In Monday’s post, I promised I would share a great tool for building connection and intimacy in your relationship. And I always keep my promises. So, without further ado, I introduce to you THE MARRIAGE MEETING. I actually use this technique in my own marriage and I can tell you that it provides a great way to “tune-up” communication on a regular basis.
So, what is the Marriage Meeting? It’s a time when you sit down, just the two of you, and focus on your marriage. We all know that communication is vitally important in a marriage. But it is so HARD to communicate well on a consistent basis. So, you set aside one evening a week with just that goal. To Communicate. To do it well and to (try) to make it productive and enjoyable. And, I’m going to tell you how to accomplish that. Just keep reading.
One of the major components of the Marriage Meeting is the Comment Box. No need to get fancy here (unless you want to – then, by all means, get out the glitter and the hot glue gun and go crazy). You can use a plain old shoe box just fine. On the top, glue a list of rules you came up with together. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- No interrupting
- no diminishing or demeaning the other person’s feelings
- no yelling/cursing/or other “bad” verbal behaviors
- no giving up before the problem is resolved
- and the right to take a ten minute breaks if things got too heated for either person
Throughout your weeks, if something happened that you don’t want to deal with in the moment, write it down and place it in the box. Whether it’s beccause you don’t want to ruin a nice evening, or you knew the other person is tired or grumpy, or you know you aren’t in prime emotional shape to deal with it, or you are just plain unsure or nervous about how to bring it up, just put it in the box and forget about it for the moment.
Then, during your marriage meeting, you deal with it. You open up. You share what you wrote. You talk about it until it is resolved. And you follow the rules on the box. No interrupting. No yelling. No giving up. Now some of the items in the box may not feel important by the time the meeting rolls around and that’s alright. You can share them with your partner or not. If it still matters though – you must work through it!
Doesn’t sound like much fun, right? Well, we are going to fix that. I want you to combine this practice with more traditional “date night” activities. Have a nice dinner together. Start your meeting when you are both feeling relaxed and comfortable. Plan a fun, enriching activity for after you have talked about everything in the box.
So, here is the basic plan:
1. Pick an evening to designate as Marriage Meeting Night every week.
2. Establish your comment box and keep it in a prominent place.
3. Write down anything that needs discussed through the week that doesn’t get dealt with in that moment.
4. Take turns planning a nice dinner and activity each week for your Meeting night.