We all know it too well: life with kids is busy and hard.
The house is a mess; there is laundry to be folded; there are dishes to be done… the list goes on. My husband and I definitely don’t do enough date nights. It’s no surprise that sometimes we can get a little grumpy.
Let me tell you about one thing my husband and I started doing recently that has made a huge difference: Marriage Meetings
Our friends sent us a lengthy email about how transformational these meetings had been for them. We were inspired – right away, my husband started a shared google doc with our agenda template, and we held one that night.
“Marriage Meetings are for healthy couples who believe their relationship can get better, or even better.” ~Marcia Naomi Berger
Marriage Meetings are easy and simple to start right away – I’ll briefly summarize them below (and go to the links above for more detail):
- Find a 30-minute time slot when it’s JUST you and your husband. No kids at these meetings! It’s perfect during naptime on weekends, after kids’ bedtime, or if you can get a babysitter and go out to lunch. We prefer doing them over a glass of wine after the kids go down — it kind of feels like a date.
- Bring your computers and phones — you’ll be taking notes and getting things done. It’s not a “tech-free” time.
- Write out the agenda. I recommend starting a shared google doc so you can both access and contribute to it.
- The Agenda should have 4 items in this order:
- Appreciation: Here you both say what you appreciate about the other person to start the meeting out positively. For example, at our most recent meeting, I appreciated my husband putting the dishwasher on every night without me asking. He appreciated me making our 2 year old’s lunch every day.
- Chores: This is where you discuss the many things that need to get done. We’ll talk about chores around the house, taking the car in to be serviced, starting our kids’ 529 plans, reviewing the coming week, scheduling our family photos, etc. The list goes on. Throughout the week leading up to the meeting we’ll often put items into the future meeting agenda so we can relax knowing we’ll talk about them later.
- Plan for Good Times: This is when you plan fun dates with each other, family outings all together, and fun things to do individually (meet up with friends, go to a yoga class).
- Problems & Challenges: Here you each pick up to 2 items to discuss. We’ve used this time to talk about managing the tantrums in our two year old, questions about where we want to live long-term, how to limit screen-time in the house, how to be more social, and more.
That’s it! We are always done within 30 minutes… and then usually to watching whatever tv show we’re addicted to (right now it’s This is Us – so good!).
Some really great things have come out of these meetings. For example:
- We started a “no tech basket” where we keep our phones during dinner time
- We found a babysitter so we can go on a date once a month
- We planned a fun concert to go to as a family
- We started an “empty nest fund” thinking ahead about what we’re going to do when our kids leave
- We finished our wills
But really, the biggest and most important thing is that I think we both feel more loved and appreciated. It’s the ONE meeting in my week that I will make sure not to miss.