Every once in a while, Laura and I stumble into something that ends up being a tremendous blessing to our marriage. As boring as it sounds, a weekly “family meeting” is one of those things. For the record, the boys don’t participate! But we both do and we’ve come to see it as a hugely valuable part of our week.
To be honest, we see the value so clearly because of the years of marriage we had without this kind of regular touch point. We were chronically over scheduled, setting up conflicting meetings or not having enough time for ourselves. There were times when Laura felt like she really didn’t know where we were financially because I do the majority of that work around the house. It never felt like we had space to discuss major decisions – and, no, trying to work everything out in a series of texts throughout the day doesn’t count as “discussing.” It was a recipe for frustration. Even worse, those conversations would often spill into “date night.” So, what should have been a fun, romantic chance to connect turned into a planning meeting! Not cool.
In an attempt to regain control of our lives, work more as a team and help each other make better decisions, we started setting aside one hour a week to sit down in the evening after the boys are asleep (well, at least in bed!) and plan out our lives. We pray together and then we hit on three major points:
- Our finances. This is usually just a quick update. But it’s also a place to discuss unexpected expenses, larger purchases or adjusting our budget.
- Our schedules. This is the main event. We’re constantly working to protect white space, to ask ourselves if we’re living out our priorities and setting realistic expectations for our week. We both have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew – this is a little forced accountability.
- Other decisions. This could be anything from finding a pre-school for Jack, to thinking about a vacation, to checking in on how the other is doing spiritually.
I know many of us have an instinctively negative reaction to meetings. You do your best to avoid them at work and now I’m trying to get you to add one into your home! I get it. That’s how I felt for a really long time. But, the cost of not having this kind of regular check-in is so high in terms of wasted time, energy and emotion. If nothing else, try this for a month and see how it goes. My guess is it’ll become a regular part of your week and marriage.