Often, people don’t intentionally communicate with their partners outside the normal day-to-day small talk until something’s gone wrong, and by that point, many of us are not communicating very well, anyway. Creating and abiding by a daily end-of-day conversation ritual means intentionally setting aside a time and place to reconnect every evening and to share how your day went.
Importantly, this is not a time to bring up current relationship conflicts. Instead, this talk should give you and your partner the space to chat about whatever else is on your mind or in your heart outside of the relationship. This is a time for you to really express compassion and empathy for your partner’s feelings and thoughts without judgment. It’s an opportunity to really “take your partner’s side” in all things in life without the pressure of discussing conflicts between the two of you. And because you’re not discussing issues within the partnership, it’s so much easier to be understanding of your partner’s worries or concerns.
Clinical psychologist John Gottman, Ph.D., of The Gottman Institute, refers to these daily talks as “deposits” in a couple’s emotional bank account. There will likely always be withdrawals throughout the relationship, often on a day-to-day basis: times when we interrupt, snap back, or shut down. But if you intentionally make time daily to deposit love and energy back into your relationship and into one another, you’ll find that both of your emotional banks often balance.
Your evening conversations don’t have to be complicated or drawn out. In fact, they can simply be referred to as “How was your day?” conversations—in other words, short, connected check-ins that ensure you both feel heard and supported.
That being said, a little bit of structure goes a long way in ensuring that your end-of-day check-in doesn’t become just another task on your to-do list—one that you get to begrudgingly and half-heartedly, if you get to it at all. Here are five guidelines to follow to make sure your daily conversations are truly effective at increasing communication, deepening your connection, and solidifying your long-term commitment: