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What You Can Learn From Your Dentist About Relationship Health

Why Relationships Need Checkups Too

I know it might seem strange to begin a blog about marriage and relationships by talking about dental health but hear me out.

Most of us don’t often think about our teeth unless we are getting a dental checkup, or we’ve noticed a problem. We just go about our lives, using our teeth every day and (mostly) doing the basics to keep them intact and functioning. 

It can be easy to adopt the same approach to our marriage or romantic relationship. We go on about our busy lives – full of things to remember, places to be, and tasks to do – all while hoping we don’t run into problems with our partner. But if we fail to pay attention to our relationship for too long, we risk our cherished connection and can begin to see a loss of intimacy, struggles with communication and other things that lead us to feel distressed with the person we love. By the time most people seek couples counseling, the problem has reached a boiling point that may have been avoidable.

The crucial difference is that with our teeth, it has become normal (for those with resources) to have regular checkups. A dental checkup serves as safety net, giving us the opportunity to be proactive about our oral health rather than waiting for a crisis. Most people haven’t been offered access to this type of care for their relationship health.

The Relationship Checkup exists to address this gap. Created by psychologist Dr. James Cordova, its use has been supported by more than 20 years of federally funded research. Like a dental checkup does for your oral health, a meeting with knowledgeable and skilled relationship health professional prompts you to really pay attention to your relationship health how you can take care of it.

The Checkup consists of answering questionnaires about your relationship, and both partners participating in a single one-hour secure online video session with me as your relationship health consultant. At the end, you will a written Feedback Report summarizing our conversation. During this Checkup, you can catch a potential issue before it causes too much damage. It is a safe space to discuss concerns. You can also learn about your strengths as a couple and practical ways to maintain and enhance your connection with your partner. The Checkup is not therapy, but if you discover your relationship could use additional professional help, you will have a better understanding of where and how to get it. The entire process is completed online in an easy to use and engaging way.

This isn’t just a matter of promoting warm and fuzzy feelings of love (as wonderful as they are), but about actual, tangible health. Research suggests marital distress and divorce are linked to higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and diminished immune functioning. For children involved, it is linked to poorer academic achievement, diminished physical health, and psychological problems. It has become clear that healthy relationships are associated with better individual functioning, healthier families, and I believe also healthier communities.

Most of us want these things for ourselves, our families, and our communities. It just hasn’t always been easy for couples to access to tools and resources. Fortunately, this is a service that is fully online, easy to use, and effective. I hope that by offering the Relationship Checkup, I can be part of the growing number of people and groups, like Healthy Connections, that are working to change that.

For more information or to schedule a Relationship Checkup, visit Relationship Checkup Tennessee.