The State Of Your Union – 7 Topics To Discuss With Your Spouse
When we were married, Gavin and I would sit down from time to time and evaluate our relationship. We referred to these meetings as “The State of Our Union,” a play on the State of the Union address presented annually by the United States President to Congress.
It's easy to get caught up in other aspects of life and completely avoid talking to your partner about your marriage. Particularly if the relationship is fragile, you may not want to bring up sensitive issues and risk rocking the boat even more.
That said, it's important to talk openly with your spouse about what's going well and what needs improvement, as well as goals for the future and how you plan to reach them.
To help you, I'm going to share seven topics for you to discuss during the State of Your Union. Approach them with a sincere spirit of curiosity, rather than judgment or blame, and avoid getting defensive.
Whenever you want people to feel safe enough to open up to you (whether it's your child, your spouse, or a friend), you've got to really listen to their point of view and understand that their perception is their reality.
Eliminate all distractions and sit facing each other so you can look each other in the eyes. Take turns completing the sentences without interrupting each other or planning what you're going to say. Be present and listen with an open heart.
This may feel uncomfortable because it requires you to be vulnerable, but change and growth often require some stretching outside of your comfort zone. When you're done discussing these topics, I recommend giving your spouse a big hug. It may sound silly, but especially after we feel so exposed, hugs are really healing and reassuring.
As with many things, the more you do this, the more comfortable you'll feel. Scheduling these talks a few times a year really helps keep the lines of communication open.
State of Your Union Topics
1. The aspects of our marriage that are working are…Remember the Law of Attraction: You get what you focus on. So, put your attention on what's going well and do more of it.
2. I appreciate that you…
3. I contribute to our marriage by…
4. I'm sorry for…
5. My 1-year goals for our relationship are…
6. My 5-year goals for our relationship are…You may also wish to discuss action steps you plan to take to help you reach your one- and five-year goals.
7. I'd love it if you would…This may include specific words to use or actions you'd like your partner to take.
In the comments below, let me know what you think of these topics. Are there others you would include? How do you and your spouse evaluate your relationship?
After you do this exercise with your spouse, I'd love to hear about how it went. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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