Steps to a Productive Marriage Check-In
In your marriage, have you ever:
- Let an issue fester to the point it felt impossible to talk about?
- Left the kids somewhere because you thought your spouse would get them?
- Worked late and forgot an important family event?
- Been disappointed about something but never stopped to work through it?
Staying on the same page with your spouse doesn’t happen by accident.
Businesses have staff meetings.
Sports have team meetings.
And marriages need marriage meetings. We’ll call these Marriage Check-Ins.
A Marriage Check-In is when you and your spouse meet to talk about marriage and family stuff.
A Productive Marriage Check-In helps you to:
Be on one page about money, direction, schedules, concerns, expectations, etc.
This can help you avoid assuming, overscheduling, overspending, or leaving your 5-year-old daughter at home to babysit her 3-year-old brother. (I will neither confirm nor deny this occurrence.)
(psssst… Want a fun, lighthearted way to start the money conversation? Check out this Financial Would You Rather from Annuity.org!)
Address issues before they fester and become major.
Things often bother you before they make you mad. Check-ins offer regular opportunities to deal with those things when they’re (hopefully) at the “bother you” stage.
Specify a time to deal with marriage business.
Ever caught yourself discussing plans or concerns during a date? Don’t use precious date nights for marriage business. (At least not that kind of business. ; ) )
Strengthen your couple connection.
Let’s face it. You feel more like a team when you effectively communicate about the important stuff. (Read How to Communicate Better With Your Spouse for some tips.)
Hear and understand each other.
Undivided attention is GOLD in marriage. When you focus on listening and understanding each other, that’s 24-karat magic right there. (Read 3 Ways to Be a Better Listener.)
Remember the important things.
Who hasn’t forgotten a simple social engagement before?
Steps to a Productive Marriage Check-In
Set a Time
Saturday mornings before kids need you and Sunday evenings after kids’ bedtimes are two great times. Put it on your calendar. Set the notifications. If you have to miss it, you can reschedule it right then. Weekly or every other week is a good idea, and 30 minutes is a reasonable length of time. As you get consistent with the check-ins, you may decide to do them monthly.
No kids allowed. No technology except when it’s obviously adding to the value of the meeting, e.g., using your calendar or planning a date and looking up attractions.
You’ll probably have a routine. You may discuss on Saturday mornings over coffee or sit on the couch after the kids are in bed. Occasionally, change it up. Check-in while strolling through the neighborhood or a park, driving around town, or while you’re out for breakfast. Enjoy the environment with the one you love.
Always start by Appreciating Your Spouse
Your spouse will look forward to the check-ins because they know they’ll hear something positive about themselves. Start with something like…
- You know what I like about you? I’m gonna tell you. ___________
- I liked when you ___________ earlier this week.
- I noticed your ___________ yesterday.
- When you ____________, I appreciated it. That was helpful.
- Thank you for _______________.
Discuss upcoming schedules
Work schedule/changes, community meetings or activities, kids’ events, and social calendar all fall into this category.
Answer the questions:
- Who’s going?
- What’s the cost?
- What’s the time commitment?
- What needs to be done to prepare?
- Are there any conflicts?
If you need to make reservations, sign forms, or contact people, clarify who will do it.
Listen to Your Spouse’s Emotional, Mental, and Physical Needs
Generally, save this for last because it’s the most open-ended. These 3 questions are good starters. And if you use them every time, you may both start thinking about the answers beforehand.
- How are you doing and feeling?
- How do you feel like we are doing as a couple?
- Are there any issues or concerns you’d like us to talk about?
What To Call It
Some of you will call it a Marriage Check-In and be good with that. More adventurous people may want a name with more personality. (Let us know what you come up with!)
Keep in mind: a productive Marriage Check-In isn’t like those never-ending staff meetings, which are a necessary evil. This is with the one you love. It’s a chance to connect, grow, and course-correct so you’ll enjoy your marriage to the fullest.
Other helpful blogs:
- 4 Things Every Couple Should Know About Communication In Marriage
- First Things First Virtual Date Night
- How to Establish a Family Quiet Time
- A Step-By-Step Guide to a Productive Family Meeting
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