A Simple Strategy to Stay Connected.
Focusing on a healthy marriage has been top of mind for me in the past few months as I have seen two marriages in my inner circle of friends and family end. The heartbreak and aftershocks of these divorces are still real and raw. Being so close to these (young) divorces has made me truly believe the following is true for all marriages: they are unique, wonderful, ever-evolving and incredibly hard.
I try to avoid dishing out marriage advice to my friends because let’s be honest, most of the time; we are just looking for space to vent and talk through the issues. However, the advice that is to come is the one exception that I make, and the advice is simple: schedule a weekly meeting with your spouse.
The most important meeting of my week.
This practice will not save a marriage nor will it make it bulletproof, but a weekly meeting has improved my marriage dramatically and is pretty simple (and free) to accomplish. Break down the communication barriers, take a moment and have a structured meeting. In some ways, it’s a no-brainer; many of us spend Monday through Friday having meetings of relative insignificance, so why would you come home and not meet with your spouse?
Not only does this provide a dedicated time to connect and talk, but it also reduces frustrations by allowing expectations, schedules, and logistics to be determined before heading into the week (we do ours on Sunday evenings). Below are the questions we ask one another every week which can serve as a framework.
Here are the questions we use as a framework:
1. How did you feel loved this past week?
2. What does your upcoming week look like?
This is when we often talk about logistics of the week -- like childcare, pickups, travel, etc.
3. How would you feel most encouraged in the days ahead?
4. How would you best feel pursued this week?
5. What upcoming travel do you have?
6. What house/life projects do we want to prioritize?
7. What new place/event/activity do we want to try this week?
If “nothing” is the answer -- think harder, some weeks this is as simple as a having dinner in the park or going to check out a new coffee shop.
8. Are there any feelings or items you have hesitated or omitted discussing that you'd like to now?
9. What financial items/plans do we want to discuss or work towards this week?
We are fans of Dave Ramsey and utilize EveryDollar for our budget tracking, utilizing these tools has been a huge help especially in the past few years which has involved building a house, having a child and switching jobs.
10. Family health --- how is your health and the kid's health & development? Any changes we need to make?
It took us a few weeks for this to feel “normal” and we have added and subtracted questions as our life has changed, but after doing this nearly every week for the past three years, I can confidently say it is the most important meeting of my week.
Note: I did not come up with this idea (no idea is new, right?) -- and I know there was an original source of our first draft of questions that I can no longer find; but I hope this version is just as helpful as the original one was to me!
Image by: Bethany Shaw