Better Together: Embracing challenge leads to growth.

Welcome to Better Together. The newsletter focused on showing you how amazing your marriage can be, and trying to help you 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

This week, Kelli and I went hiking. The kids didn’t have school Friday, so we planned a weekend camping trip with just the two of us.

As we drove up to the trailhead it was raining pretty hard. At one point Kelli even suggested we turn around and go shopping instead. But we decided to push forward. We got to the trailhead, put on our raincoats, put the rain covers on our packs, and started hiking.

Almost immediately we realized there was water running down the trail. In fact in many places it was less of a trail, and more of a creek. We thought about turning around but decided to keep going a little further.

Both of our raincoats were working perfectly. Our thermal layers were doing their job, pulling any sweat away from our bodies. Kelli’s boots were doing a superb job keeping her feet dry (mine weren’t doing quite as well). Our wool socks were also doing a great job of keeping our feet warm (wet or dry). Two hours later, we had hiked three miles, and climbed almost 2000 feet in elevation. And, for the most part, we stayed warm and dry.

We also learned a few things. I needed waterproof boots and Kelli needed better gloves.

The weekend worked out extremely well, despite the weather conditions.

We can easily compare this trip to marriage. When we aren’t prepared, and aren’t unified, every little disagreement and challenge turns into a disaster, weakening our marriages. But when we have the proper skills and mindset, we can deal with our challenges and hardships in a way that strengthens our marriages and helps us learn where we need to improve.

What We Have Been Reading

“Decisions are bets on the future, and they aren’t “right” or “wrong” based on whether they turn out well on any particular iteration… Redefining wrong allows us to let go of all the anguish that comes from getting a bad result. But it also means we must redefine “right.” If we aren’t wrong just because things didn’t work out, then we aren’t right just because things turned out well.”

— “Thinking in Bets” by Annie Dukes

“There is nothing that gets in the way of success more than avoidance. We avoid hard conversations. We avoid certain people. We avoid hard decisions. We avoid evidence that contradicts what we think. We avoid starting a project until we're certain of the outcome.”

— Farnham Street

“Two men once needed to cross a vast sea. One asked: ‘Better to row or sail?’ The elder replied: ‘Rowing will be quicker at first. But ultimately, if we can align ourselves with the winds and currents, sailing will be faster and more enjoyable.’ Don’t confuse motion with progress.”

— David Parrell

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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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"A United Marriage: 5 Biblical Principles to Ponder"