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Why are you sometimes thrilled to follow your partner’s lead and sometimes you run in the other direction? Or worse: push your partner away when they make a suggestion?

You feel alienated when your partner has an agenda for your relationship. You feel valued when you are invited

In this episode, we’re going to talk about the powerful difference between an invitation and an agenda.

  • We’ll look at the difference between an invitation which feels like a hand extended and an agenda which feels like a big, fat shove
  • You’ll learn how an agenda hurts both partners in a relationship
  •  And I’ll give you a habit that helps you connect to the dream you have for your relationship so you can extend your invitation rather than shoving your agenda at your sweetheart



An invitation makes you feel loved. An agenda makes you feel like a chore.

When you were dating, everything was an invitation. “Want to go to the grocery store with me?” Oh Yes! You cheered, because “Want to go to the grocery store with me?” sounded like, “Will you please spend more time with me? I love being around you.”

And then you moved in together and started sharing a front door and a toilet. The grocery store stopped being a date and started being a chore.

The question changed to “Who’s gonna go to the grocery store?” And it didn’t feel like an invitation to spend time together anymore. Instead, it felt like an agenda with just one more way you aren’t measuring up in the partner department.

If you have the privilege to share your life with someone else, you’ve dealt with the agenda vs invitation conundrum. We all have.

But how do you return to the magic that made a trip to the grocery store feel like a date? That made you feel loved and special instead of like a chore?

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When an invitation becomes an agenda

Have you noticed how a moment that once felt like an invitation has morphed into an agenda?

An agenda that feels like a shove.

We can’t stand this feeling, so we acquiesce. You cave and do your part in the agenda that no longer fits. Resentment builds because you’re doing something you don’t want to do.

Or maybe instead of acquiescing, you refuse. And this silent rejection causes a wall of alienation to build between you and your partner.

An agenda hurts both partners. Removing one word from your vocabulary will help get rid of agendas.


“Should” signals an agenda

When you have an agenda, you most often use the word “Should.”

“You should put your dish straight into the dishwasher.” “You should be more affectionate to me.”

When you feel the word should bubbling up in the back of your throat, stop. Look at the whole situation. 

After you’ve stopped, ask yourself this question, “How can I turn that YOU!! Into a WE?”

When you treat your partner like the YOU that SHOULD CHANGE, you’re disrespecting them. You have an agenda for their life. This isn’t love.

Love is kind and patient. Love believes in your sweetheart and is filled with hope.

Try this: 

This week’s habit for your happily ever after is to identify agenda-energy in your relationship and shift that to an invitation.

In order to shift an agenda to an invitation, go deeper into what you want. Agendas tend to be about what’s on the surface. An invitation is typically based on a heart-connection.

Beneath the surface of that “should-agenda” find your dream: I want a relationship where we consider each other. A relationship where we both participate in the tiny details of running a life. I want the connection that brings.

Then picture that invitation and what it looks like specifically. Dream about that life.

Practice this dream. Instead of noticing how your sweetheart gets it wrong, or all the things your partner should do, allow yourself to dream.

Talk about this dream of a shared life with your sweetheart, mentioning the specifics. 

The key to an invitation is a dream

Agenda = I know the best way for us to have a lovely life together. Follow me and I’ll love you forever.

Invitation = I have a dream for our life together. Would you like to live in my dream of what it means to grow old together?

An invitation says, “I have a dream.” I have a dream of how great our life could be. Would you like to live in my dreamland? Please come with me. I’d love it so much if you’d come with me.

Date Night Discussion

This week tell your partner about a time they’ve helped you. Or comforted you. Or offered you courage.

Think about what your partner offers to you. And how you’ve accepted their invitation.

Then talk about how you’ve changed as a result of your partner’s invitation.

Tell me about the difference between an invitation and an agenda in your life. Text me at 970-210-4480 and let me know what happens when you let yourself truly dream about the life behind your agendas.

Want to stop arguing and start connecting with your spouse? This FREE e-course will offer you habits to improve your marriage communication so you can smile more and fight less. Sign up to improve marriage communication.

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