“If you’re only talking tactics and logistics (no longer talking about your hopes and dreams), your relationship will eventually feel like roommates.” -paraphrased from Alex Charfen
When I ask women to define the struggles inside the marriage, it oftentimes sounds something like:
- “We are good friends and we co-parent well together….”
- “He’s a good man, but it feels like we’re business partners or friends running a household together…”
- “We live like roommates.”
Roommate status is deadly to a marriage. It can literally be the first signs of the beginning of the end.
And if you’ve been living and breathing in roommate status for years, you know what I’m talking about and you know this will not turn around on its own.
It’s too easy to stay in the same patterns and not rock the boat by addressing it…which means nothing will change.
Unless you begin to do something different.
I pay an incredibly brilliant man named Alex Charfen to teach me about adding processes to my business so that what is delivered to my clients is consistent and exceptional. So, imagine my surprise when this same man (a manly dude who has built several Inc. 500 businesses starts talking about adding process to your marriage….wait, what?).
At first I thought:
There’s nothing he can teach me here…
This is my domain.
But once I dove in, he helped me expand upon one of the existing concepts that I teach. You may have heard me mention that every marriage should have a consistent State of the Union meeting. This is the time where the two owners of the marriage come together to discuss the state of the relationship.
I know…I know…adding a meeting to your marriage sounds as exciting as eating melba toast for dinner. But here’s what this man reminded me of:
If there were two partners of a business who never talked about anything important related to the business…would you expect that business to thrive?
Sure, they grunted “good morning” at one another over coffee in the breakroom…
And they sat in meetings together with other people in the company, but never made eye contact or really listened to what the other was saying…
To see them, you’d surmise that they don’t really like one another much.
How long do you think it would be before that business was in trouble?
It’s the same in your marriage.
- We think we should be able to get along on our own without any form of consistent communication structure…
- We think marriage should just be easy…
- And when it begins to feel like real effort, we begin questioning the relationship.
When maybe what’s needed is some structure to make the communication happen.
And maybe when we have consistent communication, we gain a deeper understanding of one another…
And maybe even a deeper connection to one another…
I teach a whole process to my clients, but here’s a piece of it that you could begin to implement today:
Once each week, set a time for the two of you to talk for 30-45 minutes (My husband and I meet at 5:00 pm on Sunday nights) and here are the two sets of questions you’re going to address every week…
Looking back to last week:
- Where did I “win” last week?
- What worked well last week between us?
- What didn’t work well last week between us?
Looking forward to next week:
- What I am most excited about this week?
- What I am worried about this week (if anything)?
- Where can I use more support in the week ahead?
You’ll be tempted to skip it (and frankly, most will). But if you want a marriage that doesn’t look or feel like most marriages that end up either perpetually unhappy or divorced, then do it even when it feels uncomfortable and here’s what you’ll gain:
- No more conversations that feel difficult, heavy and begin with the words, “We need to talk.”
- You’ll both know where each other feels like they’re winning in life…and how to better support one another (as well as be able to ask for the support you need).
- You’ll know what’s working and what’s not from one another’s perspective…and even when it’s not what you want to hear, I promise you it’s better to know than be surprised.
If you had invested $1MM in a new business with your partner, would you turn your back on that partner? Shut them out? Never tell them what you’re thinking or where you’re struggling? Would you never tell them how they can better support you?
My guess is you wouldn’t; so why do it in your marriage?
In two weeks I’ll be hosting a live online webinar, My Marriage is Falling Apart: How Did We Get Here and What Can I Do? I hope you’ll join me.