(My summary from relationship counselling northern beaches regarding Marcia Naomi Berger’s book Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted)

This is an exercise which I find is very widely accepted and useful to clients. I recommend sitting down together once a week in a nice quiet spot, it could be on your deck or patio, some couples even do it in outdoors like at a quiet restaurant or in the park. 

It is also an opportunity to have some quality time with your partner. Grab a tea or coffee or sit down with a glass of wine. 

And get ready to communicate with your partner. There are no distractions like tv, mobile phones, no one is cooking – it is undivided attention and quality time.

It starts out with a format which I think is useful.

  1. Appreciating your partner. 

This is a great way to break the ice – let your partner know what you are grateful for something they have done in the week, for example – cooked your favourite meal, or helped lifting the kids.

Then let them tell you what they are grateful for. Remember it is not a competition. But just a nice way to start out appreciating your partner. 

  1. Tasks for the week ahead. 

Discuss the practical things that need to be achieved in the next week. From things like needing to take the children to the dentist, to getting a plumber over to fix the leaking toilet, or to one’s work life, like letting your partner know you have a late meeting. 

These are running the home and work life logistics that need to be communicated every week anyway, to have a certain amount of order. 

  1. Future Plans.

This can be plans to go away, planning the next holiday, planning to have friends over for a dinner party or a BBQ, date night, a picnic, a walk. They are fun things to look forward to and all future focussed which is a great thing. 

  1. Issues/ Important discussions. 

Each discuss just one issue. Start with something small first that you know you can work through. A small misunderstanding or a harsh comment. 

Or you can discuss something important like a budget – an area that can cause tension but an important topic that needs both of your input. 

Try not to make this meeting too long and it can in fact be something that draws you together, starting out with appreciation, then going to the practical logistics of the following week which need to be discussed anyway, then being future focussed and planning in some fun things to help get you through the week and ending on a serious note with both parties being fully heard. 

This format provides a space and framework each week to talk about things which is helpful to get couples communicating and connecting.