We wanted to check in and see how Week 1 (see the challenge here if you missed it) is going for you and share how it went for us.
We really loved this activity. We do it every year, but we haven’t noticed as big of a difference in our relationship as we did this year. In previous years, Bassam was kind of just doing it to humor me and didn’t really feel like he got a lot out of it. This year was the first year he actually was into it and we saw such a drastic difference! In general, Bassam’s word of the year for 2019 is Transformation, so he was extra motivated for the strategy meeting.
We’ve heard from several people that you feel frustrated because your significant other isn’t as into the challenge as you or not willing to have the planning meeting with you. That’s okay! Bassam and I have both experienced that sometimes it takes a few years for us to get on the same page. It’s not easy at all to blend together two very different individuals into one life, while maintaining both individuals sense of individuality. One of you may be ready for things before the other. It’s important to honor where each of you are at, support each other with where you are at, do what you need to do as an individual so you don’t feel held back, and just continue to revisit strategies over the years. Just because they didn’t work the first time, doesn’t mean they won’t work! All the work you put into a relationship is for the big picture; you won’t always see the results right away. If you’d like us to talk about this in more detail just let us know. We definitely can as it’s something we can really relate to.
Here are a few ways the strategy meeting positively impacted us and the areas in which we struggled.
1. We felt supported in our individual goals
In the past we felt like we were on our own in accomplishing our individual goals. Taking the time to fill out our goal setting worksheets on our own and then discussing each section was really helpful. We were able to give each other feedback and help make each other’s goals better. Also, since we truly understood what each person wanted for the year, we were able to support the other in working towards them. For example, since one of Bassam’s goals was to spend more time with his friends, I was able to help encourage him to do the week after our planning meeting and that helped him feel supported.
2. We worked together as a team
Every year we set goals for our relationship and when barriers occur, we can sometimes argue about them rather than work as a team to overcome them. Talking about the barriers that came up last year and predicting barriers that could come up again helped us have a really productive conversation where we were really able to work together as a team, rather than against each other.
1. Different working styles
You guys may already know that Bassam and I are opposites when it comes to most things. The same is true for our working styles. I prefer to dive deep into things and power through until they are done. Bassam prefers to do break it into small pieces, take breaks between, and spread it out across a couple days. He can get overwhelmed with deep dives, while I can get frustrated if I feel I’m not diving in deep.
In the past, I’ve pushed Bassam to work my way without really taking his preferences into account, thinking that my way must be the right way (obviously I know that’s not true, there’s no “right way”!) In addition, Bassam hasn’t always identified his feeling of overwhelm in the past and would shut down, get frustrated, or be negative. That would all lead to a fight.
We’ve been doing a lot of work on identifying our emotions and naming them to each other, rather than reacting, and it really paid off. Bassam identified that he was overwhelmed, he went outside to take breaks and have alone time after each area, and I worked on patience. I forced myself to take a break as well or work on my section deeper, even if I felt I was already done.
Learning to mesh two different working styles together is so tough and we are still working on it, but it’s so worth it!
2. Different priorities
We had some challenges when it came to scheduling our goals. There were several goals that we either didn’t agree on as a priority or didn’t agree on what time of the year it should happen. Since we are talking about future goals and not in the moment things, it was easier to have an objective conversation about it, rather than getting worked up. We were each able to explain why that was or wasn’t a priority to us and our reasoning for the time of year. There were a few things we agreed to just have as individual goals since it wasn’t important to the other person. For the others, it took some discussion, but we were able to come to a place of mutual agreement without fighting.
I’m not sure if this is the case for others, but these kinds of topics tend to get really personal for us. That may seem silly on the surface, but once we dug deep into some of the fights we had last year, we realized it wasn’t just about the seeming topic at hand, but there was a deeper why. There were feelings of not being supported coming to the surface or lifelong visions and dreams that we each felt were being sacrificed. Being able to nail down our “whys” and talk about them objectively was the game changer for us and we were able to come to more agreements than in the past!
I hope it was helpful for you to hear our experience and I hope your own challenge this week is going well! Don’t forget to send us an email and let us know how it’s going; we’d love to hear from you!