Ep 13 - Power Up With A Monthly Relationship Agreement
Today's episode is for anyone in a relationship and is inspired by a wonderful Podcast called Multiamory (I urge you to get it in your ears!). Whether they're at the beginning of a new relationship or in a well-established, long-term relationship, it’s for those who would love to find ways to connect better and communicate more effectively with their partner...
Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast and more.
Broadcast: May 7, 2021
Here’s a snippet of my recording…
Speak your truth.
Regardless of where you're at in your relationship, we all know that communication is vital for a well-functioning relationship. Yet the issue for many humans is that many people are really poor at communication! I know this through my own experience in relationships, through conversations I have with girlfriends and even through some wonderful conversations I had recently with members of my online membership program The Vitality Revolution. We were talking about the angst that we can feel when we simply have a fear of speaking our truth in a relationship. What happens is we conjure up all these ideas and issues in our minds around what the other person might think of what we want to say and what we think their reaction is going to be. We end up not saying anything at all, and it gets to a point where we implode and it all comes tumbling out. It's quite laughable actually in hindsight!
Let’s try something different.
What I want to introduce today is a monthly relationship check-in or general meeting that allows for a safe, contained space for you and your partner to communicate every month. This is something Andrew and I have brought into our relationship. I introduced this idea to Andrew in the very early days of our relationship when we knew our relationship had significant legs.
The monthly 'AGM' is really an opportunity for you to come together and speak about what matters. To do a review of what's happened over the last month. It establishes a safe space to talk about any uncomfortable topics and is a great opportunity for you to celebrate and share the things that are going really well in your relationship and to check-in. It’s a great opportunity to create this container of space so that you can minimize those day-to-day niggles, those little annoying conversations you might want to have about the bath mat not being hung up, or the fact that someone's always leaving the wet towel on the floor, or whatever it is. You can pick up on those things and chat about these things as you go, but sometimes when you're having a really great week together, it can be a shame, as these things can blow up.
No more ‘problem backlog’.
The notion of this general meeting prevents what you might call ‘problem backlog’ from building up, which is what can happen if we have all this stuff in our minds that we want to talk about that begins to snowball.
Essentially, the monthly general meeting is a date that you might set. I would recommend at the end of the month. I would recommend that it is done without alcohol and it might just be an hour that you put aside where the two of you come together and work through your relationship agreement.
First, set the agenda.
If you Google ‘relationship agreement’ you'll find stacks online. But what I recommend is that you decide, between the two of you, an agenda. It could be you agree to talk about your finances. You agree to talk about what's happening in both of your careers or in your work. You might want to talk about your sex life. You might want to talk about your friendships. You might want to talk about household chores - and don't scoff because all of this is relevant to the health of your relationship. And you agree that each of these areas of your relationships is important. And regardless of whether there's an issue, you come together and you talk about each of those areas.
Celebrate what’s going well.
What's really important is that there is an opportunity for you to celebrate what's going really well and it might just be around finances for example, but you commit to talking about every section. I think that's really key because one person might feel totally comfortable with the area and the other person might not. But you might get to your finances and you might celebrate the fact that you guys have saved whatever amount over the last month or that things are right on track - and that's worth sharing and celebrating and congratulating each other around.
Now, I feel doing this without alcohol is important so that you have clarity and so that you can keep your emotions in check. What is really key is you must agree that it is a safe space for you to share whatever feelings or emotions are coming up for you, without judgement and without fear of reprisal. We can never be made to feel bad for the feelings that we experience. If you are feeling frustrated or annoyed or fearful or anxious or whatever it is, the other person obviously needs to hear you out, remembering this is a safe space for communication.
Review the month’s issues and challenges.
When you catch up with your partner, I think a really great first step is to sit down and go through how things have been for the last month. So do a bit of a review of the last month. What went wrong, what went really well? Were there any issues and challenges? Then you've got your agenda that you'll work through and discuss any pain points. It’s also really important to set some action points so that you're continuing to invest in your relationship moving forward. So it might be ‘We're feeling a bit uncomfortable about the fact that we're not physically coming together and that our sex life has fallen to the wayside.’ You might say, ‘Why don't we commit to and prioritize our sex life by coming together, by prioritizing some physical fun times once a week on this day.’ And to some that might feel a little bit too rigid, but often with parents and busy workloads, it can be really difficult - you have to prioritize your time. It can’t always be spontaneous. So put in some action points. Write them down, agree on the action points for the month ahead.
Get out of your comfort zone.
This monthly check-in may require you get outside of your comfort zone, to be brave and to use your voice. But if we want things to improve, if we want to foster deeper connections with our partners, I think this is a really great idea. And it’s something that we should look forward to for the purpose of growth - of ourselves and our relationships. I'd love to know if you have a relationship agreement in place, or if this is something you think would be really worthwhile for your relationship.