The Daily Debriefing – A Handy Communication Tip for Couples

Is there an awkward feeling of distance in your relationship? Something you can’t quite put your finger on, but you still get a ‘bad vibe.’ This common problem can be fixed with a simple 15-minute activity each day. We call it the Daily Debriefing, and it works…

What Is the Daily Debriefing?

The Daily Debriefing is a 15 to 30 minute stretch of time where a couple sits down to talk about their day. This usually occurs after both partners get off work, but that depends on each person’s respective schedule. When you and your significant other get home together, spend at least 15 minutes talking about the day. Discuss big events that happened, funny moments that made you smile, or the sheer boredom you experienced all day. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It just has to happen.

Why This Is Important for Building Communication

So often couples focus on communicating during an argument. That is important, of course, but it should not be the only form of communication you have. Simple conversations like this give you a glimpse into your partner’s life, and he or she gets a glimpse into yours. Your partner can see what you’re passionate about, what you dread, and what goes on during the mundane parts of your day. This will naturally make you feel more connected because you get to be a part of the experiences.

Beyond that, the Daily Debriefing makes talking to your spouse feel natural. Conversations stop feeling forced when you have them every day. If you had a bad day, you feel comfortable talking about it because that’s part of the routine. Conversely, if you know your partner has had a stressful day, you can make the evening as pleasant as possible. If he or she gets irritable or even angry, you know where the emotions are stemming from. You’re less likely to have conflicts if you can understand the root of the problem.

How to Make the Daily Debriefing Work for You

If you’re interested in adding this communication technique to your relationship, follow these tips:

  • Turn off all distractions. Don’t answer any phone calls or watch anything on TV. Focus all of your attention on each other.
  • Don’t get flustered trying to come up with something entertaining. You can say, “Not much happened. I worked, I at lunch at Arby’s, I went back to work, and I drove home.” Not every day is going to be action-packed. The goal is to keep the conversation flowing, regardless of the content.
  • Genuinely listen when your partner is talking. Ask questions, or make comments relating to events from prior days. “Is that the same person that did such-and-such on Monday?” This makes your partner feel valued and respected.
  • Talk even when you don’t want to. At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is have a deep conversation. However, it’s important to spend this dedicated time with your spouse. If you don’t want to talk, be a willing listener. Start the conversation with “Tell me about your day” and let your spouse do most of the talking.
  • Pay attention to the underlying messages. Does your partner seem overworked but doesn’t want to admit it? Is there something you can do to reduce his or her stress? Do some voluntary housework or arrange for someone to watch your kids this weekend. Being proactive will show your partner that you care, and it will keep conflicts to a minimum.
  • Schedule the debriefing when it works best for you. For instance, new parents don’t always have quiet moments together when they first get home. The debriefing might be better suited right before bed, after the baby is sleeping. Find a time that works for your relationship, and enjoy the benefits that come.

For more help building your communication skills, contact Heron Ridge Associates. We have couples counselors in Ann Arbor MI, Bingham Farms MI, Clarkston MI and Plymouth MI. Call (734) 454-3560 to schedule an appointment with a couples counselor near you.

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