We thought we'd start this week's newsletter with the sage advice of the soulful R&B legend Lionel Richie. During American Idol last season -- yes, we're citing a reality show as a source of intellectual authority -- he told one eager contestant, "Your life begins at the edge of your comfort zone."
We think Lionel is right on. In fact, we think this might also be some of the best advice out there on enhancing your relationship.
So, to steal a line from the man who...
We have some reassuring words for you today.
If you've ever had a knock-down-drag-out fight or even just a heated argument on date night, you are not alone.
We certainly have. In fact, we had our most explosive fight ever during what should have been a wonderful date night sitting outside on the patio at a Mediterranean restaurant.
It's an argument we recount at the beginning of The 80/80 Marriage -- an argument over which one of us would pick up our daughter from daycare.
Imagine your relationship as a boat.
In this boat, you've got you and your partner. You might also have a kid or three. And then you've got parents, in-laws, friends, and extended family hanging off the stern.
Oh, and don't forget about things like careers, financial planning, daily logistics, shopping, Instagram and TikTok time, house repairs, laundry, cleaning, school events, and the thousand or so other things that take up space on this boat of marriage and life.
Now imagine what happens...
Here’s a fun question for your next date night: “Do we feel rich?"
Notice that the question here isn’t, “are we rich?" That’s a much less interesting question, one you can easily answer with a quick Google search.
"Do you feel rich?" is a much better question because it turns out to have almost nothing to do with the dollars in your bank account.
We first learned this in our interviews with couples for The 80/80 Marriage.
One couple we talked to decided...
Over the last 50 or so years, we've witnessed a strange shift in the definition of success. Success used to mean becoming excellent at one thing. You could be a successful writer by authoring great books. You could be a successful cook by creating delicious meals. You could be a successful businessperson by getting regular promotions at work.
Today, however, the scope of success has shifted, from being good at one thing to, well, just about everything. It’s not...
Imagine marriage as a two-player game.
Each morning, you wake up and accumulate points by doing all the things you do: going to work, buying groceries, or helping out your kid with that impossible algebra problem.
The goal? To win the game, together.
But that begs an essential question, a question that most couples never ask: “What's the game that we're trying to win together?"
It's an essential question because, let’s face it, a happy marriage could arise from striving...
Imagine that it’s been one of those days.
You’re tired, cranky. You feel stressed and irritated. And, on top of it all, you feel like you’re the one doing everything -- at work, with the kids, and at home.
Then, your partner casually strolls through the door and says, “I thought you were planning to have dinner ready by 6 PM?"
In an instant, a tidal wave of thoughts and emotions washes over you. You feel the piercing sensations of anger rising through your belly...
In the early days of a relationship, you go on these things called "dates." You don’t live together. You don’t share finances. So dates are the only time you see each other.
Then you get married, add a kid or three to the picture and, all of a sudden, you start to have the opposite experience. You're now together. All. The. Time.
You eat together. You sleep together. You spend hours and hours planning the logistics of life together.
So now you need to bring dates back into...
Last week, we had a conversation with a recently married younger couple. They told us about the challenge of transitioning from those early days of dating, where everything is fun and fresh, to the early days of marriage, where you end up spending way more time on navigating conflict and life logistics.
In that moment, something clicked. We uncovered an insight that was always there but that we had never seen with such clarity.
We call it The Fun-to-Logistics Ratio.
Here’s how it works....
A woman in distress recently sent us a DM on our 80/80 Instagram account. She told us that her husband is withdrawing. He’s less interested in spending time together. He’s contributing less. And their marriage is suffering.
That’s where things get interesting. He’s withdrawing because she has made a commitment to self improvement. She’s reading new books, listening to new podcasts, and building new habits to improve her life.
You would think her partner...