Better Together: Hard Things, Appreciation, and Discomfort.

written by Nathan & Kelli

Welcome to Better Together. The only newsletter focused on showing you how amazing your marriage can be, and not afraid to tell you what it really takes to get there. Each week we give you a brief glimpse into our lives and three potentially life-changing ideas to help you become a better partner. We hope that you will find this newsletter inspirational and practical.

We believe that “close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives.” [1] We believe that by strengthening marriages, and families, we can improve the world at large.

We hope you will help us share this vision. Please consider sharing this newsletter with others via: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, or email.

1. the Grant Study, a 75-year-long Harvard research project on human development

From Our Lives

Nathan and I try to challenge ourselves to be better. To do hard things. To grow.

This week we challenged ourselves to a 14 mile hike. 7 miles and about 3000 ft of elevation gain one way, and then back down. It was tough. But you don’t improve without pushing yourself.

It is amazing to hike in the mountains. The amazing views. The fresh air. The flowers and animals.

Our goal is to be able to go on multi-day, 100 mile hikes. In order to get there we are training with smaller hikes. Building our muscles. Building our stamina. Learning what types of food and hiking gear work for us. Learning how to process our emotions and feelings as we push our bodies forward.

The purpose of life isn’t to find comfort and tranquility. Instead we need to keep learning and growing. So when things are getting a little too easy, it is time to set some new goals and challenges. Work to keep improving. Don’t be afraid of doing hard things.

Climbing mountains is hard, but we want to see the view from the top. We want to learn to work together. Hiking gives us lots of time to talk and ponder, hopefully helping us in the other parts of our lives as well.

Marriage is also difficult. As you work to become a team, you will become stronger. As you learn to trust each other, you will both make better decisions. As you create true intimacy, the joy in your marriage will increase.

What We Have Been Reading

“Being curious about ourselves is how we begin to know — really know — who we are. That can be scary. But also, possibly, exciting and freeing. The hardest part? Slowing down enough to actually feel. Do you have the courage to slow down?”

Peter Bregman


“It’s so fun to watch y’all do hard things. But the actual goal is just the first part. There’s all these strategic byproducts that come from doing hard things.

My discipline will be increased. My ability to feel my emotions will be increased. My momentum towards success will be increased. My ability to trust myself and to have integrity with myself and to honor my word will be increased, not just the one accomplished goal and the result that I create, but all of the benefits of having told myself the truth, shown up for myself, felt the pain and to have done it anyway.

This is what I want for you. I don’t want it to be easy, because then you don’t get any strategic byproducts. If I give you a pill that helps you gain five pounds of muscle, you have evolved nowhere. If I give you a drink to help you feel better, you don’t know how to feel better on your own; you have to rely on that drink. If I give you food to help you buffer your emotion, you haven’t learned how to process your emotion.”

Brooke Castillo


“When should you offer appreciation? Always. It’s always a good time to spend a moment boosting someone else’s mood, and thus boosting their productivity. The cost is low: it takes only a minute to drop by someone’s office and say, ‘I’m grateful for your hard work.’ ”

Farnam Street (Quoting “Getting It Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge” by Roger Fisher and Alan Sharp)

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Now, go give your spouse a hug and tell them you love them!

Written and published by Nathan & Kelli.


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The purpose of “The Couple Project” is to learn more about what makes a strong marriage or relationship. We share what we are learning, which ideas we are trying, and which ideas helped improve our relationship. We realize not everything that works for us will work for you, but we still hope you will find our journey valuable.

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