It is a really good idea for couples to schedule weekly “marriage meetings” whether married or not. The purpose of these meetings is to create a regular opportunity for you to connect and take care of and assess your “state of the union.”
Unlike family meetings these meetings will focus on how well your couple hood is functioning and create a structure to check in, make plans and talk.
It is important to find a time to meet that can be kept weekly. That way each of you can count on and schedule around these important events.
I suggest doing them after a meal, sitting in a cozy spot, close to one another with no distractions. Have pen and paper or a devise ready to take notes.
Begin by holding hands, looking each other in the eyes and sharing one or more appreciations of the other and the high point of your day today.
Then do some talking about a trip you both would like to take, a project you want to do for your home or share a positive memory of your years together.
Move into discussing your finances. Review savings and checking account balances, perhaps pay bills or decide about monies to be set aside for trips or household repairs.
If there are disagreements about spending table it for now as there will be time to come back later in the meeting. When you come back and it is not something you can talk about to a successful conclusion make that a topic for a couple’s session. Money is one of the biggest issues that couples fight about.
Next move on to talk about how your relationship is going. This is one of the major reasons why these meetings are so important: This is the time you have set aside so now you can talk to each other about how your relationships feels to each of you. It is important to address things that get in the way of the intimacy of your couple-hood before they grow into more distance. Start small with minor irritations such as your partner not leaving a porch light on for you when you return late, not leaving the toilet seat down, etc. In this part alternate or make sure that along with the complaints are complements or acknowledgements of what is going well. This way it does not become a negativity fest where it is easy to become defensive.
This a good way at forestall “pinches,” things that are minor irritants from turning into “punches,” which are major issues that damage the relationship. You owe it to each other to take the time to make sure your satisfaction level stays well above 50%. That is the minimum level that assures that your relationship will stay strong and vital.
If things get heated make note of the conflicts and take a time out. I tell couples to choose the way that works best for them to cool down separately: Go for a walk, run or bike ride, call up a friend, write down what you are upset about and set a time to come back to the meeting. If things have not calmed down table that discussion and bring that into your next couples counseling session. It is unproductive and potentially harmful to continue when one or both parties are stuck in their feelings. We have several different parts to our brains and when the part that is about feelings is engaged the part that can think is shut down. So it is useless to expect talking through problems when you are upset.
In most couples now a days it is easy to focus on the” production” part of your relationship: paying bills, picking up kids, etc. and so it is important to also focus on the “maintenance” aspect by having these marriage meetings to make sure your couple hood is on track to success.