My Marriage is Stronger Than Ever Thanks to This Sunday Night Routine

My Marriage is Stronger Than Ever Thanks to This Sunday Night Routine

My sister introduced me to the concept. “We have a weekly marriage meeting every Sunday night,” she shared, “just to check in with each other and get on the same page.” Immediately intrigued, I asked her to send me her agenda and announced to my husband that our first official marriage meeting would occur this Sunday evening, don’t be late. He raised his eyebrows in (to my surprise) curious interest. “Sure. Sounds good,” he said. 

Later that week, we sat down at the dining table. I pulled up the questions and we got to talking. He was totally game and the further we got into it, the more we realized what we’d been missing. We talk all the time, but this was different. There was an intention behind it. A framework that lent itself to meaningful conversations across subjects—from who would take the kids to the dentist that week to why I felt fully overwhelmed by 5 p.m. every day.

Feature image by Kristen Kilpatrick.

Beth Herget and Charlotte Cauwe at home_marriage meeting
Image by Belathée Photography

These meetings began to breathe life into our relationship and set us up for a week where we were on the same page logistically and emotionally.

As the weeks went on, we continued to keep our standing meeting. Oftentimes, moving to the couch or the front porch, we took on a cadence that allowed us to look one another in the eye, listen fully, and be heard. These meetings began to breathe life into our relationship and set us up for a week where we were on the same page logistically and emotionally. As partners, teammates, parents, and lovers. It’s been the linchpin to a thriving relationship and, by proxy, a healthy family dynamic.

Don’t get me wrong. This weekly marriage meeting doesn’t mean we never fight or we suddenly have a “perfect” relationship, whatever that is. We’ve even skipped a few Sundays lately in exchange for bingeing Netflix. And that doesn’t mean we’ve failed in some way. The point of the meeting is conditioning your connection—and recognizing when it’s time to dive back in.

weekly marriage meeting on the porch
Image by Michelle Nash

What are marriage meetings?

A marriage meeting is a regular, intentional time set aside to pause and connect with your partner. It’s a moment to fill up and encourage one another as you journey onwards in your lifelong commitment to a relationship that’s healthy, romantic, meaningful, and full of joy. And when your mental load feels like it’s reached peak capacity, a marriage meeting is how you create space. 

Putting intention behind noticing your partner’s actions during the week is a breeding ground for romance.

The Benefits of a Weekly Marriage Meeting

I could write pages on the benefits of implementing a regular time to check in with your partner, but let’s stick with the high level. 

  1. It enhances intimacy on all levels. The beauty of relationships is that we’re always growing and evolving, so there’s always something new to learn. Weekly check-ins are an opportunity to connect on intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and even physical levels. It’s also a time to communicate about logistics. Because listen. If you have kids, then you know how quickly those romantic date-night conversations take a swift turn to children and general life management. The marriage meeting creates a space for these topics so you can table them for a specific time and place. 
  2. It lets you get ahead of potential conflicts. Regular meetings allow you to get on the same page and set expectations for the week. It also provides an opportunity to discuss unresolved conflicts or those things you keep meaning to mention.
  3. It keeps the romance alive. Our weekly communication is the enemy of complacency and helps avoid the “roommate syndrome” that can often creep in while you’re not looking. Trust me when I say, a marriage meeting lends itself to intimacy on all levels.

weekly marriage meeting on the couch
Image by Teal Thomsen

How to Hold a Marriage Meeting: The Nitty-Gritty

And Remember...

Above all, this meeting should never feel like a chore. And if it does, I challenge you and/or your partner to re-frame it. This is what you vowed to do. This is nurturing the relationship just like you promised you would. The key? Make it fun and carry equal ownership.

Know that it’s normal for one partner to take the reigns in the beginning, but try to give equal time for discussion as you go through the agenda. Eventually, you’ll both learn to look forward to this time as you find it instrumental to your relationship. Perhaps even fun?

sit for a marriage meeting
Image by Michelle Nash

The Agenda: Marriage Meeting Questions

My recommendation is that you grab a few questions from the list below and create a personalized agenda based on your own needs, with the addition of 2-3 questions that might stand out as challenging or not totally applicable. The reason? You never know which question could open up a whole new level for your relationship. 

I keep a note on my phone with discussion points and questions to ask each other each week. Over time, this note has evolved as we’ve removed some questions and added others. It’s a living document that ebbs and flows with the seasons of our relationship. Sometimes I’ll drop notes with our answers, particularly if we’re trying to reach a certain goal, either together or in our individual lives and careers. It gives us a place to check in the following week and keep each other accountable. 

But for the most part, we just open the floor and talk.

weekly marriage meeting questions at the table
Image by Michelle Nash

1. Start With Gratitude 

Begin by setting a positive environment. We all know there is power when your mind shifts to gratitude. And when you place all that mental energy toward your partner? It’s kind of monumental.

Take turns expressing specific appreciation from the week prior

Acknowledge any moments in the last week you felt particularly grateful for something your partner did. A few examples:

As you get used to this practice, you can jot things down on your phone throughout the week. 

Bonus! Putting intention behind noticing your partner’s actions during the week is a breeding ground for romance. When you put the focus on what they do rather than what they don’t do (which is arguably the default), it creates more connection and affection for the other. It also encourages you to seek out ways to do the same in return—the healthiest of spirals.

Give a compliment

Who doesn’t love a physical compliment? “Your bedhead was so freakin’ cute this morning” or, “The way you wore that dress…” Again, the list goes on. Another bonus? The more you put this intentional attention toward your partner, the more attractive they become. It’s science. 

2. Talk Logistics

Once you’re feeling all warm and fuzzy, move on to the to-do’s, appointments, and expectations for the week. Try to keep it short and high-level. Otherwise, it can quickly take over the whole marriage meeting. (And if a certain topic brings up conflict, table it for later.)

Image by Daniele Rose

3. Plan Ahead

Building a life together should be fun! And life is always more fun when you have happy things to look forward to. It’s easy to talk about it, so here is where you dig into the doing. Use this time to intentionally build fun and play into your life.

20 second hug for a marriage meeting
Image by Michelle Nash

4. Address Challenges and Connect

Finally, it’s time to get aligned across the board. Think of this as a problem-solving space, a moment to discuss challenges or areas that need the most attention and care. My advice: Tread lightly at first. Tackle small problems and issues that you know can be resolved. It’s almost like strengthening a muscle—one that’s committed to listening with an intent to understand.

Do you have any topics or questions to add? Let’s hear them in the comments. And if you try a marriage meeting for the first time this week, circle back and let us know how it went.