Although many of you may feel like you’re taking an involuntary bath this week because of the wild gyrations in the public markets, we’re going to encourage you to take a real bath in your bathtub as a special treat.
It can be difficult to change gears from the stimulating environment of the office to be fully present with your beloved in the evening, especially if your commute home is just a continuation of your day, with email and texting (not while driving, please!) and crossing items off your To Do list until the very moment of arrival.
A bath when you first get home, ideally with candles, soothing music, and bath salts like lavender or geranium, provides a wonderfully intimate and physically relaxing time to either talk or not talk and let the cares of your day fall away. Your evening will be more calm, and you might even be inspired to enjoy some adult activity before being exhausted at bedtime.
This weekends’s idea for free fun is:
Go outside and look up into the night sky.
Step AWAY from the computer. Put your phone down. Stop typing. Take off the headphones. Stop watching television. And even though Apple makes that awesome star mapping app, the point of this exercise is to be enveloped in silence and wonderment, ideally while holding hands with your beloved.
Then you can come back inside and watch the Hubble Ultra Deep Field movie while still filled with wonderment.
This week’s Try This is deceptively simple: Listen.
Along with Four Minutes in the Morning, developing a habit of really listening to your beloved on a daily basis has many longterm benefits, especially building trust and intimacy. You’ll need to figure out for yourself what “really” listening means in your relationship, but at a minimum it involves direct eye contact and not multi-tasking. We’ve haven’t always been great at this simple thing in our relationship, which has resulted in some annoyance (mostly on my part) and some humorous entertainment.
While I generally think that humans are more alike than we are different from each other, and that men and women are spread across a spectrum of gendered behaviors, I do think there are some communication styles that tend to be clustered in men or women. In general, women want connection and to feel heard, while men want to solve problems and have agency in the world. This may not be the case in your particular relationship, but it’s worth articulating for yourselves.
The entrepreneurial partner will benefit just as much, if not more, when his or her turn comes to be listened to. Your beloved can be (ideally should be) the most trusted person in your life. When it’s time to talk through pivotal business decisions, or vent about an annoying employee / partner / investor / customer, or just tell someone what you’re really thinking or feeling (scared, tired, elated), you’ll have a strong habit of communicating and knowing that there’s a person in your life who will always listen to you.
I know the expression “talk is cheap” is meant to be derogatory, but the truly nice thing about talk is that it’s not just cheap – it’s free (it’s even called free speech sometimes) and it’s an excellent way of creating connection and intimacy with your beloved. We will discuss other, more adult rated ways of creating connection and intimacy in future posts, once we get to know each other a little better.
Each Friday we’re going to suggest some free fun things to do for your weekend together. This week’s free idea is List Making.
I love lists. If I were a character in The Matrix, I would be the List Maker (although the Keymaker would be a close second choice). While making lists may not sound like a fun idea for your weekend, it’s actually an excellent catalyst for exploratory conversations in which you get to think about the future, think about things to do together, and have fun talking to each other. And even if you don’t love lists, you can engage your beloved in a conversation about whether he or she loves lists!
One of the wonders of a lifelong relationship is realizing that it takes an entire lifetime to really know someone while at the same time you know your beloved better than you know anyone – sometimes even better than you know yourself. It’s one of the paradoxes of love.
So the lists I’m thinking of aren’t the grocery list or your task list or lists that make you feel even more burdened by responsibility – these are lists of things you might agree or disagree about, or already have some history of checking off, or you can make your own lists.
Here is a list of books of lists (a meta-list!) to give you ideas for your own lists:
and for the less outdoorsy to see before you die:
Books often cost money, but they still have these relic artifact things called Libraries where you can borrow books for free.
And executing on your lists will likely cost money, but looking forward to being able to execute is actually part of the fun.
So enjoy your list making conversations, and share some of your lists here!
It’s Monday morning, and time for our weekly post on tactics to try for a happy marriage.
This is the also the place where we invite you to share your success stories and tactics for what has worked for you in finding time for connection with your beloved while creating an entrepreneurial venture. Please leave a comment if you have a tactic or story you’d like us to share.
This week’s Try This is to spend four minutes together each morning before the rest of the day gets crazy.
Everyone can do this. Set aside four minutes to sit on the couch with your cup of coffee and share a few thoughts about your day with each other. Make eye contact. Maybe hug long enough to release some oxytocin. Tell your beloved that you love him or her.
It’s a simple, manageable, no-cost way to set a tone for the rest of the day.
You have already had together time no matter what other whirlwinds of chaos come your way.
Brad gets up at 5:00 most mornings, and I sleep in another leisurely hour or so until the dogs wake me up, so if we don’t make an effort to have even just a few minutes together our days are already on divergent paths literally before I get out of bed.
When we first started this back in Boston more than fifteen years ago, we would turn over a 3 minute egg timer so we could tell how long it had been. Now we have a good feel for how long it takes to settle down and focus on each other and forget the clamoring email – just about the length of a pop song or the amount of time you’re supposed to brush your teeth for.
We don’t need to have four minutes every day, but there are still definitely mornings where we stop what we’re doing for a calm moment together.
Try this, and let us know how it goes -
Remember when the Mars Climate Orbiter disintegrated in the Mars atmosphere because some part of the trajectory was calculated using English units instead of metric units? We think this is the perfect analogy for what can happen in a relationship. It takes a lot of arithmetic to make a successful flight, and being involved in an entrepreneurial endeavor can cause an enormous amount of external atmospheric pressure on a marriage. Human errors and failures of communication can be fatal.
We’re hoping to create a community for people to share their own successes as well as tales of crashing and burning.
We want to say at the outset that by marriage we mean any committed relationship, and that we fully support the right of our LGBT friends to have the same legal benefits afforded by the marriage contract as we do, even though we’re not certain why the government confers any benefits at all.
We cared so little about the legal part of marriage that we didn’t actually get a marriage license until three years after we eloped to Alaska. We didn’t claim any tax deductions, insurance benefits, or even free spousal rental car privileges during that time, but it didn’t change the essential nature of our connection to have a piece of paper from the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. We will discuss all of the nuances around the definition of marriage as we go along.
There are a lot of big juicy topics that we’re planning to cover, such as:
- Work and Love (Hat tip to Dr. Freud)
- Core Values, or What Compatibility Really Means
- Identity and Intimacy
- You Can Have It All, Just Not All at the Same Time; or “It’s easy for you because you don’t have children.”
- Priorities – Actions Speak Louder Than Words
- Talk About It, But Not Too Much
- Cardinal Virtues (Patience, assuming good intent, benefit of the doubt)
- Introvert / Extrovert
- Early Bird / Night Owl
- You Knew What You Were Getting Into; or How to Renegotiate Initial Expectations
- Nice Guys Finish First / Try a Little Tenderness
- How Public Do You Want to Be?
- Health and Fitness: Moderate vs. Maniac
- Cheerleader / Critic
- Work / Play
- Success / Failure
- Tales from the Edge: Near Misses
- Calling It Quits