“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility”. Sadly, the Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, couldn’t find his solution. Perhaps he could have avoided his marriage collapsing if he had had a weekly marriage check in.
What is a marriage meeting?
Before we explain the marriage check up process, it’s worth first considering what’s driving you to think about having a weekly marriage check in. Yes, it’s a healthy approach to communication in a marriage. It isn’t a quick fix for deeper issues though.
If you’re looking for a new tool to formalize how to agree on who’s going to do what each week then the weekly marriage check in could be for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to resolve communication issues, there could be something else going on.
Relationships are hard and they take effort and commitment. On top of that, we are often drawn to people who hit all our triggers. As this article onwhy we love difficult people explains, we choose our partners because they feel familiar when compared to our childhood patterns.
Those patterns aren’t always healthy. Nevertheless, rather than getting triggered by our partners, we can use our weekly marriage check in to explore those triggers together.
By not taking things personally and asking marriage check in questions, you can uncover what works best for both of you. The more you reveal your triggers, the more you can support each other wisely to not get hurt or stressed.
In summary, a weekly marriage check in can be a useful organizational tool. It can also be a process to allow you to explore deeper issues.
What are good relationship check in questions?
Marriage meetings are a mature way to communicate. The idea is to use open ended questions to encourage information sharing. If you just ask yes or no questions, you tend to limit the possibilities.
A good way to remember open questions is the acronym 5W1H: What, Where, When, Who, Why and How.
Although, a useful tip is to note that the question ‘why’ can sometimes come across as accusatory. In essence, ‘what’ and ‘how’ are the best questions.
The following list gives you some ideas for marriage check in questions but of course you can create your own as you go along:
What do you feel good about in terms of our relationship?
What are you currently struggling with?
Where can I make things easier for you?
What can we do differently to make next week even better?
How do you think we’re doing compared to our yearly / 5-yearly goals?
How committed do you feel toward this relationship and what’s missing for you?
What level of friendship do you feel we have and what can we keep doing to connect?
How would you rate our trust levels and what can we keep working on?
How can we keep talking about feelings as part of our day-to-day life?
How do you conduct a relationship check?
We all have different ways of doing things. Some people like to be organized and some like to go with the flow. The trick to having a successful weekly marriage check in is to work out what’s best for you both.
The common approach for a weekly check in is to aim for half an hour every week. Find the right time on the right day and then prepare like you would for a work meeting.
So, have an agenda and specific items you want to discuss. These could cover anything from finances to household chores or the kids.
Interestingly, there are different personality types out there. If you’re the more spontaneous type, this could feel like adding a millstone around your neck. In that case, simply remember that all you’re trying to achieve is time alone with your partner.
Marriage meetings for lasting love can be flexible if you want them to be. Perhaps a daily check in at the end of the day as you wind down after dinner before bed? If you’re morning people, perhaps you can find time over breakfast?
If one of you is the organized type and one of you spontaneous, you’ll need to find a way to honor both of your needs. A great way to start is to discover your different styles with this freepersonality type questionnaire and review the reports together.
Simply knowing the differences makes a huge impact on how you manage conflict. You’ll be much more aware of how you see life differently and can be more empathic more easily.
Benefits of marriage meetings
The secret to a successful marriage is communication but most importantly kindness. As this article on theMasters of Love describes, this isn’t just about doing little things for each other.
It’s also about turning towards your partner and responding positively when they share something that’s important to them. The article further summarizes some of the Gottman Institute research.
In summary, successful partners feel physiologically calm around each other because of the trust and kindness they show towards each other. A weekly marriage check in allows you to do that. At its core, a marriage check up is about communicating to connect deeply.
We all complain about not having enough time. Intriguingly, thisworld data chart shows that Western societies are working less. Moreover, we’re definitely doing better than spending 57 hours a week on housekeeping as they did in the 1950s, according toGood Housekeeping.
So, what’s happening to all this time we allegedly have? Journalist Johann Hari spoke to experts all over the world and summarized everything in his book Stolen Focus.
As this article on ourstolen attention summarizes, our focus and our time have been taken away by smartphones, the internet and the constant barrage of information.
A weekly marriage check in can give you some time back. You clearly state that there will be no digital distractions. Sometimes that means leaving the house to get some space.
Whatever you need to make it work, marriage meetings for lasting love involve time alone with nothing and no one else.
25 tips on weekly marriage Check in guide
Finding your perfect weekly marriage check in is initially a trial and error process. Be patient and adapt according to your schedules and needs. The overall aim is to spend quality time together where you can both appreciate each other and plan together.
1. Find your rhythm
You can ask marriage check in questions at any time of day. The key is to make sure you’re both open and listening without distractions. Carve out the time you need on the day that works for you.
2. Define your values and priorities
A weekly marriage check in is about getting to know each other’s priorities. Things change as we go through life and sometimes we expect our partners to mind-read. Instead, talk about what’s important to you and what you want out of life and your relationship.
3. Understand your use of time
Marriage meetings are a useful way to claim time back for each other. On the flip side, a good exercise you can do is to work out where your time goes. Rather than blaming each other for not spending time together, fill out atime diary for a few weeks.
You can then analyze it together and agree on what to let go of and what to prioritize. You might be surprised at where exactly you spend your time.
4. Know your energy flow
It’s important to be fully present for each other when you do decide to sit down. If you’re tired, you can’t be open and curious. So, it’s useful to know when you have the best energy for your partner.
The perfect theme for your weekly marriage check in is of course, how you spend money. This can often become a heated argument so remember to start with your goals and expectations. If anything is misaligned, you can pre-empt a solution before it turns into conflict.
6. Buy time back
Sometimes it’s worth prioritizing external help in your budget. Of course it isn’t always possible but getting someone to help with household chores can make the world of difference.
If it means sacrificing your online streaming subscriptions, perhaps you’ve also done yourself a service and regained some me-time? Perhaps this is useful food for thought for your next weekly check in?
7. Plan date nights
A couple meeting for the first time for their weekly check-ins might not know what to talk about. As you get used to it, start with the fun stuff.
An important part of any weekly marriage check in should be to plan your date nights. What new restaurant do you want to try out or which new film do you want to see?
8. Agree on how to manage distractions
As mentioned, a weekly marriage check in is pointless if you’re half on your phone or distracted by kids walking in and out. You lose focus and you can’t fully listen to each other.
If you need a helping hand, watch this video where a clinical psychologist discusses the impact of our constant distractions and how we can change our habits to self-reflect more:
9. Define quality time
It almost doesn’t matter how you run your weekly marriage check in. The point is to spend some time together where you have each other’s undivided attention to express your love and affection.
Again, it’s about being kind to each other. So, you can almost let go of your agenda and go in with curiosity. What is your partner experiencing right now? What’s in their reality that might not be in yours?
10. Develop your language
A couple meeting for the first time might not be sure where to start. In that case, you might find some frameworks helpful to develop your own language.
For example, this PositivePsychology article onconflict resolution has several worksheets you could work through together. One walks you through how to identify current disagreements and another one guides you to brainstorm for a win-win outcome.
11. Preempt conflict
The idea to remove conflict is that you work through issues when you’re not lost in the argument. You’re then both calmer so you can be creative in how you problem-solve together.
Most importantly, you can use your weekly marriage check in to practice mindful listening. Apply thenon-violent communication framework and practice listening to each other’s viewpoints, without judgment.
12. Compare your ideal scenarios
The aim of a weekly marriage check in is to get to know what’s going on under the surface. Goals and dreams change with life circumstances.
So, use the time to talk about what your ideal home and future would look like. Everything is possible if you work together as a team.
13. Use open ended questions
As mentioned, your weekly relationship check in questions must be clear and open-ended. Otherwise, you can unknowingly bias the outcome so that your partner feels resentment.
Instead, open questions build intimacy because they invite a deeper discussion.
14. Bring curiosity
Weekly relationship check in questions only work if you’re truly curious about what’s going on with your partner. Yes of course you want them to listen to you but it works both ways. When you listen deeply with curiosity, people around you naturally start listening also.
15. Show gratitude
Saying thank you and doing thoughtful things for your partner increases intimacy. It’s also a good way to connect and motivate each other. It’s too easy to take each other for granted so, use the weekly marriage check in to remind yourselves of why you’re so great.
16. Check in on relationship goals
Sometimes you need a husband and wife week. Together you can decide what that looks like and how you pamper each other as a couple.
As part of that, be practical and don’t forget to talk about what you want out of the relationship. It’s perfectly normal to be goal-focused, even in romantic affairs. The two are not incompatible.
17. Define your rituals
In a sense, a weekly marriage check in can become part of your ritual. As human beings, we feel good with rituals because they remind us that we’re connected to other people. They make us part of something bigger than ourselves.
18. Share feelings
The most important part of any check up is to talk about feelings. This is hard for many people because most of our societies tell us to hide our feelings. You can support each other through this and start slowly, step by step.
If you want a worksheet to help you get started withexperiencing emotions, again you can work through it together.
19. Review your safety needs
Let’s not forget that we sometimes need to use our husband and wife week to air things that make us uncomfortable. Just because you’re married, it doesn’t mean you can’t have boundaries.
Moreover, it’s healthy to talk about when you need time alone and when you need space to be independent. In order to ask assertively, remember to useI-statements to state what you’ve observed and what you need.
20. Self-reflect together
Self-reflection is a powerful tool to move away from just experiencing life to engaging with it such that we change ourselves. It’s even more powerful when you can self-reflect together and use each other as a sounding board.
Your weekly marriage check in can become more meaningful with co-reflection. That’s how you get perspective and how you discover what you can keep improving on.
21. Explore the future
We need to enjoy the present but we also need to plan the future. A check in is important otherwise you might be veering off in different directions. Moreover, it’s fun discussing dreams and how to make them a reality.
22. Check in on individual career goals
The weekly check in questions for couples also need to cover your individual dreams and aspirations. Like everything else in life, it’s all about balance. In this case, balancing your individual needs and that of the couple.
23. Make intentional choices on how you use time
We might feel as if we’re victims of time but try to flip that round. How can you take control of the choices you make about how you use time?
Be intentional about focusing on one thing at a time and set time limits. Keep your values in mind as you do this to remind yourself of what you care about.
With time, you’ll see your relationship with time shift and you’ll prioritize more quality time together. A weekly marriage check in will then morph into a constant daily appreciation of each other.
24. Create a sense of achievement by celebrating small wins
We often look back at Time through our achiever lens and all the things we didn’t manage to do. Instead, try to highlight what you did manage to do even if it isn’t running a marathon.
Celebrate the small wins, including having an intimate moment before you leave for work. It isn’t about how big the achievement is but about the impact on each other.
25. Enjoy the present
Weekly check in questions for couples are also useful for you to remember to enjoy what you have right now, in this moment. We’re often lost in time travel thanks to our active minds. Help each other create a pause to enjoy what you already have.
Moving forward with your weekly marriage check in
A weekly marriage check in is a valuable tool to make sure you don’t forget to spend quality time together. How you then run that meeting is up to what you both need.
It can be formal with an agenda or it can be more fluid with a simple check in on feelings and emotions. The aim is to make sure you’re still aligned in terms of goals and priorities whilst being attentive to each other’s needs.
How will you manage your check-ins? What tools do you want to leverage or do you simply want to start with date night and evolve it from there?
Whatever approach you decide, practice kindness and curiosity to build trust and intimacy. Remind yourselves of what you mean to each other and let go of distractions. You’ll then build the teamwork necessary to face anything life throws at you.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.