Couples Involves:

Discussing the relationship in a sacred, ceremonial setting

Connecting heart to heart, soul to soul, and also logistically

Creating shared dreams and goals +
creating a road map to reach those destinations 

Assessing your individual & collective progress toward the shared dreams and goals 

Sharing relationship needs with each other + reflecting upon how well you met
your partner's needs each month

Re-enforcing the importance of sacred ritual and pure presence in your relationship

Step One - Individual Reflection

This initial step is to be completed on your own. Set aside time to mindfully focus on what you want to create in life, what qualities you want to embody (both personally and within the relationship), and what goals/dreams feel most aligned with your soul. This activity should include reflecting upon all major categories of importance to you such as: family, relationship, spirituality, health, finances, home/living situation, career dreams, travel, creativity, retirement, etc. I encourage you to make this activity sacred in nature, rather than approaching it as yet another thing on your "to do" list. Think of this as a very special process meant to help you calibrate your external world to your deepest internal world: the world of your values, soul-needs, and joyful desires.

Also, as part of this first step, each partner should separately reflect upon 4-10 of their core relationship needs. These might relate to communication, support, shows of affection, intimacy, archetypes, leisure time, family, inter-personal dynamics, spirituality, or any other needs you have. The more clear and honest you are with yourself during this process, the more clear and honest you can be with your partner when it comes time to share your needs.

Step Two - The First Sacred Check-In

Time, Location, and Mood

As a couple, set aside a designated time each month for your Sacred Check-Ins. You are about to have the first one! As noted in the Individual Reflection, commit to making this process ceremonial and sacred, rather than a "regular conversation." Some couples begin with a shared meditation, a prayer, words of love and appreciation, lighting candles, a special meal or drink, dressing neatly, or any other form of ritual that feels right for your unique partnership. I also suggest creating a sacred space for your check-ins, rather than having these check-ins in the same spot you eat, work (or argue!) If a designated spot isn't available to you, be sure to transform a more regular/multi-purpose spot into a sacred spot before the check-in begins. That transformation process can be as simple as changing the lighting, blessing the space, or bringing a few meaningful objects into the space with you for the check-in.

It's also important that each individual has the right mindset going into the monthly check-ins. You may not often get to share such focused, intentional, special time with your partner, so it's best to honor and respect this time by showing up as peaceful, grounded, loving, and clear-headed as possible. Ideally, you will approach this activity with great devotion and reverence for your relationship.

Sharing Goals, Dreams, & Needs

The first Sacred Check-In is likely to be the biggest one - so set aside extra time (you may even need several evenings.) Begin by sharing the findings from your Individual Reflection, and have your partner do the same. Listen to your partner's share with an open mind and open heart; remember that your partner is sharing his/her deepest dreams, needs, and values - and these deserve to be heard & held with pure presence. Try not to take things personally or interject your concerns at this point. If you have questions or need clarifications once your partner has finished sharing, that's perfectly fine. But remember: your partner has just revealed their inner world - and that took a lot of vulnerability - so please respect & honor their truths as a benevolent witness (or with loving curiosity!) rather than acting as a critic with an agenda of your own.

Aligning of Goals & Dreams

Once you've both shared your Individual Reflections, and all questions have been answered/explored, it's time to merge your dreams and goals together with your partner's. Think about how each of your current and future lives can best fit together. What does your shared world look like in 10 years, 5 years, 1 year? Go over every category (i.e. family, spirituality, finances, etc.) carefully and thoroughly; the more clear, honest, and detailed this process is, the more stable (and excited!) each of you will eventually feel because there will be nothing hidden, murky, or un-discussed. And: it's great to have a shared plan. The structure of a shared plan allows couples to then flow freely within that plan, creating a beautiful balance between structure & flow in their lives. 

As mentioned, this conversation may extend into an extra day or two if there are areas that need a lot of conversation & understanding before they align. For example, if one partner is set on moving across the country in a year, but the other partner's top priority is staying put for 15 more years, there may be a deeper conversation to be had, compromises to be made, and multiple options discussed in order to satisfy each person's desires and goals. Most importantly, always make sure the relationship is being placed as a top priority in your life. You may need to talk about what that means to each of you. What does that mean to you? What does that look like? What does that feel like? What does it look and feel like to your partner?

Sharing Core Relationship Needs

When you come to the part of your first Sacred Check-In where you share your core relationship needs with each other, it might be a great time to also discuss exactly how those needs can be fulfilled. For example, if the husband shares that one of his core needs is "to feel seen", his wife may think, "I see him all the time. I guess I'll just keep looking at him and he'll be happy." Right...good luck! What if, instead, the husband shared his need core need "to feel seen" followed by, "And here are some of the times I feel seen by you: when you listen to how I feel about things and ask me questions about my hobbies, my business, my ideas, and my family, instead of changing the subject back to you so quickly. We can talk about you, too - I want that - but I also want to know you're interested in who I am and who I'm becoming... and not always in a way that relates back to you. Another way I feel seen is when you give me random compliments for things I do around that house. I know you feel like you shouldn't need to praise me for doing my share of the chores, but when you do praise me, I feel like you see how hard I work at home, even after working such long hours at my office, and I feel really appreciated." Obviously, in the second example, the wife has a much clearer idea about how to fulfill her husband's need "to feel seen". Again: clarity is key! In the words of Brené Brown, "Kind is clear. Clear is kind." The more detailed and specific you can be about your core needs and how your partner can best fulfill them, the better prepared your partner will be to give you exactly what you need in order to feel most loved. 

Monthly Goals toward Shared Dreams

It's time to decide what steps each of you will take during the upcoming month, in order to move closer toward your ideal life (the merged life you outlined together.) While you don't want to set yourself up for disappointment by setting unrealistic monthly goals, you also don't want to underestimate the power of what you can change/create/become when you put your mind to it! Goal-setting works well when you can identify measurable "success marker points" so that when you re-visit these goals next month to asses whether or not you made progress, there's a clear way to tell if you did or not.

Monthly Intentions for Relationship Needs

When it comes to setting monthly intentions/promises/commitments for how you'd like to best fulfill your partner's stated needs, some couples like to focus on all the needs, every month. For example, they want to focus on ALL of their partner's 4-10 core needs, every month. Other people like to highlight one or two core needs they'd like for their partner to focus on during the upcoming month. Either method is great! Just remember: if you have specific ways in mind that you want your partner to fulfill any particular need, share them. As much as your partner loves you, he or she may not know exactly how to show up for you in the ways you need, so help them understand what makes you feel the most loved and supported. 

The Sacred Relationship Book

Record all of this in a special book or journal designated solely for your relationship check-ins. This book should include the big, shared 10 year plan, 5 year plan, and 1 year plan, as well as each partner's list of core needs, and finally the monthly notes/goals/progress.

Optional: Relationship Prayer or Relationship Mantra

Some couples may wish to also include a Relationship Prayer or Relationship Mantra in their book. Think of this as a soulful, heartfelt, "mission statement" for your relationship. I love hearing what couples come up with for this!

A Loving End to the Sacred Check-in

Rather than simply standing up and walking away once the Sacred Check-In is complete, think of something to do that signifies a conscious ending to the check-in process. You may end your Sacred Check-In with words of affection, a meditation or prayer, a hug, a kiss, or simply saying "thank you" to each other. It doesn't matter what this ceremonial ending entails - or how big or small it is - it's the level of sincerity and care that you put into it that matters.

Step Three - Monthly Check-ins

Check-In On Your Progress Towards Shared Goals & Dream

Each month, on your designated Sacred Check-In day and time, come together with your Beloved in the same intentional, loving fashion you came together for the first check-in (see my comments above under "Time, Location, and Mood"). During any given monthly check-in, you will be holding yourself accountable for the goals and promises you set during last month's check-in. Look at the steps you promised yourself you'd take last month to move your relationship (and yourself) closer to your ideal life and shared dream & goals. Did you make any movement? If not, why not? What are you most proud of in terms of the steps you took last month? Where do you need to focus more consciously in the future? Are there any changes to your approach you'd like to take?

Your partner should go through the same process of reflection/assessment, and share their thoughts with you about their own progress. This is a time to celebrate both your individual and collective progress, as well as
reflect upon areas where either of you feels "stuck" or needs some help/guidance. It's best to approach this process with the intention to understand, support, and encourage your partner - rather than to nit-pick or criticize them. Once you both have shared, each of you can set your goals for next month. To note: sometimes, one or both partners will realize they need to adjust the plan or come up with multiple, alternate routes to get to the desired destination(s). I find it's a great idea to create multiple paths to arrive at your ultimate dreams/goals, so that if one of the paths becomes unavailable due to circumstances out of your control, you don't crumble in defeat. There are many paths to any given goal, so explore multiple, alternate routes with your partner. You may even want to do this at the very First Sacred Check-In. It's up to you!

Check-In On Fulfilling Your Partner's Needs

Take a look at what your partner highlighted as the needs they wanted you to focus on last month. How did you do? Do you feel you met their needs? Do you have any questions for them? If you don't feel you met one or more of their needs, what do you think stopped you from doing so? What additional information, insights, or tools do you require to meet their needs next month?

It's important for each partner to assess themselves during this process - rather than assess their partner. The process of assessing ourselves is often infinitely more powerful and revealing than having someone else assess us, especially when we are being 100% honest with ourselves! Of course, after the self-assessment: your partner may choose to share some of their own feelings and observations, especially if they don't agree with the self-assessment you gave. As long as you both are communicating lovingly, peacefully, and honestly, you're on the right track.

Once you've each had a chance to discuss the previous month, discuss which of your relationship needs you'd like for your partner to focus on during the upcoming month. Some people even like to allow their Beloved to choose for them. For example, a husband may say to his wife, "I'd like you to look at my list of core needs and choose the two you'd like to focus on for next month." There is no right way to engage with this activity, as long as it's completed with love and honesty. 

Remember to end your monthly Sacred Check-In in a loving and ritualistic way.

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