The idea is simple.
Dedicate one weekend with your partner around the same time each year to celebrate last year’s successes and plan out this year’s hopes and goals. Dream big, plan passionately and use the time to discuss issues in a non-confrontational way. Take breaks, have some fun, and live dangerously by writing it all down. Use a template to guide you through the different issues and plot ways to overcome obstacles. If you're successful, you'll look forward to spending time talking about your ideas, addressing your concerns and communicating effectively as individuals and as a couple during your annual outing.
Celebrate, dream, plan, repeat every year and keep the state of your union strong.
It’s a DIY method for navigating towards your dreams and keeping your relationship healthy. The goal isn’t perfection, just course corrections.
We've been doing it every year since 2011. It's made our vague ideas - big and small - a reality. When we started sharing the concept with friends, it sparked such great conversations that we decided to see who else might be interested. This idea won't work for every couple, but perhaps it works for you.
What's the idea?
This video sums it up in under 3 minutes. Or you can keep reading on the website to learn more.
Why Do It?
While there are stacks of bridal magazines and websites that show you how to have a “dream wedding,” there don’t seem to be many that mention how to have a “dream marriage.” No relationship will be perfect all the time, but we often only focus on ours when issues come up. It's just as important to reflect on a relationship when things are going well because it can be a source of strength and energy for accomplishing goals and establishing themes in our lives. The goal of the annual State of Our Union conversation is to celebrate what's going well, create a safe space to talk about details that have an impact on your lives together, and visualize next steps.
This 2 minute video explains in more detail the DIY annual weekend getaway.
Set a date, find a location, create an agenda, celebrate and then plan.
Ideally, give yourselves two full days somewhere pleasant with a good WiFi connection and interesting (but not too interesting) diversions. Discuss what categories you want to cover (topics like finance, family, careers, communication, sex, health, hopes, etc.) or print out one of our example templates.
If you're just starting with this idea, biting off a smaller chunk is understandable.
Smaller bites range from just one night away, to talking about it during a 4 hour drive to Disney World with the kids asleep in the back seats. Trying to have a heart-to-heart discussion during rush hour traffic isn't going to lead to the best results, so be thoughtful about the time and location you pick.
Each year you'll get better at planning, so don't expect the first year to go exactly as planned. Much like your relationship, it's an evolving process.
Documenting what you discuss is key. You'll want the document to remember what you decided on for this year, and review it the same time next year to see how you did.
Next: Plan Your Weekend
Extra Credit: Try to answer 8 multiple-choice questions that takes 2 minutes. It will help make this website better.
The fairy tales end with two people falling in love and walking off to begin their new lives together.
This narrative arc is repeated in modern-day rom-coms and most other literature for public consumption. Despite the obstacles, adventures, tragic events or humourous mix-ups we’ve followed along their path to that first kiss, the curtain seems to drop just afterward, leaving us to assume all went well until they died many years later. This is extremely unhelpful.