Agree to Be Honest

I wanted to talk a little about end of year performance reviews with your partner.

I have done a blog post about this topic in the past and it keeps coming back. This is something that people are extremely interested in, so this year I am giving a quick 6 step primer so that you can get started with reviews fairly quickly, especially if you have not done partner reviews before.

This is more of a guide on how to start this process. There are six steps and they are super easy to remember. If you are considering having partner review for this year, the first pre step before you even structure the review, is to get your partner to agree to doing this. If there’s resistance there, you are already starting on the wrong foot.

These reviews are a special brand of personal feedback and its going to get very direct. So agreeing to do it, is step 0 because these conversations do get very personal and close to the heart. If you and your partner cannot agree on having this direct feedback conversation in thee first place, you can stop right there. But if you two are up to the task, check out the tutorial or read about the process below


1. Pick Your Categories

The first two official steps are pick and choose. First, you pick the categories that you are going to review each other on. Some popular categories that my partner and I have used in the past have included, housekeeping, in law interaction, intimacy (which can be a popular one). But pick and agree what is important to you in your relationship. When you are first starting out with this process, pick fewer categories as discussing how each of you is performing in each one is going to take some time.

2. Choose Your Scale

The choose part is choosing the rating system you will use to rate each other, or score each other. Maybe you want to do a rating system or a grading system. I have done the 4.0 GPA scale before, giving my partner and A or B or C+ and then that enables me then to come up with some cumulative GPA for the period that we are rating against. You don’t have to do that. You can do a star system or straight numeric 1-5, or 1-10.

Whatever you decide, choose how you are going to be rating each other. You want that scale to be consistent over time so you can look back and see growth, and slope, and change against the baseline that you have used to rate each other as you go forward.

3.Write the Review

The next step is to write the actual review. I tend to be a longer writer. My husband tends to be more brief in his narrative. Either way is fine, and then of course you have to assign the value according to the metrics you have selected. When you write these reviews, make sure that no one is reading prior to the agreed upon time that you are supposed to. Curly haried woman sits at a table ont eh balcony with her head down in concentration as she writes in a notebook. Marie Deveaux business coach discusses writing relationship annual reviews.

So the way you can do that is you set a time that the reviews will be done, and then when we are ready to send them to each other, we check in and make sure “hey is yours done? Mine is done. I’m going to send it to you.” And the reason you do that is to make it as fair as possible. You don’t want someone reading their review and then writing yours with a slight bias or vice versa. We want to keep it as unbiased and honest as possible.


4. Read Your Review

Once you share the reviews, there’s the reading of the reviews and then . . . nothing happens.

5. Wait it Out

The fifth step in the process is waiting and digesting your feedback.

This part is the most important part because after you receive your review, you are not going to discuss it for a minimum 48 hour waiting period. That way you have time to absorb the feedback, consider the other person’s perspective and avoid an overly emotional or reactionary response to this person who you love and care about very very much.

6. Date

The date part is the actual review event. This is the discussion. For the date, we try to make it a dedicated evening that we set aside. You will have to pick the date in advance, because that will be a full 48 hours after the deadline for submitting the reviews. And we bring our notes or any other points that we want to discuss with us in a notebook or on our devices.

Usually the date is a good 3 hour conversation, so make sure you choose a place that you can sit and eat dinner for a while. I like to call this the best date night of the year, if you remember last year’s post on this topic. Make sure you find a place that has good vibes and good food. Also these conversations tend to run long, so make sure you have a back up place in mind, for when you have finished your meal and are now sipping water as you talk to each other about personal upkeep and managing finances etc.

Feedback Can Sting

Of course the conversation can get difficult so I recommend using the same tips around feedback as you would if you were speaking to someone who wasn’t in your personal life.

  • Stick to the facts, try to keep it objective.
  • Talk about the impact and stay focused on your goals as a couple. Of course those goals change as you grow over time, but that should always be where the conversation is centered.
  • Walk away with action steps for what happens next.

That’s my 6 steps through annual reviews: Pick and choose, write and read, wait and date. Want to download the one pager and get started ASAP? I got you. Keep me posted on how yours goes and I’ll see you next time.



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