I’ve always thought there was a lot to be said for same-sex marriage — even for couples who aren’t gay. Instead of a Venusian and a Martian struggling to cohabit, the partners would at least be from the same planet.
They’d like the same movies. They’d read the same books. They’d speak the same language. They might even manage to converse with each other.
Then I met Brian and Matthew. Now, I’m convinced of it.
Together for 16 1/2 years and married for two, Brian and Matthew are highly successful business men who lead busy, demanding lives. Their strategy for blending those lives is a model we’d all do well to emulate.
Every Sunday (travel schedules permitting) they hold a planning meeting with formal agenda. A few weeks ago, they were generous enough to let me sit in on one of those meetings.
Item #1 on the agenda is always “Household and Administration.” This is where they discuss maintenance issues. i.e. the roof is leaking, and someone needs to call the roofer, or the housekeeper should clean out the refrigerator next week. Joint purchase decisions like home gym equipment also come under this category.
For the record, most “to do” items fall on Brian; while Matthew, who travels constantly, oversees the joint checking account and pays household bills. He also handles travel, hotels, cars. Brian handles everything else, including the dog.
The second agenda item is “Social Planning.” In addition to deciding which invitations to accept, they make a list of friends and family members they’d like to see over the next two months and identify available calendar spots.
At the meeting I attended, one discussion centered on an out-of-town wedding the following weekend — when each was arriving, where Brian’s parents were staying, when they might schedule a workout and where to hold a dinner they were hosting that weekend.
They call Item #3 a “Relationship Barometer.” This is where two non-emotional, mature life-partners discuss what went well the previous week and what they need from each other in future. “Thank you for buying the lovely flowers. I appreciate the little ways your make our house a home. And could you please take my calls when I’m out of town and trying to reach you between meetings.”
The rest of the discussion covers travel plans and a review of their shared Outlook calendar.
If an argument comes up during the week, they stop and agree to put the issue on next Sunday’s agenda.
Impressive, huh? Could you and your spouse conduct similar weekly meetings?
I’m afraid Jack and I would get hung up on: Where are we meeting? Why are we meeting? Why do we need to talk? And can we hurry up and finish before “Meet the Press”?