The latest in the world of relationship therapy is the concept of ‘Relationship Review’. Couples, regardless of their relationship status have started seeking professional help to strengthen their relationship. It’s basically to alert couples to check if they are in trouble and need to seek help before damage has occurred. Apart from couples facing some distress between them, these are also couples who have a smooth going but aim to iron out even the smallest of differences which eventually snowball into much larger ones. Relationships and mental health are correlated. Couples have started realizing the importance of healthy relationships. Maintaining one’s mental equilibrium can be a task, given the stressful times one lives in. A meaningful relationship acts like an anchor and provides the much needed support system in trying times.
Relationship review is a lot like performance review or appraisal. It is an evaluation of one’s relationship. But unlike a work appraisal, there is no right or wrong here. The frequency of these reviews can differ from couple to couple and depend on the nature and duration of the relationship.
A relationship review would provide couples with systematic feedback about the state of their relationship. For each partner, the review would deliver a precise report of their level of satisfaction with respect to their relationship and with the specific behaviour of the other partner. For example, a wife might report high levels of satisfaction generally, but may express some dissatisfaction towards her husband’s slovenliness. Or a generally satisfied husband may indicate concern about his wife’s splurging beyond his level of comfort. These are some of the issues one would expect to see in normally content marriages/relationships and they provide maps for improvement to make the bond stronger.
Relationship review is based on the premise that the earlier the problem is surfaced and talked about, the greater the chances of improving it – to make it last. It includes questions as basic as time spent together, alone, with immediate family, at work, and on entertainment. Does the relationship constitute a positive and healthy environment? How is the accessibility between the couple, their responsiveness and emotional engagement with each other? Communication is another extremely important parameter in couple assessment. Emphasising the significance of communication is never enough as far as relationships go. What and how are the communicating patterns between the couple? It has been proved that negative communication is better than zero communication. “Couples have lost the art of communication. If you don’t use it, you lose it,” says a prominent psychologist.
Despite the availability of standard relationship reviews, an ideal review format should include questions based on an initial analysis of the couple. Questions relevant to a pair may not be so to another. It becomes very vital to have a customised questionnaire keeping the reviewing couple in mind.
Familiarity puts a relationship on auto-pilot, leading to faded attention and interest. A review will precisely help you reset the compass of your relationship. It will help couples get a reality check on their relationship, set goals and make necessary adjustments. Feeling intimate, accepted and emotionally connected is a wonderful part of a healthy relationship, and such check-ups help facilitate these qualities.
Who would have ever thought of relationships and reviews going hand in hand????