5 Minute Check-In- Breathe life into your communication

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The 5 Minute Check-In©

The number one answer couples give for what would they like to improve in their relationship is better communication.


What many don’t realize is that what they are really longing for is connection.

Most service couples tell us is that they feel “out of sync” with their spouse. It can often feel like the service lifestyle and home life is two separate worlds. When you add deployments, traumatic experiences, and time apart, your worlds can feel like two parallel tracks that rarely intersect.  Conflict happens when we:

  • Make assumptions about what our spouse is thinking or feeling,
  • When one is under-communicating and/or one is over-communicating,
  • When we don’t make the time to catch up on what is happening in our separate (but together) worlds, and
  • Simple misunderstandings become kindling to the fire of conflict.

After years of teaching some really great tools for communication, I found that couples struggle with a couple of things:

  1. Tools that require the listener to repeat back what the speaker is saying makes the listener feel like they are being tested, making them anxious and ready to fail.
  2. Some tools are too difficult. Especially in the heat of an argument or with hot topics, a tool should be easy to pick up and execute.
  3. Often times one spouse feels intimidated with long wordy conversations.
  4. Most tools forget one very important component… communicating what you need and whether or not you need help from the other person.

So… The 5 Minute Check-In© was born. A simple four question conversation that you can have in five minutes to:

  • get in sync

  • know what the other is thinking and feeling, and 

  • what (if anything) you can do to help them.

5 minutes to connection...

How does it work?

They can't WIN if they don't KNOW.

The 5 Minute Checkin© is so easy, you can even use it with your children!


It is simply four questions that you answer in 2 sentences or less.


That’s right, this is not a time to communicate a novel or dig into your childhood. Each question gets one-two sentences.

The four questions are:

1. What are you PHYSICALLY feeling? (Body, sensations & physical wellbeing)

We often don’t communicate what we are physically feeling. Maybe you haven’t slept well, are physically anxious, or have a lot of energy building in your body. In one sentence or less, describe what you are physically feeling.

2. What are your THOUGHTS? (thoughts, worries, & mindfullness)

Often confused with emotions, thoughts are what you are (or have been lately) thinking. Share your thoughts about the day, or concerns that have been lingering. For example, “I have been anxious about my job.” (Remember, keep it to one sentence or less!)

3. What are your EMOTIONS about that? (feelings and emotions)

Often confused with thoughts. Share your emotions about your thoughts, or generally how you have felt emotionally. This is a great time to pull out a feeling chart! For example, “I have been scared and confused that I might lose my job”. A really great tool to use is the Feelings Wheel (you can find it at https://feelingswheel.com/

4. What do you NEED? (What can you do for yourself or ask someone else?)

Rarely do we communicate what we need. In one sentence or less, what do you need to move forward? Is it something you can do for yourself or can the person you are communicating do something to help you? For example, “I think I need time to talk about it or go for a run to clear my mind.”

Take your communication to the next level...

The easiest way to start a new pattern in your communication is having the right tools and having them right in front of you when you need it. Below are a few “extras’ that will keep the 5 Minute Check-in© top of mind.