9 Components for a Successful Marriage Meeting

Are you meeting with your partner on a frequent basis to discuss how you are doing as a couple or running your family? Are you aligned with the same goals? Are you both on the same page with the things that need to take place each week to be successful in life?

Call it a family meeting or a marriage meeting or any name you like…just do it!

Successful Partnerships Revolve Around Proper Communication

Don’t groan and say it sounds like a good idea, but if you and your partner ran a business together you’d likely be meeting at least once a week to discuss your priorities, open items, and areas where you need each other‘s assistance.

Your partnership is also a legal and financial partnership. Like partners in a small business, couples must manage money, make joint decisions, and communicate with one another about dozens of day-to-day issues.

Why Have a Marriage Meeting?

The purpose is to COMMUNICATE what’s on your to do list, to listen to what’s on your partner’s to do list, and to discuss important issues. Relationships fail. So do business partnerships. And more often than not communication, or lack thereof, is to blame. The root cause of most problems in any relationship, whether professional or personal, can be put down to misunderstandings that result from lack of communication.

In any relationship, there is always room for growth. If a relationship is not growing, the opposite is happening. When you conduct an effective marriage meeting every week, your communication will continue to get better and better.

How Often Do You Need to Have a Marriage Meeting?

This really depends on the couple. Weekly is ideal. JUST DO IT REGULARLY. Depending on how busy you maybe you may need to meet more frequently than once per week or less than once per week.

Have your marriage meeting wherever works for you

What Are Some Rules for a Successful Marriage Meeting?

  • How many issues is each person allowed to bring up? 
  • How much time do you want to spend focusing on challenges? 
  • What happens if you can’t come to an agreement? Will you schedule a follow up conversation or pick back up on the topic the following week?
  • Remember one of the cardinal rules to disagreements – “respond, don’t react”

Basic Topics for a Successful Marriage Meeting Agenda

The agenda will morph into what works for you. Here are some general topics that will likely apply to everyone:

  • Appreciation
  • Upcoming Events
  • Action Plan for the Week
  • Goals 
  • “How Can I Support You?”
  • Challenges
  • Quality to Practice
  • Financial Check In
  • What can we look forward to?

Always start and end your marriage meeting with conversations that are positive so you can set the tone for the meeting and close it in a good place. At a minimum, breaking the weekly meeting into 4 parts is essential:

  1. Appreciation
  2. Chores – the “To Do” List
  3. Problems and Challenges
  4. Plan for Fun

Here’s a breakdown of the big areas to cover.

1. APPRECIATION

It is nice to hear someone appreciates you. During your weekly meeting share something you appreciate about the other person. A couple that appreciates each other on a daily basis for all the little or big things eventually develops a culture of gratitude within their marriage. This is extremely important for a couple to stay happy and contented and their marriage to thrive.

2. UPCOMING EVENTS

During your marriage meeting you should discuss upcoming events. Medical Appointments? Home Repairs? Neighbor’s Birthday Party? It is wise to review future dates to the extent they need extra planning. Go through each day of the week and discuss any key events that occur on those days. During this time discuss each other‘s work schedules, kids activities and other scheduled commitments.

3. ACTION PLAN FOR THE WEEK

Discuss what items are on your to do lists during the upcoming week. Going through your to do list during your meeting gives you the opportunity to share your action plans for the upcoming week and to identify if there are gaps or tasks to be added.

This is also a great example to identify if there is an unequal distribution of work between you and your partner. By creating a joint to do list, you are able to identify what your responsibilities are and what your partner’s responsibilities are.

You can break down list by category:

  • House responsibilities
  • Items to purchase (or sell)
  • Work tasks
  • To be fixed
  • Miscellaneous

4. GOALS FOR THE WEEK

These may be fitness related, money related, sleep related, among many other things. Studies find that you are 92% more likely to achieve your goals if you share them with someone else and share your ongoing progress towards reaching your goals. With these odds, why not share your goals with each other?

5. “HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU?”

One of the questions to always ask each other in your marriage meeting is “how can I support you?” This is a great time to discuss feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you have a doctor’s appointment you are worried about or a critical test. A supportive relationship is a relationship which brings mutual benefit to both parties helping them to cope with the tough times and maximize the good times. Simply put, a supportive relationship enables you to achieve more than you ever could on your own.

6. CHALLENGES

This is your opportunity to bring up anything on your mind that is an issue or problem. How you address this section of your meeting is critical. Come with a mindset that this is not intended to be a time to argue, but rather a time to problem solve – or even set a time for a focused discussion. This section can quickly get out of control if you don’t establish guardrails around it.

7. FINANCIAL CHECK IN

Money is the life-source of any business. But in a partnership, it often turns out to be the source of disagreement unless there is a transparent, agreed-upon financial plan for money management. Talk about everything money. One week it may be a quick conversation where you simply check in with each other to see if there are topics we need to cover. Other weeks, dive more deeply into our budget and spending. Talk about any debt. The meeting provides a safe place to bring up areas to make a change in spending habits. This may be the least favorite part of your meeting, but it’s critical.

8. Quality TO PRACTICE

This is optional but you will come to love it! It may sound a little silly but it creates a healthy, positive habit. Each of you come up with a quality that you want to focus on in the upcoming week.

Maybe one of you picks the quality of patience and one presence. Talk about the ways that you can practice your selected quality and how you can support each other. I have even had my husband practice putting dishes in the dishwasher!

9. WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO?

This is the fun section and purposely the last item of the marriage meeting agenda. Discuss what you can look forward to or plan something fun. This may be something planned in the next week, or even in the next year. It brings positivity to the conversation. In asking yourselves what we can look forward to each week, you may realize there are no scheduled “fun activities.”

Having fun together can help couples feel positive emotions, which can increase relationship satisfaction, help couples to unite in order to overcome differences and give hope when working through difficult challenges. It may be as simple as an in-home date night, but it’s something you can both look forward to in your week. Always plan something fun!

Some Keys to Remember to Make Your Marriage Meetings Successful

  • You don’t need anything fancy to create a meeting. The most important thing is that you are fully present with each other.
  • Meetings on Sundays or Mondays can kick off a week strong. You can choose any day of the week, but try to find a day/time that works consistently each week so you get into a routine. 
  • Kids should not be part of your meeting. They are for you and your partner. Strive to find a time and place where you can give each other your full attention, with minimal distractions (including those from your kids.)
  • Typically meetings take about 20 to 30 minutes. But even if you get 10 MINUTES you are doing something positive. Think like Nike: JUST DO IT.
  • Each week make the agenda the same so you know what to expect each meeting. 
  • Buy a book to take notes. Refer back to action plan and goals.

Good Luck!