As the saying goes, “The devil is in the details”, and sometimes the minutiae of daily life make it difficult for you to feel connected to your spouse. This is especially true when you feel pulled in opposite directions, pass each other only briefly during the week, or feel completely overwhelmed by everything on your plates.
Enter . . . the marriage team meeting, an opportunity for you to sit down with your spouse and get on the same page for the week ahead. Keep reading for some suggestions on why you should hold these meetings, how to conduct them, and what you should discuss.
Why Have a Marriage Team Meeting?
Having regular sit-downs with your spouse allows you to:
>> De-conflict competing commitments;
>> Clearly outline tasks and responsibilities so decision-making can be streamlined;
>> Discuss anything out of the ordinary (like holidays, medical appointments, or kids’ school events);
>> Lessen the need to discuss smaller items throughout the week;
>> Carve out and prioritize time together as a couple (e.g., date nights).
These meetings also give you a chance to work toward shared objectives. You may have already covered the “big” topics with your mate but working steadily toward larger goals usually involves many smaller steps you’ll need to tackle over time. Saving for a major purchase, planning a holiday event for your extended family, or preparing for your first child are things that you may agree on but will require you to work productively in tandem with your mate.
Tackling some big financial goals? Check out this article on
How to Plan for Financial Success With Your Spouse.
By discussing all these topics ahead of time, it’s less likely that stress and resentment will build and you’ll feel more in sync with your spouse throughout the week as you do four basic things:
>> Coordinate; and
How to Conduct Your Marriage Team Meetings
Taking a few basic steps at the outset will help you hit the ground running:
>> Set aside a regular time each week or month to conduct your meeting and make it a priority. Have fun with it: call it “Marriage Mondays” or “Summit Saturdays” and choose a block of time that you know you won’t be interrupted. It doesn’t need to take long but don’t plan for less than 20 minutes so you’re not rushed.
>> Mark your calendars or set reminders on your phone so both you and your spouse start thinking about agenda items well before the meeting. Capture anything that comes up during the week can to ensure you don’t miss anything when the time comes.
>> Bring a note pad or use an app to record details or commitments discussed during the meeting. Take advantage of apps like Trello, Asana, or KanbanFlow to track your progress.
>> Take turns holding the floor. One of you can be the “MC” of the meeting but both of you should have the opportunity to share your schedules, priorities, and concerns.
>> Be honest. If you feel over-committed or like taskings are becoming unbalanced, this is the time to voice your concerns. This is a time when all issues (pertinent to scheduling and coordination) can be discussed and revisited.
>> Use a bulletin board or white board to jot down major tasks, assignments, or events. White boards can be especially useful with children and give you the opportunity to easily erase or add items as things change throughout the week.
>> Balance structure with spontaneity. One of you may like to plan, while the other prefers to remain loose and open to whatever comes up. Don’t force your personality on your partner. Mark down what’s already known but be flexible and leave room for unanticipated things to arise . . . because they always do.
Organization, consistency, and an open approach will help you get the most out of these pow-wows with your spouse.
Having a hard time meeting in the middle on tough issues?
Check out our blog on 5 Ways to Compromise in Marriage.
What You Should Discuss During Your Marriage Team Meeting
Ultimately, this will be unique to you and your individual schedules, commitments, interests, and priorities.
If you have children, there will be additional things to discuss such as:
>> Carpooling or school drop-off responsibilities (among yourselves or other parents);
>> School events or activities (such as parent-teacher conferences);
>> Social or community events (like slumber parties or church activities);
>> Coverage related to regular appointments such as medical visits, sports practices, or music lessons;
>> The needs of individual children (such as bath or reading time);
>> The normal rhythm of your household (like mealtimes and bedtime rituals).
You’ll want to add to this list:
>> Household chore lists, such as cooking, cleaning, yard work, or laundry;
>> Anything special going on at work (such as evening meetings or overtime); and
>> Quality time with your spouse, such as date nights or time for sex.
Finally, be sure to discuss how you both feel your meetings are going and what tweaks you need to incorporate to make them even more productive.
The demands of everyday life make it easy to lose sight of what’s truly important, including your spouse! While you can’t always control everything going on around you, you CAN control how often and how well you communicate, collaborate, coordinate, and cooperate with your spouse to make your home life more ordered, organized, and stress-free.
Ultimately, having regular marriage team meetings helps you and your spouse feel more connected during the week and work together to accomplish your shared goals.