We have quarterly meetings for our marriage.
I know, it sounds SUPER romantic to treat our marriage like a business. There’s really nothing sexier than a quarterly meeting, am I right? However, we felt pretty convicted by the fact that both of us spend a large chunk of time planning in our jobs, setting goals, and taking action. When it comes to our marriage though, we were just floating around aimlessly. The busy-ness of life always seemed to overtake our best intentions. How could we stop and take hours of time reading, talking, or working on US when there are things to get done?
We started doing a quarterly meeting when Cody’s company went through a book that taught them how to plan for their business. We’ve adopted many of it’s teachings and tools into our marriage now!
Over the past year or so, Cody’s small company has been focusing on being plan-full and intentional. The book they’ve used as a baseline is Traction by Gino Wickman, which is part of a larger toolset for business called the Entrepreneurial Operating System. The idea is that a small company (in the case of TrustFunds, 5 people) gets the right people doing the right things. They focus on specific, measurable goals in the short, medium, and long term. Larger goals get broken down and assigned, and more time is devoted to more valuable tasks.
With this team of 5, there are weekly, quarterly, and yearly meetings that each follow their own agenda. Big-picture things like mission, vision, and long-term goals are reviewed and checked at the larger meetings. Many of these also get discussed in every single weekly meeting. This allows the entire company to be on the same page, accountable for the tasks that are theirs to complete, and hyper-focused on the goals we’ve all agreed are most crucial to the business. With this alignment of our work and our goals, we ensure the company is moving, and in the direction we want it to.
Bringing the Business Home
When Cody started using these principles, he noticed that things that would have never gotten done at work were suddenly getting done. There was less confusion about who was responsible for different projects. They weren’t wasting as much time delegating, because that was all taken care of. Things that may take one employee 10 hours to complete were being moved to a different area and saving 9 of those hours. Most impressively, large seemingly-insurmountable projects were getting completed and making a visible impact on the business’ ability to grow and expand.
It all clicked after a fight we had. Have you and your spouse ever had a task-related fight? You know, the ones about “I thought you said you were going to take out the trash” or “how come we say we’re going to get life insurance but we never actually do it” and everyone leaves frustrated and overwhelmed? Marriage is full of things that need to get done. Not only that, but the “I wish we did [x y z] list could go on and on to. We need some clarity around the things that needed to get done and the things we kept pushing off.
The Quarterly Meeting
Enter our Traction Quarterly Meeting. These meetings are a bigger check-in than our weekly meetings. We reflect honestly on our last quarter (the good and the bad). Next, we talk about what’s been going well and what has not. We set 3-5 “rocks”, or larger projects, for the next quarter. Sometimes these rocks are task-oriented, like clearing the clutter and having a garage sale. Things that just need to get done, but are too big to bite off at one time. So, they keep getting pushed off, forgotten, or ignored.
Other times, the rocks are more about formations. These formations work to build our marriage, faith, etc. into what we want them to be. Things like getting in the habit of reading each day, working out, or following a bible plan. We end with a list of quick tasks that keep getting put off (call the doctor, print off pictures from a trip) and assign them to one of us with a deadline of the next quarter meeting.
Effects of our Quarterly Meeting
Since starting to follow this structure, we’ve cut down on our arguments and stress a lot. Clarity around responsibilities and actually taking the time to do the things we want to do (and need to do) brings us so much peace. It keeps us focused and intentional about growing our marriage. We no longer let important things keeping passing by because of other things in our life.
So it may not sound romantic to have a formal quarterly meeting for our marriage, but in reality – it is. We don’t need to fight over things on to-do lists or feeling overwhelmed and unsupported. We know what needs to get done, and who is going to do it. Life is a lot more carefree feeling when that conversation really only has to happy a few times a year!! When we feel more carefree, there’s more room to just CELEBRATE our marriage!