Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision.
~ Andy Stanley
To wrap up this series on how to get started, I want to focus on another practice we have in our partnership that has fundamentally changed my marital relationship for the better.
The Partner Business Meeting: a weekly status meeting for you and your partner. If you have kids or not, it is the essential meeting you need to have.
Do you worry? Do you nag your partner about to-dos? Are you anxious about your financial situation or schedules or whatever else life throws at you and your partner? Most people can definitely answer yes, and before my husband and I started this practice, my answer was a yes to the 10th degree!
Here’s the thing: you can view life as hard, where things come at you unpredictably and fast. Life can be a reaction. Or, life can be enjoyable (with challenges along the way) that you know you and your partner are equipped to handle.
The way that you move from the former to the latter is to have a weekly meeting where you know you are on the same page. We do ours on Sunday after both of us have done our weekly review. This is how we structure it:
Here we look at our monthly budget using YNAB, which we absolutely love. We check on recurring expenses, upcoming things we need to save and budget for, as well as how we’re doing in some of the nitty gritty categories (such as Groceries).
While this is something that we discuss during the family meeting, Zach and I briefly look at our schedule to see if we need to make some decisions ahead of time in regards to the car or kid schedules.
Plan Date/Together Time
At this point, we look at our schedules, and particularly our evenings and decide when we are going to have a date this week (usually it’s a Friday or Saturday night) and when we are going to spend time together during the week. While it may sound odd or even unromantic to schedule together time other than a date, this ensures that we intentionally connect throughout the week. I initially pushed back against this idea, because I felt like it wasn’t spontaneous or that it must say something about our relationship that we actually have to schedule time together. But, we spend more one-on-one time now with scheduling it than before. Especially when kids enter into the mix, you really have to be intentional about carving out what’s important, and it’s important to both of us that we spend time together without devices or other distractions. Scheduling it is how we accomplish that.
We cover the nitty gritty details about what needs to be done around the house this week.
Compensation Money Prep
As I mentioned in our family meeting blog post, we compensate for chores, and so at this point, we figure out how much we owe the kids and get it ready for the family meeting.
New Items & Assigning To-dos
At this point in the meeting, we address anything new that we have added to the discussion list within the last week. This can really be anything, and after discussing, we decide which ones need to be brought up in the family meeting.
This is when we circle back to items from previous meetings that we needed some time to complete. Additionally, sometimes within our own to-do lists, we have tagged or are waiting for each other to complete something. So we check our respective task managers and tags and see if there is something we need to follow-up on that our partner was asked to complete.
Collective Partnership Goals
If you have goals that you share with your partner, like we do, then we usually check in on our goal progress. This allows us to assess where we are and course correct if needed so that we can reach our goal.
We always check-in with each other and give a rating for the past week. We ask “On a scale of 1–10 how did I do at supporting you last week and meeting your needs. How can I improve for this coming week?”
We really ask that we be honest with one another about the week. It’s hard to improve if you don’t know there’s something to work on. And it’s not every week that we have concrete feedback, but it’s a good barometer of how we’re doing as a couple. It also means that I’m thinking about any suggestions as I go through my week so that I can be a more supportive partner.
That’s it! It’s a quick and simple 20/25 minute check-in that decreased our collective stress levels, improves our communication on the things that are important to us, eliminates my nagging tendencies, and ensures that we are on the same page as we start the week.
I hope that you’ll try it out. Like all the other meetings we do throughout the week as a family, this one has evolved to include more as we got more comfortable with the idea of meeting regularly. Initially, we just met about the budget, and perhaps that’s one of the easiest ways to start. Go ahead, invite your partner to a meeting, and listen to them. It’s amazing what can happen when you start intentionally communicating about your relationship.