Every year on Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend and I fill out our Relationship Inventory—a chart of the principles and values that are important to us as a couple. Maybe it’s because we’re both Virgos, but we find the clean lines of an organized spreadsheet wildly satisfying and helpful.
The purpose of the Relationship Inventory chart is to provide ourselves with a system that helps us navigate the rest of the year. It’s a clear and straightforward way to visualize what’s important to us and what we’d like to prioritize in our relationship. I thought I would share with you all a how-to for this Inventory process so you can take stock of what’s important to you and your relationship as well.
Before beginning, I’ve found it helps to loosen up with a glass of wine (or two) and settle in somewhere warm and comforting like in bed or cuddled up on the couch.
Go grab a pen and paper, or your computer, to take some notes and begin your chart!
Select your principles
To begin, select three important principles that represent the foundation of your relationship. Don’t worry about getting it right the first time. The principles you choose can be aspirational goals for the year ahead. Consider the following questions to get you started:
What would you like to work on in 2018? Are you and your partner both introverts who need to work on communicating? Do you work late into night and would like to focus on having more regular sex with your partner? Do you and your partner both work at home and not get enough regular exercise?
|Independence||Conflict Resolution||Love Languages|
|Boundaries||Engaging Conversation||Time Together|
Select Your Values
Next, write down the values you would like to focus on under each principle. In my inventory chart I listed Independence, Support, and Boundaries because they all relate to and uphold Respect in the relationship. They’re also values that we would like to improve by actively working on them throughout the year.
For example, my boyfriend is a classic introvert and feels energized after spending some time in solitude. I can be honest and say that I have not always respected those boundaries because I’m extroverted and a bit needy for his attention when I’m feeling bored or lonely. This year we will make a pointed effort to form clearer boundaries and hold ourselves accountable when we feel they’re not being met.
After selecting your principles and values, it’s time to have a discussion. For each value, you should ask an open question such as, “what could we do to make sure you feel more independent in the relationship?” Below each question, list suggestions for potential solutions.
Creating this chart is meant to serve as a catalyst for a more meaningful discussion about relationship goals and intentions. It’s about celebrating your relationship, planning for the future, and reflecting on the work you’ve put into making your relationship stronger and more intentional.
The first time my boyfriend and I tried this, we both felt a little awkward and uncomfortable, but we persisted. Now, we’re completely at home with being vulnerable and speaking honestly about how our relationship could grow and thrive.
I hope that creating your own Relationship Inventory chart reveals some new understanding about your relationship and produces goals you’re excited about!
Latest posts by Michelle Avitia (see all)
- Inventory Day: Taking a Relationship Inventory on Valentine’s Day - February 14, 2018