I love my Redbook magazine subscription. The magazine is informative, fun to read, and extremely interesting. Every now and then, I find something blogworthy, like this, or this.

I got the new issue in the mail last week, and just had a chance to read it yesterday when I restricted myself to the couch because of this nasty chest cold I’m dealing with. Once again, the magazine didn’t disappoint. The issue was great from cover to cover, but one particular article stood out.

The article, “The secrets behind great marriages” (by Nicole Torio) caught my eye because I do indeed have a great marriage and I’m always interested in reading what others think are the secrets to attaining what I’ve got. Lucky for you, there was something included in the paragraph about one of the secrets that made me laugh so hard, I’m about to share it with you, for free.

Secret number one? “Understand each other’s needs”. So true. If you don’t understand what your partner needs at any given moment, it can cause resentment, frustration, irritation, unhappiness, and all kinds of other bad feelings. Communicating your needs (and listening to your spouse when he/she is communicating his/hers) is so important.

The author of the article consulted with Terri Orbuch, Ph.D. (a “relationship researcher”), and Orbuch made the giggle-inducing recommendation. In regards to communicating your needs to each other, “Be sure to check in with your partner once a year, as added pressures or life changes can create new expectations.”

Wait a second.

Once a year???

Am I LIVING with my partner, or is he at the North Pole?

This “once a year” conversation: do I need to mark out a six-day time slot in my schedule, so we can get everything covered?

Is someone going to bring in our meals while we’re having this conversation?

Since it’s only once a year, should we dress up?

I’d like to propose an amendment to the article: why not check in with your partner more often, like daily? Flexibility is one of the most important elements in any kind of relationship. I’m thinking that if Jim had something he wanted to share with me regarding expectations, it’d be rude of me to say, “Um, sorry…ten months to go til I check in with you!”