Should You and Your Partner Conduct Year-End Performance Reviews


Should You and Your  Partner Conduct Year-End Performance Reviews

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggested that, just as work relationships hold year-end reviews for performance, there may be  benefits to such critiques in our personal lives as well. Although written in a humorous, tongue-in-cheek tone, points are made that are worth serious consideration.

As a counselor who has done work with managed care companies I have been required to undergo quarterly reviews by a supervisor. On one occasion, it was decided that peer reviews would  be conducted and should be more effective. The end result was an awful experience. Evaluation feedback was given anonymously, quickly making a group of people who previously worked well as a team suspicious of each other. Peer reviews were deemed as a bad idea and were never held again.


Can a performance review from your significant other—also a peer—really be beneficial? To be evaluated by anyone automatically puts that person in a superior or dominant position; exactly the opposite of an equal loving relationship.

Which categories should be covered? Certainly being on the same page with your partner regarding money attitudes, personal habits, raising the kids, and dealing with your extended family are important areas to include. Another issue to consider is specific criteria. Which aspects of your relationship should you include? Strengths and weaknesses should be discussed, as well as appreciation for what’s already working.

Job reviews, ideally, result in improved performance, but other elements must be in place for this to happen. The best outcomes are the result of honest, clear, positive and negative feedback. There must also be a level of trust and respect between both parties. Incentive to change, in the form of some type of reward, is important as well. With regard to employment, that reward usually means a pay raise, more vacation time, or other tangible financial benefits. Rewarding good performance within a personal relationship is important too. How would you reward your partner, or yourself? As a counselor, I would recommend a reward that benefits both partners in a relationship as opposed to separate “prizes.” Or should it be diamonds, sexual favors, or no housework. The reward needs to motivate each partner to work hard  in order to maintain consistent energy for the changes needed.

The most significant aspect of a relationship performance review, however, boils down to your personal connection as a couple. How well you communicate will be the biggest determining factor in whether a performance review will benefit your relationship or not.
For couples who are struggling and not feeling connected, a performance review would likely have a negative effect and cause serious damage to an already fragile relationship. You must both feel your relationship is strong enough to withstand this kind of direct feedback.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Stuart Fensterheim

Marriage and Family Therapist

Stuart Fensterheim LCSW

Signup to get my Quarterly Newsletter, and you’ll receive relationship tips, articles and suggestions that can help you today!

Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Credentials: LCSW
Specialties: Attachment Issues, Blended Family Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Divorce Rehabilitation, Infidelity / Affair Recovery, Marriage, Step Parent, Stepfamilies
Other Articles/News by Stuart Fensterheim:

Relationship Rituals You Shouldn’t be Without


Having a relationship that is long lasting and secure is about helping you and your partner know that they are the most important part of your life. Your partner needs to feel more important to you than anyone else. Time and energy spent on the relationship is necessary in order for your words and actions to be consistent and therefore your partner feeling ... Read more

How To Maintain A Happy Marriage And Take Care Of Elderly Parents


I was sitting at dinner with my friends the other night and the topic of coping with aging parents came up. They were talking about how they argue so much more now that they are responsible for taking care of their parents. The frustrating part is that the more they try to be supportive and take care of their aging parents, the less time they have for their ... Read more

4 Secrets To Making Monogamy Sexy

By ,

A friend of ours is about to get married to the love of his life. We were talking recently about (the timeless question most people on the brink of marriage think about is it possible to keep sex interesting and exciting during a long term relationship? The question makes sense and may be one reason divorce rates of both first and second marriages are so ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Most Popular