If you want your marriage to last, meetings like this are important. These regular weekly meetings allow the couple to discuss and re-evaluate what’s working in their relationship and how they can be better as a team.
As the old saying goes, “No man is an island.” It’s easy to get isolated in our busy lives and forget that we are never alone. In marriage meetings, couples can find a safe place to check in with each other about what’s going on and how they’re feeling without worrying about judgment or criticism.
The “the marriage meeting program” is a weekly meeting that helps couples stay married. The program was created by the National Marriage Project in the United States.
In our day, the institution of marriage undoubtedly bears a greater weight of demands and expectations than at any other period in history. Spouses expect to be passionate lovers, best friends, co-parents, and sometimes even business partners, not simply for economic and procreative goals.
Balancing all of those responsibilities may seem to be a challenge, and it can be. Husbands and spouses may both be employed — and not at the same time. There are children to care for and schedules to manage. Family members may feel as though they are passing ships in the night.
Modern marriage, on the other hand, is a great opportunity – one that, if handled well, may provide an endless supply of pleasure and happiness. It’s just you and her against the world, creating your own universe.
However, if you want to plan and face life’s biggest experiences together, you’ll need to remain in sync and collaborate efficiently. Marcia N. Berger, a marital therapist, describes it thus way:
Marriage is essentially about keeping up with your spouse and remaining on track with your own and each other’s life objectives as they arise, exist, and change. It’s about assisting one another and remaining emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually linked.
So, how do you maintain connections on all of these levels?
This is where the weekly marital meeting comes in.
Berger recommends holding a weekly 30-minute meeting with your spouse that is divided into four parts: appreciation, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation, appreciation (expressing gratitude to your spouse), responsibilities (making sure to-dos are getting done), Make Provisions for Happiness (date nights, individual and family activities) as well as Problems/Challenges (resolving disputes, challenges, and changes in the relationship and in life in general).
The marriage meeting’s framework is intended to reignite your passion, strengthen your relationship, prevent any disputes, and assist you in running your family successfully. Marriage meetings can improve your marriage if you already have one. The sessions might assist you in getting your marriage back on track if it has been suffering.
Kate and I just began holding marital meetings as a regular occurrence, and we’ve found them to be really useful and would suggest them to others. So, today, we’ll go through the four aspects of marital meetings, as well as how to put them into practice in your relationship.
The Advantages of Marriage Consultations
You may be asking why a “formal” weekly marital meeting is necessary. Why sit down for a chat during a designated period if you and your wife converse about duties and hobbies in passing?
The solution is that you’ll go further into the topics you’re currently discussing in passing. You’ll also chat about topics you’ve been intending to bring up but haven’t yet — either because you’ve forgotten or because you’ve been uncomfortable and it never seems like the perfect moment.
Marriage meetings allow you to get rid of worries and thoughts that are clogging up your mental bandwidth, as well as tie up loose ends. They keep you informed about what’s going on both inside and outside the house, and they help to a more organized and harmonious home and family life. They don’t simply reconnect you as a pair for that half hour; by smoothing out snarls, fostering appreciation, and making plans for pleasure, they also set the stage for stronger connection throughout the rest of the day.
Consider marital meetings as a weekly pit stop for your relationship’s upkeep. In seven days, you can only stray so far! By checking in once a week, you can verify that your relationship is on the correct track.
The technique may seem artificial, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that nothing occurs by chance. You must be deliberate if you want a fulfilling, enjoyable, and long-lasting marriage. Marriage meetings are one of the most effective ways to do this.
How to Hold a Marriage Consultation
The following are some of Berger’s recommendations for organizing and conducting a marriage meeting:
- Meet once a week. It’s best to have the meeting at the same time each week to establish a habit, but schedules vary, and it’s OK to adapt the time as needed.
- Meet in a private setting with just the two of you. This is a confidential meeting. There are no children. If you already have a weekly family gathering, that’s fantastic; the two don’t compete, but rather compliment one other. When it comes to holding council with your children, meeting as a couple helps guarantee that you’re on the same page.
- Reduce interruptions and distractions. A pleasant, calm space in your house is the greatest place to have a meeting. Schedule a period on the weekend when the kids are napping or after they go to bed during the week. If you can, turn off the TV and your phones. If you need your phone for scheduling, be self-disciplined about avoiding glancing at distracting applications, or delegate control to an app.
- Sit next to each other. Berger suggests sitting side-by-side rather than across a table from each other since this might seem aggressive. Face-to-face marital meetings, on the other hand, haven’t been a difficulty for Kate and me (though we do practice every day with our work meetings!). Berger recommends sitting “near enough to feel like collaborators doing a thing together” regardless of how you sit.
- During the week, jot down notes. It’s a good idea to write down notes on topics you’d want to discuss in the days leading up to the meeting. Unless you’re the uber-organized kind, you don’t need to establish a fixed agenda for the meeting. It is possible for it to be free-flowing.
- To the meeting, bring your organizational gadgets, notebooks, and apps. You’ll be scheduling things and need to keep track of dates and to-dos. To keep track of them, bring your paper or digital planner, or utilize other applications. Kate and I use Todoist and Google Calendar for both our work and personal to-do lists.
- Keep the meeting to 30 minutes or less. A half-hour meeting is long enough to cover all four phases of the meeting while remaining focused and productive. When you initially start off and are getting the swing of things, or when you have more to talk than normal, the meeting may take a bit longer. However, err on the side of shorter than lengthier to avoid feeling dragged.
- Create a good environment. Each spouse is responsible for arriving in a good mood and with a patient, positive attitude to the meeting. Throughout the meeting, both partner should endeavor to maintain a supportive tone and refrain from griping or criticizing. (Constructive problem-solving is OK, but not sarcasm or vacuous whining.) “A good objective for each meeting is to motivate you to want to meet again a week later,” Berger explains.
- Allow both parties to feel like they’re in charge of the meeting. Instead of dominating the meeting, the more talkative couple should allow the less verbal partner to speak first at times and aggressively request feedback.
While some of these criteria are required for the success of your marital meetings, such as maintaining a happy attitude, others may be changed and tried with. Look into what works best for you as a relationship.
A Marriage Meeting’s Four Parts
Experiment with how you organize your marital meetings, but I’d suggest sticking to the four elements Berger advises, done in this sequence; as we’ll see, it’s been planned purposefully.
Each marital meeting starts with appreciation, which is a simple yet unexpectedly inspiring exchange of thankfulness. “Everything you can think of that you especially loved or appreciated about your mate in the last week,” each individual says.
The following are recommendations for how the Appreciation section of a marriage meeting should go:
- Make preparations ahead of time. If you have trouble remembering or articulating your gratitude on the moment, keep track of it in a notebook or app; when your partner does something you enjoy, write it down. Of course, you should thank them right away; it’s good to express gratitude many times throughout the meeting.
- The other spouse listens while one spouse talks. You’ll take turns expressing your thanks, with one partner attentively listening and without interrupting the other.
- Be as precise as possible. General praises are OK on occasion, but you should usually aim to be as detailed as possible; providing specifics demonstrates that you paid attention. So instead of “I admire your cooking,” say, “I appreciate the incredibly excellent pot roast and blueberry cobbler you cooked on Tuesday.”
- “What else?” you may wonder. The idea is to highlight everything you liked about your spouse from the previous week. After you’ve mentioned a few things, ask yourself, “What else?” to refresh your mind and elicit a few more compliments.
- Maintain an optimistic attitude. This is not the time to air grievances or disappointments. Avoid backhanded compliments, which are really criticism disguised as gratitude: “I appreciate it that you cleaned the dishes instead of leaving them in the sink last night.”
- Make a major or little point about physical attributes, habits, and character traits. Everything you enjoy and appreciate in your partner is on the table when it comes to your appreciations. Take nothing for granted, and be thankful for even the little things. Here are a few ideas to start your wheels turning:
- I like how you never look at your phone when playing with the kids or conversing with me.
- At the gathering on Saturday night, you looked stunning in your blue dress.
- Thank you for standing up for me when your mother questioned my choice.
- This week, thank you for bringing the kids to the doctor.
- I really enjoyed our dinner chat last night. Thank you for constantly reading intriguing stuff and talking about interesting topics.
- Thank you for always kissing me on the cheek when I get home from work.
- Thank you for informing me that you will be arriving late on Tuesday.
- You helped me out by minding the kids so I could go play basketball.
- Thank you for cleaning up the bedroom the other day.
- I’m grateful for the steamy sex we had last night.
- Thank you for filling up the vehicle with petrol for me.
- Thank you for praising my work in front of your whole family.
The Appreciation section of a marriage meeting provides a number of advantages. The open expressing of thankfulness reawakens sentiments of warmth and connection, as well as making each partner feel cherished. And, by showing your spouse that you notice the things they do, they’ll be more inclined to do those things in the future, thanks to the power of positive reinforcement. Paying closer attention to the qualities you like in your spouse may help you develop a more thankful attitude toward life in general.
Starting the meeting with Appreciation is particularly crucial since it establishes a warm, pleasant, and supportive tone for the remainder of the discussion.
Even if you express your gratitude for each other on a daily basis, it’s still a good practice. Even for minor, normal, “expected” things, Kate and I strive to thank each other; for example, even though she usually cooks dinner and I always clean up the kitchen, we always say, “Thanks for doing that.” We still like this part of the marriage meeting because it makes you think of things you failed to express gratitude for throughout the week, and it’s just so unexpectedly pleasant to be recognized for who you are and what you do.
Chores (incl. To-Dos and Finances)
“The business portion of the conference,” Berger refers to Chores. Each of you states what you believe should be done. Priorities, dates, and who will do each work are all agreed upon. Teamwork is encouraged, and duties are completed.”
You don’t need to discuss tasks for which you’ve already established a good schedule and distribution of responsibilities. Instead, talk about chores that aren’t getting done and are only done once in a while rather than on a regular basis.
Negotiate and come up with new ideas for getting neglected duties done more quickly and regularly. One partner may offer to do a chore, or you can opt to take turns, or you can delegate it to one of the family’s children or outside assistance (like hiring a housekeeper).
Instead of requiring your partner to do a certain task, attempt to reach an agreement. Don’t get into the tit-for-tat trap, when you demand that everything be divided equally. Instead, aim for a flexible, generous, and acceptable exchange. If one spouse works more paid hours, the other may perform more duties; it’s not equal, but it’s fair.
Really, you shouldn’t worry about the division of responsibilities too much at all; in the healthiest of relationships, partners will frequently observe an undone work and handle it without questioning who’s responsible for it, without discussion, and without having to precisely divide and assign jobs. After all, you’re all in this together.
If this characterizes your relationship, just utilize the Chores section of your marriage meeting to cover additional must-dos, such as fixing items around the home, making appointments, and so on. Decide who will handle that activity, define an action step (“Call plumber”), and set a date for completion. Todoist makes this simple: you may share the list with your wife, assign the task to you or her, and set a deadline for completion; if it isn’t completed by the deadline, todoist will email you a reminder.
If there are any issues with your money, you may utilize this portion of the meeting to address them.
Review what was accomplished, provide progress updates, explain why unfinished tasks were not completed by the deadline, and establish new objectives and priorities for the next week at your next meeting.
If a disagreement over chores, to-dos, or money arises and/or gets heated/emotional, put it on hold for the time being and shift the conversation to the Problems & Obstacles section of the meeting.
Plan for Good Times
“Cultivating a loving partnership isn’t just about ‘working on our relationship,’ it’s also about co-creating experiences that bring joy and happiness into each spouse’s life,” writes therapist Linda Bloom in the preface to Berger’s Marriage Meetings.
In fact, I’d argue that happy marriages have almost nothing to do with “working on our relationship” and have everything to do with striving to be an excellent, interesting, well-balanced person yourself, as well as doing things with your spouse that strengthen your friendship and promote flourishing.
The section of your marriage meeting titled “Plan for Good Times” will assist you in taking actual actions to accomplish exactly that. You make preparations for:
- It’s just the two of you on a date. Every week, ideally, you should go out on a one-on-one date. While this may not be practical or even required for everyone, try to have a date night at least once a month. Remember that you can always organize a romantic at-home date if you’re busy or don’t feel you can afford a regular night out.
- Individual pursuits. When you and your wife first met, one of the things that pulled you together was the fact that you each had your own interests and hobbies and that you looked after yourselves. You exuded a vivacious vigor. Don’t lose yourself in the relationship by getting complacent once you’ve married. Each spouse should tell the other about at least one activity they’d want to undertake alone or with a friend during your weekly marital meeting. It’s not selfish; alone time restores a vitality that benefits your marriage and your family.
- Activities with common acquaintances Hanging out with people has an odd way of reinvigorating your own sentiments of joy and affection for one another. You don’t have to go out with your pals every week, but at least once or twice a month is a good goal.
- Recreation for the whole family. A family that has fun together is more likely to remain together. Get out and undertake a microadventure instead of lounging around all weekend. You may brainstorm some ideas at your marital meeting and then run them by your children during your family meeting.
- Vacations with the family or as a couple. Discuss how your plans for your next vacation are coming along.
It’s simple to speak about date evenings and microadventures, but unless you sit down and plan a precise activity and time, you’ll most likely wind up doing nothing. You’ll have a lot more pleasure in your life if you make preparations for nice moments on purpose. Date evenings increase intimacy and keep the spark alive between you and your wife, while going out alone, with friends, and as a family generates links and experiences that boost your own happiness as well as the happiness of your relationship.
Problems & Challenges
By design, the marriage meeting’s Problems & Challenges section comes last. By this point, you’re both feeling valued, sure that duties will be completed, and looking forward to the pleasant activities you’ve planned together. You should be positive and confident in your ability to face whatever issues you may be encountering with each other or in life in general.
“Each of you may bring up any topic – money, sex, in-laws, parenthood, shifting schedules, or anything else” at this phase of the discussion. Here are some ideas of topics you might discuss during Problems and Challenges:
- One of your children’s (mis)behavior and what to do about it
- When it comes to disciplining the kids, your spouse isn’t on your side.
- In-laws have been overstaying their welcome (or you haven’t paid enough attention to your own parents).
- Where do you want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas?
- What school should a child attend?
- Dissatisfaction with how much time your husband spends at work
- Lack of intimacy/dissatisfaction with sex frequency
- Spouse is never on time for anything.
- Unhappiness with the church you’re attending, either collectively or individually
- Individual or group struggles with religion
- The frequency with which overnight visitors have stopped by
- Spouse constantly makes a mess in the kitchen.
- In front of family/friends, your spouse makes disparaging remarks about you.
- Budgetary disagreements
- The schedule of activities seems to be overcrowded.
- After work, your spouse is always in a terrible attitude.
- Desire to change careers
- Choosing whether or not to take a job
- Your partner is sabotaging your diet.
- Spouse has been consuming a lot of alcohol.
Problems & Obstacles There isn’t an opportunity to air a laundry list of issues. Each spouse may bring forward a maximum of two problems each meeting.
Each partner should present their side of the story or discuss the advantages and disadvantages of other options. Brainstorm solutions to the problem and attempt to find a compromise or a mutually acceptable choice.
If one person has a habit of going on and on, continuously coming up with new topics and perspectives to discuss, and they become irritated if you attempt to terminate the conversation, agree to use a timer and set it for 20 minutes. The timer might then finish things in an impersonal manner. If you haven’t settled things by the time the buzzer sounds, agree to meet again next week to discuss it.
Review our articles on the commandments of clean communication and how to articulate your wants in a relationship if you and your wife have trouble discussing matters without becoming emotional and contentious.
Instead of bringing up significant, sensitive, and controversial matters right away in your first few sessions, speak about things that will be relatively simple to address. You’ll gain confidence in your ability to talk and handle concerns together, and you’ll begin to connect the sessions with fun rather than stress; having your first marriage meeting be confrontational may lead you to abandon the concept entirely.
Keep in mind that about 70% of marital difficulties never get fixed, according to study. That isn’t to say that they always end in divorce. Spouses in good relationships are able to understand that their partner will never change; nonetheless, they believe that their partner’s strong characteristics outweigh their defects, and they are thankful for them on the whole. You may learn to handle difficulties rather than solve them.
Happily, the greater your love and friendship remain, the simpler it will be to regulate your emotions; you won’t notice things that irritate you nearly as much. When you’re physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually connected, you’ll have fewer interpersonal issues to discuss during Problems & Challenges; instead, you can simply discuss the challenges you’re facing together — side-by-side, looking out at the world as partners in crime and everything else.
And what aids you in achieving this degree of peace and intimacy? Of sure, holding a weekly marital meeting!
Make sure to listen to Marcia’s interview:
Make sure to listen to Marcia’s interview:
Marcia Naomi Berger’s Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted
Watch This Video-
The marriage meeting worksheet is a tool that can help couples have a weekly discussion about their relationship. The discussion can be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their marriage, as well as what they would like to change.
Frequently Asked Questions
How a weekly marriage meeting can strengthen your relationship?
A: Marriage meetings are a great way to build your relationship and strengthen it. It is a good way for you to sit down with your significant other and discuss whats been going on in the past week, as well as how those events affected them emotionally or mentally. You can also plan future plans for things that might make the two of you happy together!
How do you do a weekly relationship meeting?
A: Weekly meetings are similar to regular check-ins and allow you to talk about what is going well in your relationship, as well as areas of improvement. These can be done on a weekly or periodic basis and should be scheduled at least once every week, if not more regularly.
What do you talk about in a marriage meeting?
A: I talk about the things that are important to me, such as my love for you and our children.I make sure to mention how much of a support system I can be if your career is taking off or something like that.
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