The morning blessings provide a daily reminder of the mitzvah to bring peace between a husband and wife. However, most couples can maintain sholom bayis on their own with a practical, easy-to-implement system: the Marriage Meeting Program.
Couples who conduct Marriage Meetings report a twenty to eighty percent increase in happiness with their relationship, as these meetings foster a loving connection, a sense of teamwork, and a respectful resolution of conflicts.
Typically men are likely to resist scheduling a meeting, but once they try, they are pleased with the results. One husband said this approach was “direct, refreshing, and sorely needed.” Another stated that when his wife urged him to try a meeting, he was petrified, but he went along with it. He was very pleased with the results, and planned to keep scheduling meetings. Personally, I can vouch for Marriage Meetings. My husband and I have been holding them for twenty-one years, having started as newlyweds. I cannot imagine a better way to keep a relationship on track.
Here is how a Marriage Meeting works:
The meeting has a four-part agenda: Appreciation, Chores, Plan for Good Times, and Problems and Challenges. Set a time limit of 45 minutes to decrease the likelihood of fatigue. Meet when both of you are alert, not tired or hungry. Try meeting in your living room with your appointment books nearby. Avoid any interruptions. After you have established a routine, you can experiment by meeting in different settings.
The Appreciation part of the meeting comes first. Each partner takes a turn, saying specific things he or she appreciated about the other during the week. A few Dos and Don’ts to keep this part of the meeting flowing smoothly: