"What You Need to Know Most About Me Today Is…"
A simple conversation every day can significantly improve your relationship.
Posted March 31, 2020
One of the fun parts of working with couples is that you can, every once in a while, create something to address a specific problem that then turns out to be universally useful.
I worked with a lovely couple where the ADHD partner had a great deal of anxiety inside, but he rarely shared that anxiety with his wife. He was worried (that anxiety again!) that she wouldn’t think as highly of him or might tire of him and leave.
She was frustrated by this. She wanted to know what he was thinking and feeling because she wanted to support him, but when he held the anxiety inside, it became magnified and malignant. What could have been addressed in its early stages with a loving conversation became much harder to work through as it festered.
To combat this, they agreed to spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each day having a conversation in which each partner, in turn, started with “What you need to know most about me today is…”
The idea was to share anything inside you that seemed important to you. What that partner shared would be centered around a feeling, even if it also included an event. Here are some samples:
- “I’m afraid that I didn’t follow through quickly enough at work today and my boss is unhappy with me. I’m worried that maybe my job is at risk.”
- “I’m really excited that our daughter called today. She hasn’t done that for quite a while and I’m thinking that this might be an indicator that she is finally feeling better.”
- “I’m feeling mildly frustrated. I wanted to get the laundry room all sorted out, but my day just seemed to fall apart.”
- “I’m worried that I might have a mild case of COVID-19.”
- "I am really feeling affectionate towards you today. I loved it when you went so happily to play in the backyard with Austin, even though you had other things to do. That really helped me and warmed my heart."
The listener asks questions that are caring, supportive and non-judgmental:
- “Has your boss been expressing other concerns?”
- “Were you still worried about Betsy? Why?”
- “Some days are like that. Has talking about your frustration helped?”
- “What makes you think that?”
- "I really appreciate your telling me that. I loved playing with Austin and I made up the work later."
The conversation stays focused on the one topic that the partner brought up. Soon, the couple changes roles and the other partner talks about “what you need to know most about me today is…”
And that’s it. Simple. Clean. Transparent. Supportive. Quick.
And relationship changing.
I would argue that in these times of excessive stress on our relationships, this is a conversation every couple should be having, every day.