Sometimes it’s difficult to find a way to communicate your feelings about your relationship. Talking about things like, “I’d like to go out on more dates.” or “I don’t really feel appreciated.” can end up becoming a nag if approached incorrectly, or can turn into a conflict if confronted at the wrong time.
To get the message across while avoiding a negative start to a conversation, create a relationship stock board. Get a white board or a cork board and divide it up into different categories or “stocks.” Your stocks can be Appreciation, Touch, Flirting, Intimacy, Dates, Quality Time, Sex, or Affirmation.
If you’re using a cork board, create these labels using either markers and paper or your printer. Also, create a pair of arrows for each category, using one color for the man and a different color for the woman. Pin the arrows, pointing up.
When a part of your relationship starts to weaken, pin your arrow facing downwards. This indicates, “I think this category needs some special attention.”
If you see your spouse’s arrow pointing downwards, approach them saying something along the lines of, “Hey, I saw that you think the Quality Time stock is dropping. What can I do to address this part of our relationship?”
Place it in a private area, such as your bedroom. (Guests don’t need to see and question your relationship categories.)
The idea of the board isn’t to replace communication and confronting a situation, but to spark the conversation in a way that avoids retorting out of anger or frustration. It gives the other person a chance to reflect on their actions and a strategy instead of becoming instantly defensive and walking away in frustration.