Yours, His and Ours – Part 2
According to the US Bureau of Census there are 1300 new stepfamilies forming every day!
If you haven’t read Part 1, click here.
Use the couch
Although my family fits the mom, pop and the kid’s mode, it still wasn’t easy raising three daughters. I was leading a fast-growing church. Christine played an important role, and our girls were growing.
The accumulated stress had its pay day. We were on a collision course for disaster. We were facing something worse than divorce. A failed marriage of co- existence and indifference!
The best I can say is God’s grace shone on us and we landed on the couch. No, not doing that, but something we called…..
The Marriage Meeting.
It was going to take something special to enjoy good vibes with our kids and have a great marriage. And the something special was discipline. Yes, I said it. Most of us don’t like the word – discipline!
Confronting the collateral damage of our lifestyle needed change. The answer lay in doing something “business like”.
Firstly, we did a S.W.O.T. analysis of our marriage. Draw 4 quadrants on a piece of paper, with the letters S and W on the top blocks and O.T. in the bottom 2 blocks.
- S – make a list of all your strengths your marriage and blended family.
- W – make a list of all the weaknesses.
- O – All the opportunities.
- T – All the threats.
Here is the best part of doing the S.W.O.T. exercise.
The Strength block is above the Opportunity block. Under them, make a list of things you can do to develop the strengths and opportunities in your marriage.
Weaknesses and Threats take management. Make a list of the things you are going to do to manage your threats and opportunities.
The chances of fixing the weaknesses and threats are minimal.
Make a date for the couch
Christine and I had a “marriage meeting” on Thursday nights from 7:00pm-8:00 pm. When I tell people, they say it is a crazy thing to do in a marriage.
And here is the crazy part 1: We had an agenda, we kept minutes, and each meeting was strictly one hour.
And crazy part 2: Things changed almost immediately. We found solutions, but most of all, we found each other.
Agenda Tips: Here is a possible agenda for your marriage meeting.
- Take a moment to pause and pray (again, even if you don’t believe in God – pray)
- Ask each other; how shameful, guilty and angry do you feel. (This could take an hour. Don’t worry – it will get better.)
- Minutes of last meeting – matters arising not on the current agenda.
- Kids – what, who and why?
- How are our finances?
- What are each other’s schedules for the coming week look like?
Christine and I did marriage meetings for a few months. They had an immediate impact on our family. Today, years later, we now have language when things get rocky. We say, “we need a marriage meeting”. These meetings tell us, we need to carve out time and have a non-threatening discussion about stuff again.
Being fully human is creating safe, non-threatening spaces, to build healthy blended families.