You check up on your body with a yearly physical. You check up on your car with every oil change. How often do you check up on your romantic relationship?

IuriiSokolov, ThinkStock
IuriiSokolov, ThinkStock

A growing number of marriage and relationship experts are recommending that couples conduct "reviews" every once in a while to find out what's working and what can be improved.

Stacey Rose, a psychotherapist at the Rose Relationship Learning Center in Ocean, said these periodic chats could help couples avoid therapy in the future. It's very important, she said, to start with the positives. None of this is about critique; it's about enhancement.

In Rose's opinion, these five topics deserve a conversation every now and then, and here's how they can be approached:

1. Love

"One of the things I appreciate about how you love me is ..."

"At the same time, I would like more, or less ..."

"It's all about how to have the best relationship you can," Rose said. "Isn't that why you're with this person? Because you want to experience life with this person, because you want to get everything you can, all the perks, of being in a marriage or a committed relationship."

2. Money

"One of the things I appreciate about how you are with our money is ..."

"At the same time, I would request ..."

Coincidentally, Rose said, couples should think about their relationship the same way they think about their finances. Would you put money in an investment account and never look at it again?

3. Communication

"One of the things I appreciate about how you communicate with me is ..."

"But I would like more, or less ..."

And couples can get creative with how they communicate during this review. It doesn't just have to be a face-to-face conversation.

"If they want to sit down with a paper and pen, or if they want to make a collage and put pictures together of what they want their marriage to look like ... I think that's wonderful and I highly encourage that," Rose said.

4. Sex

"One of things I love about our sex life is ..."

"At the same time, I would love more ..."

This conversation is not to be had in the bedroom, Rose noted.

5. Parenting

"One of the things I love most about how you are as a mom/dad is ..."

"At the same time, I would request ..."

"If two people are willing to go address their individual issues, they bring a better self to the relationship, and the relationship benefits," Rose said. "If you take care of your marital health, you're going to stay out of the marital doctor's office."

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