I know some people like to create elaborate systems to set and track goals (think, bullet journal—stresses me out just thinking about keeping up with 6 different colored pens). But if you want a QUICK way to get some momentum going in your marriage, this is for you.

I came across this great tool here–thank you to Rodger Dean Duncan for sharing. What I love about this approach, just 3 simple questions, is:

  • It can be done on the fly
  • Doesn’t require lots of preparation, or follow up
  • Can be used in any relationship—marriage, work, parenting, friends
  • Easy to remember
  • Use any time of year, not just around the New Year

The approach asks 3 questions, which can be asked of yourself to set some goals, or your partner, to create goals within the relationship. For the purpose of this post, I’ll keep in the context of marriage.

What can we START doing?

Healthy relationships stay fresh by exploring new things together—activities, places, books, experiences. Is there something you would both like to begin or learn? Brainstorm some ideas (that means don’t shoot down any ideas until all are on the table), then find ONE that you both agree on.

To ensure follow through, talk about what it will take to make it happen. Want to try dance lessons? Who will explore the options, what night would work, how much can we budget?

What can we STOP doing?

Tired of arguing over the same stupid thing? Commit to finding a way to learn how to have a productive argument. Again, be sure to identify next steps. 

Or maybe you’re tired of more month than money, so you agree you need to adopt a strategy for budgeting. What approach will you use? Set a deadline and get started.

What can we CONTINUE doing?

Chances are, there are many great things to celebrate in your relationship. Acknowledge the impact of something GOOD you’re already doing. Validation increases the likelihood of continuing positive behaviors/habits. Taking something for granted is similar to ignoring, which can cause extinction of a behavior. You don’t want that. 

Another approach could be to ask each other the same 3 questions, but with individual responses. For instance, what could I start doing that would help improve our relationship? By asking all 3 questions of each other, it doesn’t become a complaining session, because you include the last as a way of acknowledging/appreciating your partner.

Let us know how it goes by posting in the comments section.  

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