relationship meetings

Jul 13, 2020

Did anyone else have family meetings when they were younger? We did in my house—and the meetings usually focused around things me or my brother needed to work on or improve.

While the idea behind these meetings was great (thanks, Mom and Dad!), I don’t have the fondest memories of these meetings. I guess as a younger child, I was not quite into the whole self-improvement thing yet.

All that to say, when I first listened to a Tim Ferriss Show podcast episode where him and his guest, Ramit Sethi, discussed having sit-down meetings to discuss their relationships, I was skeptical of their value. It didn’t sound ‘sexy’ or ‘romantic’ to have a meeting to discuss my relationship.

I’m so glad I kept listening to learn more.

PS — this is a longer-form podcast episode. Skip to 2 hours 6 minutes to listen to this part of their conversation.

So what’s the scoop?

Relationships meetings (as Nate and I have started calling them) are a chance for you and your partner to have open dialogue about what’s working well/not so well at any given time. 

These meetings are meant to supplement open communication with your partner throughout the days and weeks. Life gets busy, and it’s not always easy to sit down and have an in-depth discussion around how you’re feeling without scheduling the time in advance. 

The format for the relationship meetings is simple. 

Each partner comes to the meeting prepared to discuss the following four topics:

  1. What I’ve been doing well

  2. What you’re doing well

  3. What I have ‘dropped the ball’ on/can focus on more

  4. What I would love/like to see more of from you


In order to see what patterns or trends emerge from the relationship meetings, Tim recommends documenting notes from each meeting so you can look back on them. 

For instance, if you are noticing similar issues arise many months in a row—that would give you a sign that perhaps it’s time to try a different approach to fix them. 

On the flip side, taking notes also helps track positive behaviors or improvements from you or your partner. These notes can help serve as a reminder to praise your partner for all the amazing things they’re continuing to do for the benefit of the relationship. 

My experience with relationship meetings

Me and Nate have had 5 relationship meetings in the last year, and they’ve all been very helpful. I enjoy the structure of the meetings for a couple reasons:

  • Starting the meeting off by giving and receiving praise sets a positive tone before moving on to sharing feedback for one another

  • Sharing answers to ‘where I have dropped the ball’ gives each person a chance to acknowledge their own shortcomings and take accountability for places where they haven’t been showing up in the way they want

Below is an example of our recent relationship meeting notes between myself (SY) and my boyfriend Nate (NS)

Note: our meetings are usually more in-depth than these notes reflect—we keep the notes short and sweet.

One interesting thing about our meetings is that Nate and I will often pick up on similar patterns within the relationship. For example, if I say I am doing something well, Nate will put that down for “things you’re doing well” and vice versa. Also, many times if I have something I’d like to work on, he usually ends up putting that in for “what I would like to see more of from you,” which means we are on the same page about what is missing or we are happy about. 

What I’ve learned from doing relationship meetings:

  • At first, I thought they sounded silly and formal, but now I can’t recommend them enough. The meetings are so worth it and can be a great opportunity to grow as a couple.

  • The meetings will be much more rewarding if you and your partner come ready to listen. The meeting is a place to come with your guard down and be honest and open—without judgment and criticism. 

  • Decide on a cadence that works best for you and your partner, then put the next meeting on the calendar. This will ensure you have the time blocked off and don’t forget to have the next meeting. These work best if you are consistent.

  • Don’t have one meeting and move on—circle back to the notes and take action on things that were discussed.

  • Continue to communicate outside of the meetings. These meetings should not replace day-to-day communication, but serve as an additional chance to connect.


Looking back on my own family meetings growing up, I think we could have benefitted from using a structure similar to what I just discussed.

Had we used that, I think we would have left the meetings feeling a sense of connection and accountability as a family, just like I feel at the close of relationship meetings with Nate.

I hope this idea is helpful and inspires you to set up a meeting with your partner. If you and your partner end up doing a relationship meeting, I’d love to hear how it went in the comments below!