Marriage Agenda (aka Coffee Break Agenda)

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What is “Marriage Agenda”?

It’s a guide of practical questions and topics that spouses ask and answer surrounding their marriage relationship health, and the running of their household.

Who is it designed for?

For married couples, or those who are engaged to be married.


When could it be done?

It’s recommended to do a Marriage Agenda/Coffee Break Agenda weekly, preferably sometime in the first half of the week, to help define the coming week’s focus and goals.  It’s also ideal to do it consistently the same time and day every week.

Where could it be done?

It’s recommended to do in a public setting like a coffee shop or similar, since being surrounded by other people often helps keep ones emotional outbursts in check.  For those couples that have kids, the agenda can be easily accomplished at a park/playground while kids play in the peripheral.

Why do Marriage Agenda?

The marriage agenda questions are designed to allow the wife to give feedback to her husband, for the husband to give feedback to his wife, to release tension, resolve conflict, and for them to discuss and find solutions together to progress the family forward.  It’s intent is foster more healthy communication habits and allow a safe space and time to address concerns, with out fear of judgment. Above all else, it’s a time to highlight wins, and praise your spouse for what they are doing right, and recognize their contributions to the family.

How to do it?

It’s recommended that one spouse goes first and runs through all questions, while the other is listening, participating with answers, and taking notes on action items to do going forward.  Then, swap roles. It’s highly recommended to share a Trello board (available online and as a mobile app), Google Doc, or other means to track notes and feedback in a shared medium for easy future reference, and tracking of action items and goals.

Results.

Couples who implement Marriage Agenda weekly have said they argue and fight substantially less, because there is a weekly outlet that allows for healthy release of any emotional tensions.   If issues arise during the week, couples feel that because the weekly Marriage Agenda meeting is right around the corner, they can simply make a mental note of the issue to discuss it at the meeting, instead of derailing the emotional energy and mental focus of the moment. The conscious choice to discuss the issue later, could help the home environment stay emotionally healthier and more positive throughout the week.  Many couples says Marriage Agenda has helped to foster more healthy communication between spouses, and improved emotional self-awareness and control.

DON’T GIVE UP.

The first few sessions may feel a bit daunting and overwhelming. Many tears have been shed, and many spouses have wished to toss coffee into their spouses face and storm out. This is normal, as there could be a backlog of unresolved tensions and issues that need to be aired out and dealt with in a healthy way. Be encouraged especially in the first few months. Remember, consistency is key! It may not “feel” like much has changed between weekly meetings, but rest assured that over time you will look back, and see massive progress and growth. Every minute of time, all the energy and money spent investing into your marriage is absolutely worth it! Don’t be afraid, and don’t neglect to put the work in. Your marriage is priceless, and Marriage Agenda is a “secret weapon” to keep it in pinnacle health.


Marriage Agenda

Guidelines:

  • 3:1 positive to negative, praise to constructive criticism

  • Weekly 45min-60mins

  • Quarterly (once every 3 months) 3 hour in depth meeting


Questions:

  • What’s the intention and outcome of the meeting?

  • How am I doing on a scale of 1-10?

  • What are 2 things that could get me from an X to a 10?

  • Are we spending enough quality time together?

  • (Husband Asking Wife) Do you feel loved? Yes or no? List 2 moments you recently felt most loved by your husband. Discuss one area you wish to see more love in.

  • (Wife Asking Husband) Do you feel respected? Yes or no? List 2 moments you recently felt most respected by your wife. Discuss one area you felt disrespected.

  • What are you most excited by the future?

  • What are the strongest assets we have?

  • Any "do overs" from last week? (Was there something that could have been handled better?)

  • Any updates to the following areas:

    • Family Vision;  Where are we headed?  What’s our goals? and why? 

    • Financially/Business; What’s working? What needs to change?

    • Self Improvement/Relationship Development; What book titles have been recommended to us to read together on marriage, romance, financial, personal development, spirituality?

  • Schedule Awareness:

    • Trips; family events, dates, business, vacations, (discuss details).

    • Date ideas; preferences for weekly dates, plans for over night stay (away from kids). (discuss details)

    • Guys night out (discuss details).

    • Girls night out (discuss details).

    • Kids schedules;

      • Need to knows

      • Want to dos

      • School Project/Field trips

      • Goals & objectives

    • Plans with other family members (immediate & extended).

    • Plans with friends (other than family) What people/couples to invite out and spend time with. People with positive energy and encouraging attitudes that we can surround ourselves with.

  • Financial Awareness:

    • Review our “Epic Life Plan”. (aka conscious spending plan & budget.)

    • What’s our financial goals this month? this quarter? this year?

    • Are we on track to meet savings/investment goals?

    • Wish/Gift list ideas for her, for him, for kids.

  • Household needs:

    • Fix it list (“Honey do” List)

    • Big purchases

    • Weekly meal plan/shopping list

Quarterly Agenda

  • Run through Marriage Agenda.

  • Review 12 Areas of life:

    • Health & Fitness

    • Emotional

    • Character

    • Spiritual

    • Love

    • Parenting

    • Social

    • Financial

    • Career

    • Quality of Life

    • Life Vision

  • Write out separately, then discuss together:

    • 2-3 things that are working in each area.

    • 1 thing that needs improvement in each area.

    • 1 thing or action item to do in each area.

  • Core Values; Do we need to update our Core Values? (Recommended to be reviewed at least annually.)

  • Schedule; block out weekends first, annual traditions, holidays, family vacations, then schedule quarterly events.

  • Seal it with prayer.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this article.