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How to have a weekly relationship meeting

You can become more intentional and connected in your marriage through having a regular relationship meeting.

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As a working adult, chances are the word “meeting” causes an involuntary shudder. After all, many of us associate meetings with excruciating boredom, forced attendance, and lots of talking with little doing.

But meetings do serve a purpose.

They exist to make sure people get the chance to share their views, to understand what’s going on for others, and to create a common vision moving forward.

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When you apply these objectives to your marriage, you can see how having a regular relationship meeting with your spouse can help create a stronger, more coherent bond between the two of you.

After all, considering that 40-50% of American marriage end in divorce (source), I think that doing what you can to focus on your marriage, ensure any small niggles are caught before they become big problems, and plan for your future together are worthy aims.

The marriage meeting helps you do just that.

So now you’re sold on the idea of having a regular relationship meeting, here’s how to make it happen.

Schedule the time and place for the relationship meeting

A couple sitting down with coffee and sandwiches about to have a marriage meeting.

A relationship meeting should take no longer than 30 minutes. Any longer than that, it’s going to become another thing you try to squeeze in to your day.

Ideally, you want to have the meeting  in the weekend, as a vital part is reflecting on the week that has just been, and the week you have coming up.

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My preferred time for a relationship meeting is Sunday afternoon, after the “busy-ness” of the weekend is done.

Make sure you’re in a comfortable place, free from distractions. Home is best.

You want the marriage meeting to be a pleasant, not too formal, experience – it’s a relationship check-in, not an appraisal!

Set the agenda for the relationship meeting

A black couple looks at their computer going over their agenda for their couples meeting.

So that the meeting doesn’t get derailed into a nitpicking session or aimless conversation, but rather is positive, purposeful and useful, the agenda for your relationship meeting needs to be fairly specific.

The structure for the relationship meeting I recommend is inspired by Marcia Berger’s book, “Marriage meetings for lasting love: 30 minutes to the relationship you’ve always wanted.”

There are four parts to the marriage meeting:

  • starting with the positive
  • tackling the nuts and bolts
  • keeping connected
  • dreaming big

Start with the positive

Begin the meeting by talking about what’s going well.

I’m a fan of both celebrating the wins and showing gratitude.

Begin by sharing your biggest win of the week.

This can be something personal, work-related or couple-related.

Your choice of what win to share says a lot to your spouse about where your focus is at and what you currently consider to be important to you.

This enables them to understand what they could be asking about and supporting you with.

By sharing your wins, you’re also making your partner feel like an equal partner in your success.

Once you’ve done that, start sharing all the things your partner did in the last week that you appreciated or are grateful for.

Get as specific as you can:

I was really grateful when you sorted the flat tyre on the car.

I appreciated how you made that appointment for the dog groomer that I kept forgetting to do.

I really liked how you cuddled me before we got up this morning even though you were in a rush.

By showing your appreciation for the things they do for you, you’re showing that you don’t take anything for granted.

This is really important, as studies show that showing gratitude may be the secret to a happy marriage (source).

You might also like: Simple, practical ways to show your appreciation.

Tackle the nuts and bolts

After establishing a positive mood for your meeting, it’s time to work out the nuts and bolts.

There are three aspects that need to be covered here.

Chores

First of all, a quick review of chores.

This begins with a check-in of the status quo.

For example, my husband and I have set tasks we do regularly in our weekly cleaning.

Recently we decided that the kitchen could go off the weekly cleaning list as we actually cleaned it every day.

My husband then picked up the mopping of the floors, which is a job I hate.

This is an illustration of the importance of checking to see that what you’re doing is working, or if any adjustments need to be made. (If you feel like you do most of the chores, here’s some tips to getting your husband to help around the house).

Additional to the check in, is meal planning.

Again, following a discussion in a marriage meeting, my husband and I now have set nights where we cook.

This has helped remove that mental load of thinking about what’s for dinner.

So the next step is to fill out the meal planner so we know who is cooking what on what night.

This is also important for me as I take responsibility for ordering the groceries.  Depending on how much time we have, we might write down what ingredients are required and also check to see what we already have to make doing that grocery list easier.

Once these regular occurrences have been discussed, it’s time to think about any tasks that need to be completed around the home.

Maybe repair people need to be called, items need to be purchased, or appointments need to be made.

This discussion makes explicit all these little tasks and enables you to work out who can do what.

This kind of overt division of labor is really important to prevent one member in the relationship feeling like they do the lion’s share of the tasks.

Finances

Then it’s time for a quick budget review.

If one person is responsible for maintaining the budget and paying the bills, this is even more important, as then both people know exactly where you stand financially as a couple.

Have a look at the week’s spending, check out your balances, and evaluate these against your budget.

Discuss any upcoming purchases that need to be factored in to your plans.

Calendar

Finally, it’s time to go over what you have going on in the upcoming week.

Whether it’s a late meeting at work or a social occasion, both parties need to be reminded of what is happening when.

If those commitments interfere with other commitments (e.g., you can’t take your child to hockey practice because you have a late meeting), now is the time to make sure that’s also sorted.

This is also a good time to review invitations and decide what you will commit to.

Ben and I use the family organizing app Cozi to put in all our appointments. It’s free and easy to use.

My fave feature is how it sends you an email on Sunday to remind you of what you have coming up that week.

Keep connected

Once the nuts and bolts have been sorted, then the fun stuff begins!

Start of by talking about the things that you’ve done together lately as a couple that you’ve enjoyed.

This can be from gardening together, binge watching a season of Game of Thrones, or going out for dinner to a restaurant neither of you had been to before.

Being explicit about what you enjoyed leads you to talk about how you could make more room for that kind of activity going forward.

I am a big fan of having small things to look forward to on a consistent basis, which is why now is the time to plan your next date night or couple activity..

This is also the chance to talk about things that maybe aren’t going quite so well in your relationship: while doing things together help keep you connected, identifying, discussing and working out solutions for any marriage issues stop you from becoming disconnected.

However when you first start the meetings, try to keep this part to a minimum and also the issues on a lighter side.

You want the meetings to be something you both look forward to and enjoy.

That will only happen if you build your skills and comfort levels over the course of several meetings.

Dream big

A couple dreaming big during their couples meeting.

Finally, it’s time to dream big.

Remember that everything that you have now is something you once dreamed about.

So unleash the power of your dreams.

Start by talking about the future and what your perfect life would look like.

Share your visions and hopes.

Imagine what you would do if money were no object at all.

You don’t have to come up with ways to make it happen, in the meeting, but over time if the same things keep coming up for you both, then that’s a sign to take it more seriously.

Wrap up the relationship meeting

Your relationship meeting is now finished!

Thank each other for taking part and make sure that whatever you’ve agreed to, you follow through on.

A well-structured relationship meeting will make sure you and your partner don’t take each other for granted, will help you stay on the same page in terms of chores, finances and what you have coming up on the calendar, will make sure you keep connected and most importantly, will keep your dreams alive!

Do you have relationship meetings?

If so, do they contain any other aspects I haven’t talked about here?

If not, do you think a relationship meeting is something you’d like to try?

Want greater connection in your relationship?

Then you'll want this freebie.

It's called The KISS Connection and it's a FREE 4-step everyday practice that will bring back that loving feeling.

Hit the pink button to grab your free copy today.

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