Scheduling a Weekly ‘House Meeting’ With My Partner Changed My Damn Life

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Plus, when you bring up relationship concerns or life logistics on the fly, there’s a good chance you won’t effectively hear one another. “You can miss what each other’s saying because you’re not primed for attentive listening or you feel infringed upon—like, there you are trying to have your moment and someone is poking at you,” she adds. (Poor communication, as you’ve probably heard, is a research-backed relationship killer.)

With a meeting on the books, on the other hand, you know what you’re walking into and are more prepared mentally to have these potentially tough conversations. “It feels less stressful and more collaborative, and like you’re making decisions together about how to handle the corporate stuff that comes up from being a couple,” Manes says.

Overall, the couple’s check-in offers a safe space to address your issues and better understand one another. The end result: You’re able to talk about everyday struggles (like splitting chores or cooking at home more often as a team) and deeper stuff (like if you’ve been arguing way too much) more compassionately, and actually problem solve. You’re inviting your partner in, as Manes puts it, and having these intentional moments of vulnerability and openness can build intimacy and trust in a relationship.

How to plan—and participate in—your couple’s meeting

Meet regularly and when you tend to be less stressed.

Scheduling check-ins is the easy part: Pick a time and a day when you and your partner are free—block off 30 to 45 minutes on your calendar. Manes suggests nailing down a window when you both feel relaxed, is possible. When my husband and I first gave these meetings a go, we chose 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, which was very stupid on my part because I was still in the middle of my workday. I arrived tense and left on edge about finishing up my work. Now, we touch base at 6:30 p.m. during dinner. Depending on your needs, you can meet every week, every other week, or once a month—or, copy us, and begin with a weekly meeting and then, once you’re in a flow, scale back to bi-weekly.

Bring up anything that’s been affecting your relationship.

As for what to talk about: It can include anything from what’s coming up in the week ahead (who needs to get groceries or take the dog to the vet, for example, or what your social plans are), to long-term goals (do you want to move to a new city? Or try for a kid in a year?), to conflicts you want to resolve (is there a frustrating issue that keeps popping up, like your partner spends way too much time on their phone when you’re together?), to your intimate life (how’s it going in the bedroom?)—really anything that’s impacting your relationship.

The goal is to bring up problems, brainstorm solutions, and, if need be, agree on a fair compromise. (Compromise, which is that sweet mix of accommodating and sacrificing, can help you resolve conflicts quicker and have a more satisfying relationship—who doesn’t want that?).

Keep an ongoing list of what you want to address.

I find it helps to jot things down in the notes app on my phone when something starts weighing on me throughout the week. That way, I won’t forget about it and I’m less likely to unfairly snap at my husband in the moment about something that may be better addressed in our calm bi-weekly sit-down (or as we simply call it, “our meeting”). It also gives me the chance to reflect on the issue and come up with a thought-out game plan for how I want to bring it up.

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