“Like two ships passing in the night.” We all have seasons in our marriage when this idiom describes our relationship. But what if the season turns into months? Or years?
Drifting apart is normal. The currents of our busy lives naturally pull us in different directions. To counter this drift, we need to actively work to move towards each other, intentionally creating space for meaningful conversation and healthy communication on a regular basis.
One way to do this is to schedule a weekly marriage meeting. Pick a time that can be consistent each week. Early Sunday evening works well for us. Grab your favourite beverages and pick a relaxing spot where you will not be disturbed by other family members. And put your phone away — studies have shown that even having it in the same room as you will be distracting!
All good meetings have an agenda. Here’s what works for us.
A — Appreciation: Start the meeting with expressing your appreciation for something specific your spouse said or did that week. Encourage each other!
B — Business: Talk about your schedules for the upcoming week and how you are feeling about it. It’s amazing how just being aware of what is happening in each of your lives builds closeness. For us, talking about the week ahead helps to avoid being double-booked or stressed by an unexpected commitment that was not on both our schedules.
C — Complaint: What is ONE thing that you would like to address with your spouse? Spending? Having too many activities planned? Remember, complaints are more positively received if you stick with “I” statements rather than “You” statements. For example: “I’m feeling overwhelmed with all the household chores. Can we tackle some of them together soon?” Rather than… “You do nothing around the house to help out. Can’t you help with something?”
D — Decisions: Are there any decisions that need to be made (investments, children’s activities, vacations, etc.)? Are there decisions that need an outside perspective? What do you need to pray about together?
E — Enjoyment: Finish this general statement: “Life would be more enjoyable if we…” Or focus on a specific area: “Sex would be more enjoyable if we…”
F — Fun: Plan something fun together that you both can look forward to doing. Maybe it is something as simple as going for coffee, enjoying a candlelit dinner after the kids are in bed, or a family vacation a year from now.
We guarantee that spending even 30 minutes in a weekly marriage meeting will put you on the same page and create a greater sense of teamwork. It will also build a foundation for responding to the ever-changing challenges of life. So what do you have to lose? Try it for one month and see if it makes a difference in your marriage!