Relationship Hygiene: Couples Check-Up Utilizing the 6 Senses

The number one reason couples have noted for coming to see me is "communication."  Often it is not a lack of communication but challenges and errors in the ways in which the communication occurs.  There are many reasons that communication may feel rocky: fear of hurting the partner's feelings, fear of the relationship ending, a desire to avoid conflict and not knowing how or when to discuss topics that may feel sensitive.  

Being able to strengthen and enhance communication is an ongoing process.  There are six senses that are used to explain ways in which humans interact with the world: vision, hearing, taste. smell, touch and proprioception (perception of body position.) Utilizing the senses to explore areas of your relationship is also useful.

  • Vision

When was the last time that you saw each other?  Being able to spend time together is an important part of strengthening your relationship.  

  • Hearing

Are you listening to your partner to understand or to respond? When listening to respond, content and cues may be missed.  

  • Taste

How would you judge the moments that you have together? Sour (emotional jabs or distance) Sweet (pleasant and loving) Bitter (resentment and bitterness) Salty (irritating and annoying) Umami (ones to savor)

  • Smell

Is the relationship stale?  When things do not "smell" right, discuss what you are feeling. 

  • Touch

Are you touching one another?  This may refer to sexual touches as well as general affection.

  • Proprioception (perception of body position)

What is the position of your relationship?  All relationships go through ups and downs.  The key is to find ways to restore balance and agility in the overall relationship. 

Using this tool as a way to check-up and check-in is just one way to inspire conversations.  It is important to have multiple tools that resonate with your relationship.  Relationship expert and theorist, John Gottman also offers a handy way check in on a weekly basis known as the State of the Union. 

I invite you to try a few different methods to find the ones that are right for your relationship.  Happy exploring!