Beat the Heat: Using the Relationship Thermometer

Relationship Advice

What were some of the best grades you ever brought home on a school report card? Remember the celebration that followed? For many of the kids in my elementary school, good grades heralded such coveted treats as ice cream parties and trips to the arcade. Now… what were some of the worst grades you ever brought home on a school report card? If your grades didn’t reflect good performance, your parents probably sat you down and had a stern talk with you about consequences, straightening out your priorities, and things needing to change.

What about a relationship report card

Your parents were right; school is important. And your relationship with your committed, lifetime partner is at least as important as that, isn’t it? So why don’t we give ourselves relationship report cards? We probably should!

Reading your relationship thermometer

Okay, maybe things don’t have to take the formal, written format of the school report card style, but conducting periodic check-ins to take the temperature of your relationship can be one of the best things that you ever do for your and your partner’s long-term relationship success. Doing what I like to call “reading your relationship thermometer” simply involves having a frank, open, loving, and solution-oriented discussion with your partner about your perceived satisfaction, happiness, and connection with one another. And this isn’t something to dread! (However, practicing active listening and being diligent about using your “I” statements will definitely make this process more comfortable for both of you.) After all, when it comes to one of the most important relationships that we’ll ever have in our lives, we should be not just mildly curious but INTENSELY interested in knowing what we’re doing well and where we can improve.

Starter questions

Here are a few examples of some probing questions that you and your partner may find valuable in this process:

  • How have I been doing overall as a life partner for you recently?
  • How do you feel overall about our intimacy level lately?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how connected do you feel we’ve been lately? (And if that number is less than a 10, what do you feel needs to happen to get us to a 10?)
  • Is there anything I’ve done or said recently that may have unintentionally hurt your feelings?
  • What can I do to love you in the best possible way for you right now?
  • What can I say or do at specific times throughout the day to make you feel most loved?
  • Can I do anything to help you manage or alleviate any specific stress or tension you’re experiencing right now?

This list is by no means all-inclusive. You can build your own relationship thermometer however you and your partner feel will work best for the two of you.

Be proactive

Reading the relationship thermometer is an important part of successful long-term relationship maintenance, because monitoring the level of “heat” in your relationship at any given point allows you to proactively take steps to cool things down before they reach nuclear proportions.

Do you know what temperature your relationship is at right now?

Trish Alderman
Psychologist, Certified HOPE coach
Trish Alderman is a Mind-Body-Spirit Coaching Practitioner at Unveiled Self and a professional member of the National Council on Family Relations whose work focuses on guiding clients through goal-oriented sessions aimed at in-depth personal and interpersonal self-improvement. Trish’s background, training, and experience includes integrative life coaching, hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming (NLP), mindfulness, habit-based behavior change, stress management and relaxation, performance enhancement for sports and fitness professionals, and relationship enrichment techniques grounded in the principles of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory.

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