Better Together: Our Own Private Islands.

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, as Nathan and I were discussing the importance of communication, I remembered a metaphor that I had read a while ago. It compared marriage to two islands. It goes something like this:

Imagine you and your partner are on two different islands. When conflict arises, we can’t see each other clearly and start lobbing harsh words at each other. Instead, we need to swim over to their island and see things from their point of view. Then they need to come visit us on our island. Once we can both see things from each other’s perspective we will be in a much better place to discuss things more reasonably.

The problem is, we both really like our own islands, and it takes time and effort to swim over to their island. Or, in other words, it takes time and effort to listen to and understand each other’s point of view.

When Nathan and I don’t take the time to understand each other, it leads to feeling like our partner doesn’t care, which inevitably leads to hard feelings and arguments.

We both need to continue to improve our ability to listen and to talk.

Sometimes one of us will just roll over, and acquiesce to the other person's point of view.

Sometimes one of us has made up their mind so firmly they can’t budge or compromise.

In both cases we haven’t lived up to our end of our couple agreement. We both have a duty to listen and to speak. We both have a duty to try to understand. We both have a duty to be willing to compromise. We both have a duty to stay in the conversations, especially when they get uncomfortable, especially when we feel like we just want to escape.

Until we both feel understood, and feel we understand our partner, we can’t really build the sort of intimacy that we are trying to create in our relationship.

What We Have Been Reading

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”

— Epictetus

“Rome wasn't built in a day but they were laying bricks every hour. You don't have to build everything you want today, just lay a brick.”

— James Clear

“The only zen you find on top of the mountain is the zen you bring up there.”

— Robert M. Pirsig

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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"