For years and years, my wife and I made decisions about our lives on the fly. It sort of worked at the time, but when I look back now, it left us vulnerable to arguments because we were often not on the same page and this got very tiresome. Things only got more intense when we had a child — it amplified the lack of consciousness, intention and collaboration we had around planning our weeks together. Not to mention that, I would constantly find myself defaulting to seeing the world through a lens of what mattered to me, and losing track of what mattered to my wife and my family. Eventually we realized we needed to put aside time to get on the same page.
The Solution: A Weekly Planning Meeting
Every Monday morning, my wife and I have a weekly planning meeting. It has been fits and starts to establish these meetings, and there are still so many ways to upgrade what we do. I’m deep in this process right now, learning what it means to maintain a highly functional and resilient partnership, but we are making some great progress.
We bring our full presence and energy to this meeting. The goal is to get on the same page and tackle the inevitable decisions that arise in life — vacations, visiting grandparents, budgeting, logistics, etc— as well as state and collaborate on our individual desires together as a couple.
How to Structure Your Weekly Planning Meeting
It’s important to play around with a structure that fits your relationships, because no two are the same. For us, we set the meeting on our shared calendar every Monday morning at 11am for an hour and a half, and our agenda looks something like this:
- Before You Begin: Instead of just jumping straight into logistical conversations which can be very jolting, we spend the start of the meeting connecting. The most effective way we’ve found to do this is to share appreciation. Our brain tends to focus most often on the things we aren’t doing well and we want to counter this. We’ve found its the most effective way to build the proverbial emotional bank account prior to tackling some complicated stuff that we might not be in agreement around.
- The Agenda: You could be capturing different things during the week that you need to bring to the planning meeting. If you don’t have enough time to go through everything, prioritize what’s most important and bump the rest to next week. Mind you both people need to feel like their agenda items are going to be covered and not continually bumped to the next week. As you move through the agenda think about it as an opportunity to build your collaborative skill. How do you both come together to find a win-win solution? Ask yourself what your willing to let go of for the sake of the relationship (which includes you), knowing that your partner will be letting go of or sacrificing certain things as well.
- Action items: Note down action items and assign a responsible person. This will allow you to build greater trust in each other as you follow through on your word around what you took responsibility for.
- How to Finish: It’s important to finish with acknowledgments. Throughout the meeting, the other person probably did something generous, or let go of something for the sake of finding a win-win solution. Finishing with gratitude and acknowledgment helps you both feel seen and jazzed by the other.
If you aren’t convinced that a weekly meeting would have an impact on your relationship, I encourage you to try it for a month to see what happens. These meetings are not just about getting on the same page and getting things done, they also foster a relationship of collaboration and support, and are in themselves an expression of synergy. You get an embodied experience of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts because you’re able to do much more together than you are alone.