The Three T's

September 18, 2019

Are you having small frequent arguments? Are you struggling to communicate? Is it hard to stay on the same page? I have found that it is better to communicate beforehand than playing catch-up.  I am a firm believer in the calendar. If a couple decides to share a common calendar, lots of conversations and questions will take care of themselves.  If all work, school, and appointments have been filled in that is a strong start to good communication.  But that is just the beginning. The next step is to have a simple check in conversation at the beginning of the week. The couple should ask three very basic and important questions:  

1.    Time

Look at your calendar and just ask about time.  What is different this week? When are your days off? Are there any projects or deadlines due? Are there any days when you will be home at a different time?  When you ask these questions, you build accountability.  Both of you are sharing where you plan to be and what you are supposed to be doing. It is easier to hear about changes, evening meetings or commitments days before they happen.  You should also confirm times set aside for dating. A weekly date night is crucial and needs to be included on your calendar.   Couples like to see their names sharing time on each other’s calendars.

When you ask these questions, you build accountability.

The calendar can be specific enough to include mealtimes or family events. They can identify binge watch nights, big chores or sporting events, etc. It helps identify who you are and what you like.  

2.    Tasks

What are the things that need to get done this week?  There are the normal tasks/ chores that occur week.  But there are also the unique things that cause challenges or potential conflict.  This is the time to discuss these tasks. Someone in the relationship might feel there is an inequity or be overwhelmed by all the tasks that need to be accomplished. Ask for help beforehand. Don’t wait for the real time scenario. Being able to ask for help and receive it is crucial. It creates a sense of teamwork and partnership.

3.    Topics

The final question is the most important and maybe the hardest. The question is simple, “Is there anything we need to talk about?”  Each person know that this is a chance to bring up a bigger topic.  No one is surprised by a hard discussion. This meeting time is the time we have set aside to talk about stuff. Usually there is someone who wants to talk about stuff and then someone who is trying to avoid it. Having a weekly set time to create margin for a conversation is an incredibly important discipline. It means that stuff actually gets talked about, and nothing sits for more than a week.

Use the Three T's this coming weekend to see if it generates better communication.

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