There is one thing I value over anything else in relationships: communication. Whether you’re texting to let me know you’re running a little behind or you’re telling me over a drink or two how you really feel, I firmly believe that communicating in big and small ways, in any relationship, makes us better partners and friends. It keeps us on the same page, and it allows us to understand each other better and adjust our expectations of one another accordingly. I like to know what’s what—it’s as simple as that.
So imagine my annoyance when I communicate something simple to my husband like the plans we have on Saturday afternoon and he forgets and books a tee time that will inevitably make us late, or (because I’m not perfect either) when he tells me he has a doctors appointment on his day off and I forget and accidentally double-book a contractor to come over to look at our house at the same time. While these are simple mistakes and it’s normal for things to slip your mind every now and then, it can be frustrating as hell—especially when it keeps happening.
After one too many “Were you not listening to me when I told you about this?!” conversations, I decided to do something about it, and what did I do you ask? I got us a calendar. I know it sounds mega boring and simple, but trust, it has completely changed the game for us. Ahead, I am breaking down exactly how we use it in our daily lives, how it’s helped our relationship, and how you can incorporate it into your life starting today.
The top 3 benefits of having a shared calendar with your partner
1. Avoid scheduling conflicts
Never argue again about what takes priority when you accidentally book too many things on the same day with your partner. When plans are clearly added to your shared calendar, you know exactly what you, your partner, or both of you are doing on a certain day and time. This allows you to communicate if things can get switched around, plan something for a separate time that day, or work around it ahead of time to avoid friction.
2. Know when your partner is having a busy week
One of the best things about having a shared calendar is that we always know when one (or both of us) are going to have a busy week. We can expect that there will be a lot of running around, overwhelm, and even straight-up exhaustion happening in our household which allows us to support each other better throughout the week. This could look like cooking dinner solo so the other person can rest or even taking on their normal to-dos like taking out the trash or doing more of the laundry so they don’t have to worry about when they will get to it.
3. Increase your organization and reduce your stress
I don’t think there is anything worse than looking at your schedule for the week on a Sunday night and not realizing how busy a week is ahead of you. Having little or no time to prepare for what your responsibilities are can be extremely stressful, which is why having a calendar that you reference often whether you’re looking at your week at a glance or your month can significantly reduce the stress you feel on a daily basis. Your relationship will benefit from both of you feeling organized, prepared, and ready to take on what you committed to rather than feeling blindsided by what’s ahead especially when it comes to things like social obligations or family get-togethers that are easy to forget if not written down.
3 ways to incorporate a shared calendar with your partner
1. Share a Google or Outlook calendar
If you couldn’t go a day without your email calendar that holds all of your meetings, appointments, and deadlines, create an additional calendar that you can integrate with your existing one to use with your partner. This allows you both to see all of your responsibilities from work meetings to dinner reservations at a glance, and you can individually organize it and color-code it to your heart’s content. Plus, you can set up notifications and reminders to ensure you never skip a beat. One of our editors uses this method with her partner, planning everything down to daily dinners, and she swears by it!
2. Download an app
If you really want to take your shared calendar to the next level, download an app that is designed specifically for it. Apps like Cupla, Between, and more pride themselves on their ability to keep all of your obligations organized and on track while offering features that can help strengthen your relationship like built-in date planners, countdown timers, chat features, and even the ability to share photos from your events with each other.
3. Get a physical wall calendar
In our home, we have an aesthetic physical calendar in our kitchen, which is a great option if you’re willing to spend a little bit of money as opposed to the two previous options that are free. At the beginning of every month, I fill in pre-existing obligations and standing appointments I know we have, and from there, we each fill in things like doctor’s appointments, social plans, and more as they come up. I’m a fan of this method for numerous reasons, but the biggest one is that because it is in our kitchen and we both see it every single day, we are constantly referencing it and talking about upcoming events together while we are enjoying our coffee in the morning or making dinner at night. It serves as a landing spot for us to collaborate and communicate on a daily basis, and it’s so easy to jot on quickly as things come up so they never get missed.
5 tips for using a shared calendar with your partner
1. Write down commitments right away
Even if you claim to have the best memory, write down anything that you commit to as soon as you can. Not only will this ensure that you don’t actually forget to add it, but it will give your partner a heads up and help them to not schedule something else unknowingly.
2. Check the calendar before you ask if anything is happening
Have you ever heard the rule “ask three before me?” That’s what I think of when my husband asks me what’s happening on a Saturday coming up before he checks the calendar. Save each other the headache and check the calendar before asking what’s going on so you don’t have to have the same conversations over and over again.
3. Communicate with your partner if something overlaps
Life happens and things will overlap no matter how hard you try sometimes, and that’s OK. When you know that you have conflicting obligations, talk to your partner about how you will handle them. This gives you the opportunity to decide together if you need to divide and conquer or if something can be rescheduled.
4. Don’t overbook your week or month
Just because you have open days does not mean you should fill them all. Give yourself some breathing room and make space for spontaneity! A random Sunday is completely free? Have a “do nothing” day together or let the day unfold as it comes. Sometimes those empty days end up being the best ones.
5. Schedule date night!
Especially when you have a busy month ahead, putting a date night on the calendar can ensure that it actually happens! Schedule one for a few days or weeks in advance and stick to it just like you would any other plan on your shared calendar.