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The 5 Benefits My Husband and I Have Experienced After Keeping a Weekly Family Meeting for Over a Year


My husband and I posing for a photo.


Here is a picture of my husband and I, but if you got a real sneak peak into our family meeting, you would see us each sitting on our own sides of the couch. We both may have a snack. I am probably cuddled up in a blanket. I have my calendar and a pen, and the lights are probably dimmed for the night. Nothing fancy.


We have kept this ritual nearly every Sunday night for the last year and a half now, and it has changed our marriage drastically for the better. However, when we first started, it did not feel drastic. It felt underwhelming.


It was drastic like compound interest. When you first start investing in something with compound interest, the initial return on your investment may be small or underwhelming (to use my words before), but over time, the gains are larger and larger. That's what our family meeting has felt like.


The 5 Questions We Use for Our Family Meeting


First, let me start by sharing the five questions I use to direct our family meeting:


  1. What are your plans for the week?

  2. What are your hopes for the week?

  3. Where do you need my help this week?

  4. Is there anything else you need to talk about?

  5. How are you doing?


If you would like to read more on this, you can check out the blog: 5 Questions My Husband and I Use for Our Family Meeting.


The 5 Benefits of Our Family Meeting


Below is not an exhaustive list of all the benefits of our family meeting. Truthfully, there are probably benefits that are sliding under the radar that I am not totally aware of, but I wanted to give you a short list. I hope it encourages you to start your own family meeting if you are on the fence or just need a little extra why to make the effort.


We Have an Anchor for All the Goals in Our Marriage


Have you ever wanted to make improvements in your marriage or home-life to only find they die out and lose steam after only a couple weeks? Sometimes even days?


Yes, me too.


How do you pick those back up again? Do you keep bringing them back up as they cross your mind? Do you feel like you are nagging when you bring them back up? Or do you feel like it is always the wrong timing? Or do you just give up because nothing really ever gains traction anyways?


So many people can relate to all of those feelings.


Cue, the first benefit of the family meeting. It is the weekly, natural, good-timing check-in point to which all your other marriage goals anchor.


The purpose of the family meeting is to talk about what needs talking about. It is expected to talk about what is important. It is expected to check in. It is expected to talk about goals, values, and progress.


What I found prior to having a family meeting was conversations that were of more substance never felt like there was a good time for them.


Generally, I felt like we were usually fighting against two oppositions.

  1. Tiredness

  2. Unexpectedness


Usually right after work, one or both of us are tired. We hardly have the mental capacity for a meaningful conversation that we had not thought about previously. So, even if we do participate in a conversation on a meaningful topic, we may be half there.


Also, when the conversations were unexpected they may run into resistance due to being tired, or the internal processor in the family isn't prepared, or so on.


These weekly meetings are expected. They are expected to be meaningful, so we mentally prepare and have better conversations because we are in the right headspace for them.



We Are Always in an Up-To-Date Conversation


Prior to getting married, my husband and I discussed some of our hopes for the future. I believe we both said at that time, we wanted four kids. Now, I am not going to say I don’t want four kids, but I am also not going to say I do. There are lots of things like this in our lives.


We may say where we want to live at some point in time. We may say what kind of career we want. We may say we want to be a stay-at-home-mom. We may say we don’t.


The point is: we all change.


And if communication is sparing and far between in your marriage, when you are talking to your spouse, you may be talking to an outdated version of them. You may believe they are still on one page when they are totally on another. By the time you get caught up, the change may feel drastic but it truthfully unfolded bit by bit before your eyes.


So the second benefit of our family meeting is that we stay more closely on the same page. Not perfectly on the same page, but closer. It is more like skipping a couple pages here and there in a book (which I sometimes try to do to my kids) than it is skipping a whole chapter.


Or tossing out the book all together, like:



We Have Less Frustration and Disappointment



Recently, in one of our Marriage Monday emails, I mentioned asking your spouse what their hopes were for the weekend, because early on in our marriage, I was quite disappointed that we wanted different things. We had competing agendas.


Have you ever heard:


expectations - reality = level of disappointment (add—level of frustration)


One way to mitigate the frustration and disappointment in your marriage is to have your expectations and reality match. There are a few ways to do this, but one of the main ways is to communicate.


When my husband and I ask one another, “What are your hopes for the week,” we get clarity on the expectations each one of us has, while also being able to adjust our expectations to match what is actual reality.


Additionally, when we do this, rather than competing over time and energy, we can align and become a team to make time and energy for both of our hopes. Uncommunicated desires usually lead to competition. Communication leads to collaboration. Generally speaking, most weeks we both win by just getting it out there.


We Communicate Better All Week Long


The longer we have done our family meeting, I have noticed that we do communicate better all week. At the moment, I cannot explain why that is, although I hope I can at some point.


Conversation all week feels more natural, lively, and engaging.


I did not notice this at first, but as I mentioned before in the compound interest analogy, the benefits are beginning to become exponential.


I believe this more natural conversation comes from knowing a person, and we are both better known due to our family meeting.


We Are Closer As a Couple


Since starting our meeting, we fight less. Tension is less buried. Disappointment and frustration are less severe. Goals are more easily accomplished. Desires are shared. Important things are talked about.


Becoming closer as a couple is not usually one thing, although in our case one practice has made a huge difference.


This practice makes the space to improve in many areas at one time.


Prior to this meeting, truthfully we were struggling to get traction in our marriage. We tried to make improvements and they wouldn’t stick. I don’t want to overstate it, but it seems like every improvement in our marriage can be anchored primarily to this one practice of regular, predictable communication.


Lack of communication is the top predictor of divorce. Communication can be confusing for many couples. However, this meeting is a start.


Warning


If you find you and your spouse are struggling with communication in your marriage, I encourage you to give this kind of meeting a try. Warning: It may be underwhelming at first and that may make you want to quit. Don’t.


You may finish it and think, “This is supposed to help us?”


But similarly to exercise, one workout does not stand alone in getting you results. It is the cumulative impact of all the exercise over all the days added together. This meeting is the same. One should not stand alone. It should not be evaluated if it is worth it after one meeting. Stick with it.


If you are having a hard time, consider marriage coaching. You can reach out to us at hello@skillsformarriage.com to get more information. Your marriage is worth it. We would love to help.


We are on your side.

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