Imagine you ran a successful business with a team member. 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.
Now think about your marriage. You are effectively a team with your partner. Dare I say you could even compare your relationship to running a joint business. Together, your goal is to successfully run your family.
Now I ask you, are you meeting with your spouse on a frequent basis to discuss how you are running your family? Are you aligned with the same goals? Are you both on the same page with the key actions that need to take place each week to successfully run your family?
Or do you feel that you and your spouse are running into different directions. Are you working from different to do lists? Do you have different goals?
I’ll be honest here. There have been weeks months even years where my husband and I were reaching for a different goals. We were each operating in a silo.
Do you want to know what changed at all?
We started having a weekly marriage meeting.
Friends, let me tell you this has been a game changer. So much so that I want to share all the details behind our weekly marriage meeting so that you too can start these meetings with your spouse.
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What is a marriage meeting?
A marriage meeting is when you and your spouse get together on a regular basis to discuss and get aligned at the priorities of your life. The purpose is to collectively share what’s on your to do list, to listen to what’s on their to do list, and to discuss other family priorities.
How often do you have a marriage team meeting?
The frequency of your marriage team meeting is likely going to vary depending on each relationship. Personally I think weekly is best either on a Sunday or Monday before we kick off the week to come.
Depending on how busy you maybe you may need to meet more frequently than once per week or less than once per week.
Marriage Meeting Agenda
Your marriage meeting agenda, or the topics that you choose to discuss with your spouse will likely very from the topics I discuss with my spouse. However there are some general topics that will likely apply to everyone.
See below for a list of items I believe should be on every marriage meeting agenda.
- Upcoming Events
- Action Plan for the Week
- “How Can I Support You?”
- Virtue to Practice
- Financial Check In
- What can we look forward to?
We always start and end with conversations that we know are going to be positive so we can set the tone for the meeting and close it in a good place.
See below for a detailed look into each of these agenda topics.
Whether or not your love language is words of affirmation, it’s also nice to hear that you are appreciated. During our weekly marriage meeting, we each get a chance to share something we appreciate about the other person.
This helps keep our conversation positive as well and reminds us why we choose each other.
Related: 30 Romantic Love Messages for Him
During your marriage team meeting you should discuss upcoming events that will be taking place in between now and your next marriage team meeting. It may also be smart to review future dates to the extent they need extra planning.
As an example, when my husband and I have our weekly team marriage meeting we go through each day of the week and discuss any key events that occur on those days.
During this time we discuss each other‘s work schedules, our kids activities and other scheduled commitments.
Action Plan for the Week
During your marriage meeting it’s a great time to discuss what items are on your to do list and to hear what items are on your partner’s to do list during the upcoming week.
I’m sure we all can agree it’s very frustrating when you both think that the other person is handling something. Going through your to do list during your marriage 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 spouse.
By creating a joint to do list, you are able to identify what your responsibilities are and what your spouses responsibilities are.
In the marriage meetings I have with my husband we take this one step further. In addition to creating our joint to do list we identify when each item should be complete. This forces us to have accountability for the tasks we’ve agreed to and to be aligned on timing.
We also further break down our to do list by category. The following are the categories that we use.
- House responsibilities
- Items to purchase (or sell)
- Work tasks
- To be fixed
Goals for the Week
Your marriage team meeting is a great place to discuss your 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?
This is a great opportunity to hear what goals the other person has and to be their cheerleader to help them achieve their mission.
“How Can I Support You?”
One of the questions we always ask each other in our weekly marriage meeting is how we can support each other. Marriage is after all a partnership.
This is the time to discuss areas where we may be feeling overwhelmed or need additional support from the other person.
It’s great to time this conversation to happen after you review your weekly action items. This gives you a chance to get an insight into some of the activities that may be weighing down your partner and identify areas where you can support them.
In the challenges discussion, this is your opportunity to bring up anything on your mind that is an issue or problem.
How you address this section of your marriage meeting is critical. Come to the table with kindness. Come with a mindset that this is not intended to be a time to argue, but rather a time to problem solve.
This section can quickly get out of control if you don’t establish guardrails around it. Before your marriage meeting, agree on the parameters for this discussion.
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?
It’s also helpful to go into this section of your marriage meeting with an idea of what you are looking to get out of it. Avoid bringing up issues on the fly, and if possible, know your desired outcome.
And if you are on the other side of the equation, remember one of the cardinal rules to disagreements – “respond don’t react”
Virtue to Practice
My husband I added this item to our weekly team meeting. At first, It sounded a little silly but I’ve come to love this section. He encouraged us to each come up with a virtue that we wanted to focus on in the upcoming week.
As an example, this past week, his virtue was patience and my virtue was presence. We also talk about the ways that we were going to practice our selected virtue and how we could support each other.
Related: 23 Ways to Show Him Love
Financial Check In
I’ll be honest here and say the financial check in is my least favorite part of our meeting, but it’s critical. During this time, we talk about all things money. Some weeks this may be a quick conversation where we simply check in with each other to see if there are topics we need to cover.
Other weeks, we dive more deeply into our budget and spending. We talk about any debts we have and confirm our plan to pay them off.
In our house, I’m the go-to person responsible for our finances, so this gives my husband some insight as to how we are doing and if there are areas we need to address. This also gives us a safe place to bring up areas where we need to make a change in our spending habits.
What can we look forward to?
This is the fun section and purposely last in our meeting. During our marriage meeting, we discuss what we can look forward to, or fun activities that may be planned. This may be something planned in the next week, or even in the next year that we want to get excited about.
Once again, it brings positivity to the conversation.
In asking ourselves what we can look forward to each week, we’ve realized at times there were no scheduled “fun activities”. This gives us a chance to quickly fix this, and create the space for a fun activity in the week. It may be as simple as an in-home date night, but it’s something that we can both look forward to in our week.
Related: 75 Fun and Romantic Date Night Ideas
How to Have a Marriage Meeting
You don’t need anything fancy to create a marriage meeting. The most important thing is that you are fully present with each other.
As I mentioned, we like to have our marriage meetings on Sundays or Mondays so we can kick off our 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.
Your kids should not be apart of your marriage meeting. They are for you and your spouse. This doesn’t mean they can’t be nearby, but you should strive to find a time and place where you can give your spouse your full attention, with minimal distractions (including those from your kids.)
Typically our marriage meetings take about 20 to 30 minutes, unless we get off topic or start chit chatting.
During our meeting, one person typically leads us through the agenda.
Each week, our agenda is the same, so we know what to expect going into our meeting.
We use a standard template to walk through our agenda and I typically take notes. We like to be able to refer back to our action plan and goals, so writing down what we’ve agreed to has been critical.
Related: Affirmations for a Strong Marriage