Weekly Meeting for Couples and Parents

Why do couples need weekly meetings??

So many couples come to me and say, “we tried to do meetings every week and things never got any better” or “we need a time to talk about all the things that we have going on but, when we try to talk, we just end up fighting and making things worse.”

Our lives have become so busy!

We are running from one thing to the next and even if we do have time to spend together, we want to have fun and not have those hard conversations. But then, bam! Things blow up in our faces because no one is talking about all the hard stuff. The resentment has built up long enough that it comes exploding out of us or someone drops the ball on that important event. Or maybe a kid gets left somewhere because the calendars weren’t all synced up.

There are so many reasons why couples and parents need to have time each week to sit down and talk about all the things that everyone is avoiding (or maybe you are the one begging to talk about the things and just can’t seem to get your partner to sit down with you). When I am doing couples counseling or parent coaching, I call these State of the Union Meetings.

There are 4 steps to a great State of the Union Meeting that make them something you can look forward to doing together.

But before we get to those, you have to put it on the calendar! It is so easy to let the days and weeks just fly by, that unless you are intentional about scheduling a time to sit down and do this, it probably won’t happen. So, schedule it.

Here are the 4 steps:

  • Step 1: Start out each meeting by telling each other how you felt loved this past week. Name something specific
    • For example: I felt so loved when you remembered that I was going to have a difficult meeting yesterday and you sent me an encouraging text!
  • Step 2: Give 5 appreciations. For this, I have each partner name an adjective (any descriptive word like, loving, kind, sexy) that they are fond of or admire about their partner and give an example of them embodying that adjective.
      • For example: I love how silly you are. Last week you made me laugh so hard when you were impersonating the crazy neighbor from down the street

  • Step 3: Now you can talk about all the stuff! This is where you can have a conversation about all the stressors at work, an argument that you had last week that still has some hurt feelings attached to it, the calendar, who is going to drive which kid where this week, or anything else that needs your attention.
  • Step 4: I always tell my couples to end their time together by asking each other “How can I make you feel loved this week?” And then actually do it! Set reminders in your phone if you need prompts throughout the week to look for opportunities to do the thing your partner asked for.

 

That’s it! When you sandwich difficult conversations with lots of love, appreciation, and warmth, they tend to go much better. In 4 steps you can tackle those conversations that you are avoiding and resolve issues that come up on a weekly basis. Actually, its 5 steps, because first you have to put it on the calendar and be intentional about setting time aside for this conversation. So don’t forget that part!

Now, if you are thinking that step #3 still feels overwhelming, don’t worry!

Schedule a session with one of our therapists and we can give you some more resources to tackle those conversations. We will break them down for you, just like the steps above, so that they don’t seem so daunting. If you are in Littleton, Colorado and would like to do in-person couples counseling or parent coaching, click on the link below. If you are located anywhere in Colorado and would like to do virtual sessions, we offer telehealth appointments as well.

The State of the Union conversation is part of the 6 hours to a better relationship which was developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman for the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling.

Click here for more information on Parenting Therapy.