Have a State of the Union Meeting (DW#558)

Time investment: One hour a week

It is one of life’s great mysteries that people who like to discuss all issues as they arise are often married to people who do not like to discuss any issues at all. Ever.

The state of the union meeting addresses concerns of both these types of people.

If you ritualize a weekly meeting to discuss issues in your relationship, both spouses can relax for the rest of the week. The conflict avoidant person can relax because they know that conflict will only be brought up once a week and not everyday. And the person wanting to discuss issues can also relax knowing that there is at least one hour a week where their concerns will be heard and addressed.

Dr. Gottman’s research has confirmed that when couples spend just one hour per week discussing areas of concern within the relationship, it transforms the way partners manage conflict. 

When I work with couples in conflict, they find that this dedicated space to discuss issues gives them the freedom to express their fears and concerns in a way that makes them feel heard and loved instead of feeling neglected. And they can focus on building friendship during the rest of the week.  Without this time, conflict tends to bleed into the rest of the time and crowd out the positive aspects of the relationship. 

So here is the breakdown of the 6 magic hours to transform your relationship:
1) Intentional goodbyes: 10 minutes a week
2) Intentional greetings: 1 hour and 40 minutes per week
3) Appreciation and admiration: 35 minutes per week
4) Expressing affection: 35 minutes per week
5) Date night: 2 hours a week
6) State of the union couple meeting: 1 hour a week

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