Annual marriage review

At work, employees are reviewed annually (if not more frequently) to discuss performance, areas of opportunity, and if a raise has been earned.

What if this same approach was taken at home?

Perhaps I should narrow the focus even more, because I’m only talking about reviewing a marriage. Children are “reviewed” very frequently already since the assumption is for required growth and discipline; rather than equal, mature partners.

Fine print:
This blog is assuming you respect your spouse as much as you do your boss, and are aware that marriage requires work. Hopefully those are 2 easy boxes to check, otherwise you really should not have gotten married.
This blog also acknowledges I am not a relationship expert; just your average married person with a keyboard, access to the internet, and (occasionally) an audience.

How would this work?

Marriage reviews are touchy because the hierarchy is muddled, as is the raise structure; not to mention the sensitivity surrounding how roles and tasks are weighted in order of difficulty and importance.

We’ve acknowledged that this won’t be easy, but, think of why it is important to connect and check-in with your spouse.

  • A certain employer probably isn’t a forever relationship, but marriage is.
  • If there is room for improvement, wouldn’t you rather know? Furthermore, wouldn’t you rather find out when you are emotionally prepared to engage rather than hearing the dreaded, “We need to talk.”?
  • Don’t you have things you would like to address at an appropriate time, without spilling every grievance during a heated argument?

What about a raise structure?

  • No one wants to hear criticism “just for fun”, but everyone loves an incentive, so make hearing each other out a rewarded behavior.
  • Rewards are ideally based on each other’s love language(s), and they all start on the table. If someone dishes it, but can’t take it, something comes off the table.
  • Schedule the review for a time when you can address thoughts distraction free, and, ideally, sober.

Put your big kid pants on for this. If you can sit through a review by a boss who you are not in love with, you can certainly open your ears, mind and heart to your spouse. It will sting more to hear criticism from a loved one, but work and tough love comes with marriage-territory.

If you can’t manage this on your own, enlist the help of a counselor of some sort. You do preventative maintenance on your car, and it didn’t make any vows to you about sickness and health, etcetera; so be open to doing the maintenance on your marriage.


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