Having too much to do is a common cause of stress. Organization drives relationships in a positive direction. The benefits of using these organizing principles are very real, as more time with your significant other allows the relationship to grow. Spending a little time developing a system that makes sense for both of you will save you all sorts of stress down the road, and leave more time for the two of you to spend doing the things you want to do.
A couple with less stress is going to be a whole lot happier. Prioritizing the “business” of your relationship is why some couples happily go the distance, and so many others throw in the relationship towel along the way. The truth is that relationship happiness does not occur by accident. It is important for couples be ready and willing to work to maintain and grow their relationships, happy couples work wisely at building their love. They realize that a relationship left on autopilot will tend to veer off course to crash and burn.
- WEEKLY “TEAM” MEETING
Having a meeting each week keeps the lines of communication open. Communication is not only the key to success, but effective communication about the things that matter most, the things that keep engines running and fires burning that make the difference. If you regard your relationship as a “team”, then you will work as one. Sit down at a table and run this more or less like a business meeting. The fact is that every relationship has some “business” to it — tasks that need to be taken care of, upcoming projects you need to prepare for, financial concerns and so on. Houses, cars, gardens, virtually everything, especially relationships, need work to maintain them. Spending a little time each week focusing on what needs to happen to keep your home running smoothly means that these conversations will happen when they’re supposed to, and don’t “sneak” up on you at the wrong time.
- USE A JOINT CALENDAR
Having a calendar is vital for staying organized with commitments. Sharing these appointments with your partner helps prevent conflicts of scheduling, and it will keep you both reminded of things you are doing together. Be sure to keep it in a place where both of you can easily refer to it, and update it as often as necessary. Daily calendars are fine, but it may be beneficial to use a calendar that displays the full month so that upcoming events are visible well in advance. One partner may be good at reminders, and the other at updating, having the calendar available to both of you can make for teamwork that is more effective and open.
- TRACK YOUR FINANCES
Establishing a budget and reconciling your checkbook regularly are great ways to keep track of your finances. Today’s technology has made it even easier with automated solutions like Mint.com, QuickBooks and Quicken. Money fights are some of the most common in relationships, so devise a budget plan to make sure that all financial responsibilities are covered. Having an open discussion about finances before you are over budget or underfunded for the month will make things better for both of you. It can also highlight strengths and weaknesses that can be accounted for, and resolved, before it gets too out of hand.
- STREAMLINE YOUR JOINT FINANCIAL SYSTEM
There are many ways to handle money in a relationship. However, if you agree to jointly handle money; make the system as streamlined as possible. Open a joint account that you both pay into, so you can pay bills and move money back and forth if one of you needs to pay the other for something. Each of you may keep your personal accounts, but this type of central “pool” makes bill sharing easy. You may set a deadline for the money transfer so that each is aware in enough time if the other is going to be short for the month. Whatever your system, make moving money an easy thing — the goal is to relieve the stress about your finances. Again, the focus is on a smoother transfer and healthy maintenance of household or monthly financial obligations. Open discussions about expectations will alleviate stress and create a happier financial medium for both of you in your relationship.
- USE A JOINT SHOPPING LIST
Nothing is worse than getting home from the store and realizing that you forgot something — except, maybe having to run back to the store just to get that one thing. It is a waste of time and energy, and the odds of it happening doubles when you become a couple. Now there are two working lists of needs and wants. Keep a shopping list somewhere you can both see and add to it, and make a final check for anything that is not on the list before you go shopping. I advise keeping it in the kitchen, that way when you run out of or need to replace an item, you can just add it to the list accordingly.
- SAVE FOR GOALS AS A COUPLE
Having savings is important, and so is having goals. A savings goal is the best of both, and a great way to get organized as a couple. Planning a trip or a home improvement project? Figure out how much you need to save each month, and each contribute a certain determined amount to a joint account. Even if you don’t have combined finances, joint savings accounts can be set up easily or you can do it the old fashioned way and just put it in a shoebox. Either way, the goal money is tucked away in a separate place where it won’t be spent. It is also another way to bond in your relationship. If you are talking about savings goals, you are talking about the future, and what that looks like for the two of you. That is always a good thing.
- DIVIDE UP THE HOUSEHOLD CHORES
Most people do not enjoy housework, but we all agree that it simply must be done. Splitting the load makes it more bearable rather than to leave it to “whoever” to gets to it. Chances are it will never get done. Decide who is responsible for what, and divide the work in a way that gets you both involved in keeping the house clean and running smoothly. If you don’t mind cooking, but hate the cleanup, you should both agree that one of you cooking means the other cleans up afterwards. It’s a simple fix that eliminates “messy house” resentment. It not only shows teamwork, but promotes couple harmony. It is also another exercise in compromise. Don’t be so stuck on how it gets done, but focus on the task getting done. Don’t get hung up in the details of how and why, just get it done.
- HAVE A MAIL SYSTEM
Have a system for who gets the mail each day – maybe something like “first one home gets the mail” since it works no matter how much your schedules change. Once the mail is in the house, have a designated place for it to go so both of you always know where to find it. Having a spot for mail to come into the house, and for mail that needs to go out, will keep you organized and avoid the stress of looking for a lost bill or important document. It will also help to eliminate the mail pile because sorting helps to put everything in its pace and prompt immediate action, rather than leaving mail in a pile where important deadlines can be missed.
Photo Credits: People Magazine-The Obama’s
Feature Photo credit: http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2012/09/remaining-celibate-for-young-singles.html