4. PLAN FOR CHANGE
The couple needs to regularly check-in with each other to get comfort and assurance that recovery process is on track. This can serve as an essential pressure release valve for a couple.
Here is a check-in guide that would typically be modified by a couple to meet their specific needs:
Set a regular day of the week and and time for the check-in. Some couples start off with daily check-ins and then, once it feels like too much shift to weekly.
Make this a standing appointment and stay loyal to it. Once you let it slip once, it will be easy to let it go. The unfaithful partner should initiate the check in.
The benefits of the Check-In is:
to keep the betrayed partner up-to-date on recovery activities,
provide a way to recognize the efforts and progress made,
normalize discussions about recovery-related topics so they don't feel so overwhelming, and
allow both partners to be alert for signs that recovery needs to be given a higher priority.
REFLECTIVE LISTENING FORMAT
Throughout the check-in make sure to follow the reflective listening format as taught by your therapist. Only switch who is speaking when the speaker says he/she is finished with his/her thoughts and feelings. Use the "is there more?" phrase before you talk.
FIDELITY REPORT (Unfaithful partner)
Give a statement about your fidelity, such as, “I have been completely faithful since my last check-in.” If there has been a slip, this person should speak with an accountability partner (therapist, mentor, sponsor, or 12 step friend) prior to sharing with the partner.
POSITIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT PARTNER/RELATIONSHIP (Both Partners)
Find positive affirmations for your partner. Consider:
the ways do you see your partner investing in the relationship
acts of care or service
time spent together
kind words that have been spoken
attributes about your partner that you appreciate
FEELING CHECK (Both)
What are you both feeling at the present moment? What’s making you feel more safe/close? Anything that makes you feel less safe/close?
If multiple feelings are present, try to get in touch with each one, naming them out loud to partner. Have one person share while the other does active listening and empathizes. Then, switch roles.
RECOVERY ACTIVITIES (Unfaithful Partner, Betrayed Partner optional)
Share your recovery work with specifics about your activities of recovery but not the details of every time you had a mental slip or struggle. The kinds of things to share include:
books you are reading,
podcasts you are listening to,
therapy sessions and/or meetings you have attended,
which step you are working in 12 Step,
people you are in conversation with (keep anonymous unless given permission to share first name)
insights that have been helpful