Character

1 easy way to create momentum in your marriage.

(This is a guest post from my wife Jenny. Follow her on Twitter for more awesomeness!)

This is going to surprise you, but Jon and I don’t have the same exact interests. Shocking, right? Case in point, exercise. He likes to go to the gym and I like to power walk with friends. In the past, that might have been a division moment for us. He’s headed in one direction and I’m headed in another.

What we’ve learned though is that even as we work on different things, there is a simple way to create momentum in our marriage. I call it “the art of starting together.”

Let’s continue with the exercise example. My favorite time to walk with my friend Emily is early in the morning before the rest of the world wakes up. I get out of bed at 5:45AM and head out the door. Jon used to sleep while I did this, but then we discovered that if we start together even as we do different things, there is some momentum. Now, when I get up, Jon gets up too. He doesn’t walk with me, someone needs to be home for the kids, but he uses the time to write. This simple trick of using my exercise schedule as motivation gives him hours of uninterrupted writing time. More than that, it put us on the same schedule. If I get up early and need a quick nap on a Sunday afternoon, Jon will need one too since he got up early with me. If I get up early and want to go to bed early that night Jon will too if we’re on the same page. Momentum in a marriage doesn’t happen by accident. It takes big decisions and tiny actions too.

Is it a huge thing in our marriage? Maybe not, but starting together gives our day a much greater chance of actually ending together.

And that matters to me as the spouse of a dreamer.

 

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Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff

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52 Comments

  1. Love it. My wife and I do things in parallel too although, I really never realized that we did until reading this. Kind of just happened over time… by the way, we have an AMAZING marriage so perhaps there is indeed something to alignment… : )

  2. What is the back story of starting parallel? What were the discussions like to get this going?

  3. Great thought! Can not wait for your book!

  4. Jenny it is so good to hear from you! What a great idea! I’m going to try it!

  5. LadyTam Reply

    Not sure I’d be able to make myself get up at 5:30 in the morning. But I blame the meds. lol

  6. Brandon Antoskow Reply

    I’m reading this as I’m starting my workshift at the hospital this morning, and it’s exactly what I needed to read. What an excellent idea! A simple, yet clearly effective way to build a healthy foundation for the day. This will be something I share with my fiance when I get home this evening, as we are in the process of seeking new ways to improve our relationship and adapt to both of our hectic schedules, Thanks for sharing Jenny, really looking forward to reading your book!

  7. As an about to be wed couple I know my fiancee and I have struggled quite a bit with where to part and how much time is okay to spend together. It takes quite awhile to learn to get the schedule thing right, especially for two people with untraditional jobs. It’s quite easy when you both work 40 hours per week, but when you don’t it makes things tricky.

  8. My husband and I have found “starting parallel” to be helpful, too. We both get up at about the same time every morning. While he showers, dresses, and has breakfast, I wake up our second-grader, put her breakfast on the table, and make lunches for both of them. This enables my husband to drive our daughter to school every morning – very important time for them, since he often doesn’t get home until after she’s already in bed. Once they’re out the door, I get ready for “my” day (I’m a work-from-home writer). And we’ve made the same discovery the Acuffs have: when we get up at the same time in the morning, we’re more likely to go to bed at the same time at night. It’s a bit hard for my husband, who’s a night owl, but he considers it a worthwhile tradeoff for the quality time he gains with me and our daughter.

  9. Laura Calbert Reply

    That’s my girl! One smart cookie.

  10. ashley Reply

    Jenny you are so smart!

  11. Mireya Reply

    It’s true! My husband and I have only been married for a year, but we have started starting our days together. He stays up late and sleeps in later than I do. For work he gets up earlier than I have to, which usually wakes me up too, so we can at least see each other and speak words to each other. On the weekends, though, while he sleeps in, I use the time to get online and rest before we launch into our weekend.

  12. Leslie Reply

    Great idea
    My challenge is building better relation with my husband who works night shift so we are opposite on everything :(

  13. I got nervous there for a minute that we had to parallel park. Whew! Actually, I like the idea of working parallel. Doesn’t happen at our house in the morning as I refuse to get up at 3:30 am and trust me, my husband doesn’t want me, too! The wicked witch of the West would have nothing on me, but we do try to always try to have supper together and go to bed together. I think it keeps us on the same playing field. Successful marriages need more press. :)

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  16. This is great. I have noticed that when my wife and I wake up at the same time and have breakfast/get ready for the day, there is a palatable synergy. We haven’t done that intentionally and it only happens a couple times a week (she likes to sleep whenever she can). I’ll show her this post and see what she thinks.

    Thanks for sharing what marriage success can look like.

    Keep up all the amazing work you Acuffs do!

  17. One of the reasons my ex is my ex is that I was a night owl, he a morning person (5AM).

    He would poke me.

    I would wake up angry and mad at him and out-of-sorts all day.

    With my husband now, we are similar creatures. Waking and sleeping about the same time.

    Although, adter church “treats” he naps and I read, write or watch Project Runway…

    Nick is right-no pokey things in the bedroom. Wise.

  18. Jason Korn Reply

    Great post Jenny, I appreciate you for sharing. My wife and I have almost the exact same situation. I’ve never thought of it before until your post but, getting up & going to bed together has definitely had a positive influence on our marriage.

    Thanks again for sharing. Oh and… Good morning to you both. :)

  19. I can relate – I love to start the day with my husband! Although I work in a job in the afternoon, I get up at the same time as him (6:15) and use the time in the morning writing, doing marketing, blogging, organizing etc. When I think about it, I guess it gives us a feeling of “together” :-)