I have been with my wife for over 10 years. We have an amazing relationship that is full of love and understanding. We rarely argue, never fight, and are genuinely each other's best friends.
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The one thing that we have recently realized though, is that we don't really communicate everything that is on our minds or bothering us about each other. We are so busy keeping each other happy that we don't make time to talk about the little bothers that can build up over time.
Most couples come to this point after a while together, and instead of making the time to talk, they let the little things sit. They don't address them in a timely manner, when they will be easier to handle and diffuse. The problem with this is, similar to a pressure cooker, people end up cooking too much little stuff — eventually it turns into a big mess that explodes. An explosion in a relationship is never good and instead of issues being resolved, they become a giant whirlwind of accusations.
So my wife and I have started doing something new that I think has made a great relationship even better. Once a week we have a "Marriage Meeting." This is a time that we set aside once a week to talk about things that might be bothering us, or to just tell each other something that we appreciate about them. We follow a set of rules to make this efficient. Some sound easy, but can be a little more challenging than you would think. Here's what we do.
1. The meeting should be held at the same day and time every week. No skipping! Why? Because if you skip one, the next thing you know you're skipping two… then three… And so on. Make it a priority!
2. Each partner has one turn to state something that is on their mind or bothering them.
3. One partner talks, the other listens. This is not an immediate discussion; anything said is to be listened to only… No responding. This gives each person time to think about what the other has said, and then work on a solution together.
4. If there is nothing bothering one partner, then they should use the meeting as a time to tell the other something that they appreciate about them or mention something they liked about them during the past week.
5. Again… NO RESPONDING. This can be somewhat difficult, because the initial, knee-jerk reaction is to defend oneself. But this is a meeting — not an attack — and anything said should be given time to resonate.
6. Each partner should take what was said and try to work on it the following week. At the next meeting you can discuss what you did about the issue or how you tried to resolve it — If, in fact, there was an issue to be resolved.
These meetings have been great for us. They have allowed us the opportunity to A) discuss issues that we would normally suppress and B) voice our appreciation for things that might otherwise go unrecognized.
I believe these are fantastic tools for any relationship at any stage. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Matty Staudt has been in the radio industry since he was just 16 years old. In addition to Matty's status as co-founder of StraightMaleFriend.com, Matty is a professor at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He is the former Executive Producer of several popular shows in NYC, DC, and in SF on the "Sarah and No Name Morning Show".
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