Some couples I know have been encouraged to do weekly inventories with one another. They list things they appreciate about the other person, and things they thought the other could improve. There are a number of benefits to doing this little task.

Helps set goals

If you set a personal goal for yourself like a good habit you want to develop, and have to report to someone on it, you are more likely to follow through on it.

Learn to take constructive criticism

By being able to listen to someone you love share things they think you can improve on teaches you how to take constructive criticism. This is an essential part of being an adult and succeeding in your career field.

Deepen the intimacy of your communication

Being able to communicate on such an intimate level teaches you to open up and be honest, both with yourself and with others. In order to be the best you can be, you have to learn to be honest with yourself about your shortcomings as well as your strengths and talents.

Learn accountability

By not only setting goals, but having to report them to someone, you learn to follow through and be accountable for them.

Recognize changes you need to make

By listing your own weaknesses and shortcomings, you learn more about yourself and things you need to change. By doing that, you can begin a systematic change.

Clearing the air and preventing the festering of little issues

Often times, couples, out of fear of offense, harbor small issues until they fester and explode. How much better it would be if you just discuss them while they are small and work through them.

With life twirling at such a hectic pace, setting aside time each week to sit down and talk can be a real blessing. Doing this as a couple in your respective capacities can greatly improve your relationships. If you have children, setting aside private one-on-one time with each of your children will deepen your relationship and show them that you care about their development, any issues they are having, things that trouble them, and also desire to share in their joys and achievements. As your children get older, they can begin to take on the task with younger siblings and learn to be a worthy leader and example.

So what do you address in an inventory?

  1. Anything that's bothering you about your own character or conduct. "I feel like I yell too much at the kids."

  2. Anything that's bothering you about your partner's character or conduct. "I'd like to see you do more with the kids at bedtime."

  3. New goals you would like to set for yourself. "I want to learn French."

  4. Accountability for goals you previously set. "J'ai appris le français!"

  5. Anything that is troubling you and causing stress. "I'm worried about my job."

  6. Long-term dreams and the steps to accomplish them. "We need to buy a house. Here's my five-year plan. What do you think?"

  7. Care and concern for individual children. "I'm worried about Joe's grades. And I think Emily is getting too serious with her boyfriend."

  8. Discuss life-changing decisions such as changes in employment, residence, or family expansion. "I need to look for a new job. This one is going nowhere."

  9. Praise for accomplishments, goals achieved, strengths, talents, and kindnesses. "You are amazing. I love watching you care for the children. They adore you."

  10. Expressions of love and caring. "Marrying you was the best move I ever made in my life. I am crazy about you."

Keeping track of individual inventory couplings in a notebook or journal is a good idea, as well. It can give you an agenda to work from each week. Keep them in a common area for easy access.

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