Category Archives for "Time Management"

Oct 13

Do This to Instantly Be Happier (it may shock your spouse)

By Dustin | Time Management

Do This to Instantly Be HappierIf you ever find yourself feeling stressed out or even overwhelmed by all the things you have to do, you’re going to love this post.

I’m going to share with you one of the BEST and EASIEST things you can do to bring more happiness to your home.

Check it out and then share it with your spouse today so you can take action together.

It could change your life.

How’s That Balanced Approach Workin’ for Ya?

I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea of “work-life” balance or other similar terms.

You’ve probably heard some “expert” on Oprah or Dr. Phil telling a young husband or wife that they need better balance.  You’ve gotta get things in check and be balanced in all areas of your life, right?


In the lives we live today, no two days are typically the same and no two weeks are ever the same.

Between the demands of trying to share quality time with our spouse, raise our kids, work, attend any number of evening activities, exercise, take care of the house, contribute to our community, hang out with our friends, enjoy hobbies…well you get the idea.

If you tried to maintain balance between all of your responsibilities, you’d not only go crazy, you’d fail.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried it and then beat yourself up for not being able to pull it off.

Forget Balance – Do This Instead

The good news is that balancing your time is not important.  In fact, it’s probably harmfully unrealistic and stressful.

Happy families do not have balance. They have BOUNDARIES. (click here to tweet this out)

Let me explain.

At this stage in your life, you should forget about trying to keep your time balanced – instead, set healthy boundaries and stick to them as much as possible.

By boundaries, I mean you set both space but especially time boundaries.  You have work time, spouse time, kid time and so forth.  These are planned ahead and agreed upon with your family.

This may seem subtle, but it’s incredibly freeing and really powerful.

  • Spouse time is not work time, so you can put your phone away and actually have a focused conversation with your husband or wife.
  • Kid time is not chore time (at least not always), so you can play with dolls now, fully present, and take care of paying bills later.
  • Time spent on side businesses, self-education or hobbies you love is specified and held within healthy boundaries as well, so you can fully enjoy it within some self-imposed constraints that your spouse has agreed to.

Multi-tasking doesn’t work, and it cheats both you and your loved ones.  Don’t try it.

You may think you don’t have time to use boundaries in your busy life.

The truth is you don’t have time NOT to, and you’re wasting so many wonderful opportunities right now if you’re trying to be balanced.

Make A Change Today

If your marriage is anything like ours, this idea of setting healthy, specific boundaries on your time may be pretty foreign.

When you bring it up to your spouse, they may be a little shocked by what you’re suggesting.

If your schedule has been out of control for a while (like ours was), the suggestion of communicating about how you spend your time as a family and committing to some changes proactively may seem to come from left field.

But it’s so worth it – you can instantly reduce stress and guilt in your relationship and bring more happiness to your home.

Here’s a quick rundown of how to get started:

  1. Ask your spouse to read this post with you and set a time after the kids are in bed to talk about your family schedule.
  2. Share where you’ve felt frustrated both by where you’d like to spend more guilt-free time and where you’d like to cut back.  Your spouse should do the same so you can have an open conversation.
  3. Together, agree on just ONE boundary you want to put in place this week.  You can always add more later, but you want to start off simply and see how well this works for you.

What does a boundary look like?  It can take any form really, but here are some sample ideas for you to consider:

  • Phone/computer blackout zone (you can’t use them) between 6-8 p.m. to preserve family time
  • Side business/hobby time only before 7 a.m. before the rest of the house is awake
  • Minimum of 15 minutes of Couple Time at 8:30 p.m. when the kids are in bed
  • Always go to bed together at 11 p.m.

The right boundaries will be specific to your household, but you can see how setting a few at different times of the day can provide clarity and consistency that your whole family will appreciate.

It doesn’t take a big change to make a BIG difference in your marriage and family life!

Want an Action Plan to Add More Quality Time to Your Life?

If you’re interested in enjoying more quality time with your spouse and kids, be sure to check out our popular Get More Quality Time workshop.

Here’s a rundown of the benefits you’ll get from this program:

Quality Time Workshop

Go check it out now and reclaim control of your schedule today!

How to Enjoy More Quality Time

Jun 13

3 Simple Ways for Couples to Exercise When You Have No Time

By Dustin | Time Management

Note: This is a guest post from my good friend Tony DiLorenzo at Fit Marriage.

3 Simple Ways for Busy Couples to Find Time to ExerciseMany years ago, before I got married and had kids, I can remember when I would stroll to the gym, workout for an hour or two, play some basketball, and then hangout with my friends afterwards.

Working out was simple and easy. The biggest factor for me was that I simply needed to get up and get my butt to the gym.

Those were some good times. Looking back, I wish I would have cherished those days more.

Now, 15 years of marriage and two kids later, it can be darn tough to not only get myself out of bed, but find the time to workout within my family structure.

It’s not just me anymore. Alisa, my lovely wife, enjoys working out too. If we want to get away from the house it means that the two of us have to be on the same page.

Luckily for us, we have worked through these issues, and I’m going to share how we have made fitness work in our busy family.

Workout Together

We resisted working out together for the longest time. It wasn’t that we didn’t enjoy being around each other, but a lack of communicating our goals.

I would push myself hard during workouts. Because I was pushing so hard, I expected Alisa to do the same.

The thing is that we had two different goals. My pushing Alisa during fitness pushed her away. She didn’t want to spend time with me as it made her feel inadequate. Looking back I can’t blame her for not wanting to workout with me.

Since that time, we have learned to express and share our goals when we start a new fitness program. It helps us to encourage one another instead of compete with each other.

Working out and being fit with your spouse isn’t a competition that requires a trip to on of the Chiropractors in Fulham afterwards. It is a time for the two of you to support and lift up one another.

Split Up and Get Outside

Over the years there have been numerous times when we wanted to be outside walking, running, biking, or going to a bootcamp. With two kids both of us can’t pick up and leave, and it is a bit tough to take younger kids along all the time.

During these times in our marriage, we sit down to talk through how both of us can get outside 2-3 times per week. What we do is look at our calendars and write down which days each of us can get outside for our workouts.

On days that Alisa goes out for her walks, I make those my weight lifting or inside cardio days. When I go out on a bike ride, Alisa will do an at-home workout that is in line with her goals.

There are those rare occasions when both kids are gone and we make sure to take advantage of those times. We usually get out for a quick 3-4 mile walk.

The key here is that we serve each other and know that by supporting one another we are building up our marriage.

Enjoy Quick & Effective Workouts

Lastly, when our kids were much smaller and time was of the essence, we were all about quick and effective workouts. These workouts lasted 15-30 minutes max.

What we loved about these and still like about these is that we got something in for the day. Don’t miss out on Thrive90 Fitness. We developed this especially for us and busy couples everywhere.

We realized that what we were doing wasn’t going to transform us 180 degrees in 90 days, but the small amount we did each day was having a profound impact on our lives.

After these quick and effective workouts our minds were clear, our endorphins were high, and it increased our desire to be sexually intimate with one another.

Where Are You Right Now?

Which of these fits your marriage/family situation?

Now is the time to determine what phase of your marriage and fitness you are in. No matter where you are I believe you can find time in your day to make fitness happen for you and your spouse.

Do you want to know the key?

I’m sure you do…START.

That’s it, start with a conversation with your spouse and start doing something that will be a benefit to your overall fitness.

Jun 28

It’s Your Time to Thrive – a contest!

By Dustin | Time Management

Win free access to Time to Thrive!As you may have heard, we just opened enrollment in an all-new version of Time to Thrive.

Time to Thrive will show you how to get control of your schedule and become more productive.

Now, there are lots of programs, book and seminars out there that will tell you about time management (I’ve been through many of them).

But Time to Thrive is much different – it’s made so that you see RESULTS in all areas of your busy life. After all, it’s not about getting more stuff done, but doing what matters.

When you join, we’ll first get you focused in on one big goal you’ve been dying to accomplish – this is very personal but other graduates have rekindled the romance in their marriage, started a side business to make more money, ran a half marathon, gotten their house organized and many, many other cool things.

Then, through the accomplishment of your goal, I will walk you step-by-step to show you exactly how to get more time and become super-productive.  And you’ll build healthy habits in the process to make sure it sticks.

The program can be completed at your own pace, but most graduates take around 30 days.  So, 30 days from now you could have control over your time and be well on your way to accomplishing a big goal you’ve been craving.

How would it feel to know you’re setting an awesome example for your family by getting rid of stress, getting in control and focusing on what matters most in your blessed life?

I want you to experience it.

How to Win FREE Access to Time to Thrive

Time to Thrive was originally only open to a select test group who helped to perfect the program and make it as simple to follow and impactful as possible.  But we’re now opening it up to the entire Engaged Marriage community.

As part of this relaunch, we’re giving a major discount on enrollment to those who join us before the end of the day on Monday, July 1st.

But I want to make it even easier for you to experience Time to Thrive, so I’m holding a little contest here to give away one free membership.  I’ll announce the winners on Sunday evening.

This is YOUR chance to win and join the next graduating class of family leaders who will enjoy an extra hour of quality time every day and feel energized to do more of what matters.

This will only take a couple of minutes…all you have to do is answer ONE question.

Go check out the details about Time to Thrive by clicking here.  Then, in the comments section of this blog post, tell me…

  • Why you think Time to Thrive can help you and your family and what outcome you want to see at the end of your 30 day experience

That’s it!  And remember, you can start the program whenever you want and progress as you please.

Entries with more specifics have a better chance of winning.

You must enter by Sunday 6/30 at 7:00 p.m. CST.  I’m going to go through every single one of your responses and award a winner late Sunday evening.

If you win, you’ll get:

  • The full Time to Thrive program where I’ll walk you through how to get control of your time, become super-productive and achieve any goal you’d like – so you enjoy at least an extra hour of quality time each day.
  • Exclusive access to the private Thrive Community. This is where you interact with me and other Time to Thrive students (and graduates!). So if you ever felt like you were “going it alone” as a busy Family Leader, now you can meet other like-minded people that “get you.”
  • Bonus #1 – The Thrive “Get Unstuck” Success Guide
  • Bonus #2 – The Thrive Productivity App & Family Leader Resource Guide
  • Lifetime access and updates

I will award one membership.  I’m really excited to read your entry and hear what you have to say about the impact of having more time to do more of what matters in your life…

Good Luck!

Jun 18

What Would You Do With an Extra Hour Each Day?

By Dustin | Time Management

Imagine for a moment that you could add an hour to your day – not another hour for work, cleaning or worrying…an extra hour of quality time to do what you really want.

What would you do with that extra hour?

  • Rekindle the romance in your marriage
  • Lose weight
  • Train for a race
  • Get out of debt
  • Start a side business
  • Write a book
  • Reignite your spiritual life
  • Go on play dates on with your kids

Think about something very specific you’d do with the gift of an extra hour.

Hold that thought.

Now, of course, the real question is how in the world could you ever get an extra hour of quality time every day.

I’d like to tell show you.

Click here for your FREE Time to Thrive training videos

How to Enjoy an Extra Hour of Quality Time Every Day

I’ve spent the last seven months working on a very special project to answer the #1 question I get from busy Family Leaders – All. The. Time.

“How can I get more time?”

And today I’m super excited to share a free video series with you that will show you exactly how to make it happen.  The project is called Time to Thrive and the entire thing was created to help Family Leaders (like you).

Go check out the 80-second intro video and see if it’s something that will benefit you.  Then just sign up for free access to this one-of-a-kind training.

As you’ll see in the first video, this isn’t some old-school time management mumbo-jumbo.  This is a unique, step-by-step approach to getting control of your schedule, being more productive and doing more of what matters in your life.

This is exactly what we’ve put into place in our family – and it’s made all the difference:

Click here for your FREE Time to Thrive training videos

I can’t wait to share this with you!

Apr 26

Quality vs. Quantity – The Paradox of Our Time

By Dustin | Time Management

The Paradox of Our TimeI was reading my buddy J. Money’s blog over at Budgets Are Sexy this morning, and he had a short poem/essay that really drove home something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

It’s called “The Paradox of Time” and I think it speaks volumes about our culture today (at least here in the USA).

However, I think there’s a more important message for you personally in this.

Please take a moment to read these words by Dr. Bob Moorehead, and I’ll share my thoughts after:


We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers
Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints
We spend more, but we have less.

We have bigger houses, but smaller families
More conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense
More knowledge, but less judgement
More experts, but more problems
More medicines, but less wellness.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often
We have learnt how to make a living, but not a life.
We have added years to life, but not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back
But have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour.
We have conquered outer space, but not inner space.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted our soul.
We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We’ve higher incomes, but lower morals.
We’ve become long on quantity but short on quality.

These are the times of tall men, and short character;
Steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare,
More leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are the days of two incomes, but more divorces;
Of fancier houses, but broken homes.
It is a time when there is much in the show window, and nothing in the stockroom.

A time when technology can bring this [message] to you
And a time when you can choose
Either to make a difference …. or just hit [ignore it].

If you’re like me, you probably found yourself nodding along as you read each line.  There’s no question that our society has seen major shifts in what we value and how we measure our worth.

You can’t really control that…

…so what CAN you do about it?

Well, you can make better choices in your own life and place higher value on your relationships.  You can be proactive in loving your husband or wife.  You can choose to value quality over quantity.

In short, you can get away from the idea of just getting more stuff done and instead focus on doing more of what matters in your life.

This of course is easier said than done, but you can make it happen.  And I want to help.

As you may know, I’m working hard behind the scenes right now on a new program called Time to THRIVE for Family Leaders.

I’m SO excited to see years of work coming together in a resource that not only helps busy couples find more time but leads you to use your time to enjoy more of the truly important things in life.

The first training for this course will be released in about two weeks, and I’d love to share it with you. If you think you can benefit from more time, better focus and a sense of fulfillment from how you lead your family, please click here to sign up to be notified when we go live.

Apr 18

Why Balancing Your Time is a Lie & What to Do Instead

By Dustin | Time Management

I received an email last week from a woman who was really upset.

She’s a devoted wife and Mom of two kids under the age of four.  On all accounts, her family is doing well, yet she was really down on herself and her lack of “control” when it came to how she spends her time.

She shared a few of the many important things she needs to do on a weekly basis and explained how it’s a real struggle to find BALANCE with her time and energy.

I recorded a short video to take on the issue of “being balanced” and what you should actually focus on:

 [leadplayer_vid id=”516FEA1E08DDC”]

(click here if you can’t see the video)

Click here to get signed up for the Time to Thrive notification list and receive lots of helpful free training!

If you prefer to read, here’s a transcript:

“Hey guys, Dustin Riechmann from Engaged Marriage here.

I want to spend a few minutes talking about a really important topic that I’m sure you can relate to.

It’s about this idea of BALANCE.  Sometimes it’s called work-life balance, or personal-family balance.  We’re told we need BALANCE in our lives to be happy…

…but I’m here to tell you that it’s a LIE.

Happy families do not have balance.  They have BOUNDARIES.  Let me explain.

In the lives we live today as busy Family Leaders, no two days are typically the same and no two weeks are definitely the same.  Between the demands of trying to share quality time with our spouse, raise our kids, work, attend any number of evening activities, exercise, take care of the house, contribute to our community, hang out with our friends, enjoy hobbies…well you get the idea.

If you tried to maintain balance between all your responsibilities, you’d not only go crazy, you’d fail.  But the good news is it’s really not important.

At this stage in your life, don’t worry about this myth of balance.  Instead, set healthy boundaries, stick to them as much as possible and you’ll enjoy an awesome family life.

By boundaries, I mean you set both space but especially time boundaries.  You have work time, spouse time, kid time and so forth.  These are planned ahead and agreed upon with your family.

This may seem subtle, but it’s incredibly freeing and really powerful.  Spouse time is not work time, so you can put your phone away and actually have a focused conversation with your husband or wife.  Kid time is not chore time (at least not always), so you can play with dolls now, fully present, and take care of paying bills later.

Multi-tasking doesn’t work and it cheats both you and your loved ones.

You may think you don’t have time to use boundaries in your busy life.  The truth is you don’t have time NOT to, and you’re wasting so many wonderful opportunities right now if you’re trying to be balanced.

I have much more to share with you about setting great boundaries and using your time for what matters most.

If this is something that interests you, please enter your email below to learn more about a new program and FREE tools I’m sharing to help Family Leaders get control of their schedule and focus on what matters most.  It’s called Time to THRIVE, and I know you’ll love it.  I’ll see you there!”

Click here to get signed up for the Time to Thrive notification list and receive lots of helpful free training!

How Do You Handle Balance vs. Boundaries?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  Please share your experiences with finding “balance” and whether you’ve instead tried to set up boundaries with your time.  How has each worked for you and your family?

Apr 11

How to Run a Half Marathon (or accomplish other big things) When You Have No Time

By Dustin | Time Management

How to Run a Half Marathon When You Have No TimeI’m so proud of my wife Bethany.

Last weekend, she completed the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon.  That’s 13.1 miles even though the furthest she’d ran before starting her training was 3 miles.

And she didn’t just finish the race – her results were quite impressive.

She did so well in fact that I’m a little embarrassed to share it with you. I’ll share that story at the end of this post.

For now, let’s take a look at what lead Bethany to this weekend and why it’s important to you and your marriage.

60+ Hours of Training for a Mom of Three?

As you might imagine, running 13.1 miles in the hills of St. Louis is no small feat.

In fact, the preparation included workouts four times every week for the past 16 weeks.  Yep, Bethany’s been running 3-13 miles at a time four days a week since December (also, St. Louis is cold in the winter – she’s tough like that).

And get this – she didn’t miss a single workout!

Keep in mind that we have kids that are 8, 5 and 2 1/2 years old complete with the many, many, many activities and plenty of sicknesses that come with them.  Needless to say, we’re a very busy young family and Bethany does more than her fair share on the home front.

Wait, What was Dad Doing?

If Mom’s spending hours every week training for a race, then Dad must be picking up the slack and making up for these lost hours, right?  Not so much.

Dustin after Half MarathonHere’s the kicker that you may have guessed from our photo – I ran the race, too!

I also trained on the same schedule for the past 16 weeks.  And since our 2 1/2 year old is not the least bit able to care for herself, our training was never at the same time, and we never hired a sitter to train.

So, this goal we shared ended up taking us more than 10 hours each week to train for, and that doesn’t count sessions of stretching, icing, foam rolling or general malaise after a really tough training session.

This was 10 hours inside of an already busy weekly schedule.  In fact, I’m sure our lives are much like yours.

I have a full-time professional career as an engineer plus I do some teaching at a University, we have lots of children’s activities, we’re active in our church and community, and we like to hang out with our friends and family as much as possible.

We also have some other time commitments that aren’t as typical – I run two small businesses (here at Engaged Marriage and over at Fit Marriage), my Dad was very sick and passed away in the middle of our training, and I’ve also been working on an awesome new project that I can’t wait to share with you (more on that in a minute).

Put simply, we’re busy folks. 🙂

Seriously, How Do You Find the Time?

It seems like I’ve been asked this question a hundred times the last four months.

Bethany After Half MarathonThe honest answer is that finding time to do what matters is never easy, especially at this stage in life as a Family Leader.

If you take a leadership role in your family (and I bet you do if you’re reading this), then you know exactly what it’s like.

Your schedule is crazy, you always put yourself last, and you spend too many days feeling out of control, stressed and maybe even a little overwhelmed.

Well, getting control of your schedule and creating more margin in your life is not easy, but it’s totally worth it.

You may not want to run a half marathon, but I bet you would like to have more time in your life to do what matters most to you.

This could be as simple as spending more time with your kids, dating your spouse as often as you’d like, starting a side business, losing weight, getting your house organized, paying off debt, getting closer to God…you get the idea.

It doesn’t matter – the process is the same.

It’s Not About the Running – It’s About the Time

I lead a pilot program earlier this year (yes, while training for this run!) with 16 other busy Family Leaders.  These 16 individuals had 16 different outcomes that they were looking to achieve during our 30 days together.

However, they all had a few things in common.  They felt like their schedules were already full and they didn’t think they had the control or margin needed to achieve anything new (even if they really wanted t0) – BUT they all decided to trust in a process.

I’m proud to say that this group made it happen, and I continue to hear about their ongoing success stories several months later.

From paying off debt to writing a book to starting a piano lesson business to getting a home happy and organized to rekindling a relationship with Jesus, these 16 people from all corners of the country and the world enjoyed some exceptional achievements.

But their biggest accomplishment wasn’t in their specific outcomes over 30 days – it was in their renewed sense of control and powerful new tools that will allow them to continue doing what matters most for them and their families for the rest of their lives.

I’ll share more of their stories at another time, but I wanted to highlight them briefly here because the process they followed is the exact same thing that Bethany and I used to train for our half marathon.

No, they weren’t running in the snow like us, but they did follow the same step-by-step plan that I’m going to share with you.

Introducing Time to THRIVE

I got the idea for the pilot group late last year after I kept getting asked how I got so many things done.

I had a process that I’d used for several years that I would go to every time I started to feel stressed out about my schedule or when I decided to pursue a new goal (these often come at the same time for me).  Bethany had adopted it as well.

I knew the process worked for us and with other coaching clients in the past.  But I wanted to refine it, make it super simple to follow and ensure that even the busiest Family Leaders would benefit from it.

The process follows six simple steps that conveniently spell the acronym THRIVE.  Here’s an overview and a little commentary of how we used it to prepare for our recent training demands:

1. Target

This is simply focusing in one specific area that you want to improve in your life.  If your struggling to decide where to start, that’s very common and we have some great tools to help.

In our case, we both settled on improving our physical fitness.

2. Harness

This second step is all about harnessing motivation and getting your mindset right.  Most people never do this, and it causes them to quit before reaching their goals (New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?)

In our case, our Harness steps looked very different.  We both wanted to get physically fit, but we the reasons Why (and our motivations) were not really related.  This is a great example why it’s important to follow this process individually – even when you’re married and following the same workout plan!

3. Roadmap

This is where the rubber meets the road and things start to get really practical.  In this step, we set specific goals for weekly actions that we’ll take along with monthly measurements and longer-term performance goals.

For Bethany and I, our weekly goals (actions) were identical and related to our training plan.  Our monthly measurements (running speed and body weight) were also similar.  Our performance goals were focused on the race…more on that below. 🙂

4. Identify

This is the most important step, yet it can’t be done alone or you will fail.  This is the nitty gritty of breaking down your schedule to identify where you’ll actually find the time to do the weekly goals you set in step 3.

Your grandpa or boss may call this Time Management, but the way we handle it goes much further, is less boring and it just plain works better.  Doing this step will give you back at least 30 minutes each day.

This was a biggie for us with all we have going on in our lives and the fact that we’d have to find time to train separately.  This was actually the first time Bethany made the effort to track how she was spending her time, and I think she’s hooked!

5. eVolve

I LOVE this step – it’s all about becoming super-productive.  From more basic (and vitally important) tools like batching tasks, email management and focused work time to a choose-your-favorites menu of productivity tools driven by technology, completing your eVolution will give you another 30 minutes each day to do what you love.

I am a productivity junkie, so not much changed for me on this front.  Bethany incorporated some new task-batching practices that freed up a nice chunk of time for her without sacrificing any time with the kids (or me!).

6. Empower

In this step, you learn how to have long-term success and continue to build healthy habits that will empower you for life.  After all, achieving a goal in 30 days (or however long you desire) is awesome, but you truly change your family tree when you master accountability, plug into supportive communities and begin to teach those you love how to get more from life.

In our case, this has simply become how we live.  The great thing is that as you repeat this process a few times, it becomes second nature and completely repeatable – and teachable.  The time crunches and stress still come, but you know how to deal with them so you can get control and push ahead to achieve new things.

I know that’s a pretty brief overview, but I obviously can’t cover what is typically 30 days of step-by-step instruction in a single blog post.

The good news is that I’m working hard right now on some training that you will be able to use to get control of your busy schedule and gain an extra hour every day to do what matters most in your life.

And with your new time and fresh mindset, you’ll be able to achieve any goal that you’ve had on the back burner for too long.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing several training videos along with other tools you can put into action right away.  And as a thank-you for being part of this community, I want to give you a chance to get signed up for FREE access.

Simply CLICK HERE to head over to the all-new Time to THRIVE site to reserve your spot in our free training! Plus, you’ll get an early-bird discount when the full course opens next month.

Time to Thrive

I Can’t Believe I’m Making This Public.

So…about those race results…

I had set a goal for myself of finishing the race in under 2 hours.  Bethany, being much less Type A than me, didn’t have a specific time in mind – or at least she didn’t share it with me.

With 15,000 runners participating, the race started in different flights so we never saw each other during the race after we kissed and headed for our respective starting areas.  The next time I saw Bethany she was sucking wind at the finish line.

Thanks to the wonders of iPhone, our results were posted and viewable right away.  I was pretty happy to see I had finished in 2:00:06 – six (damn) seconds over my goal time.

Right above my time, I see 1:59:41 – and Bethany Riechmann next to it.

In her first half marathon, Bethany finished in the top 15% of all females and she beat me by 25 seconds!

It turns out that my time put me in the top 25% of the field, so at least I have that going for me. 🙂

We’re both training for several more races this summer, including my first triathlon.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments about the goals you’re currently pursuing or maybe have been putting off for too long.

Keep in mind that it’s not about just getting more things done each day, but doing more of what matters to you.  Your family and your marriage will thank you for making it happen.

P.S. – Don’t forget to sign up for the all-new Time to THRIVE for Family Leaders!  I’ll be sharing some awesome free training in the next few weeks – and you’ll get an early-bird discount on the full course when it opens next month.

Feb 23

100 Minutes

By Dustin | Time Management

If you’ve been around Engaged Marriage very long, you know how strongly I believe that even the busiest couples can enjoy an awesome, fulfilling marriage.  It just takes some effort and about 15 minutes a day of engaged Couple Time.

EM community member Hailey Hearthrow has experienced the power of a 15 Minute Marriage Makeover, and in today’s post she shares a simple, powerful plan to take this approach for a 10-minute “test drive.”  Be sure to check it out and then head over to her blog at for more great tips!

If you are taking the 15 Minute Marriage approach seriously, then in just one year, you will have spent 5,475 minutes together strengthening your marriage.

That’s 91.25 hours! Assuming that most people sleep 8 hours a night, you will have invested almost 6 whole days (waking time) working exclusively on your marriage and nothing else.

Kowabunga! A marriage retreat in your very own home on your time schedule. A vacation without having to miss a single paycheck.

Dubious still about the possible results? Don’t think it will really bolster your relationship with such minimal requirements?

Okay, take it for a test drive. Invest just 100 minutes: 10 minutes a day for the next 10 days.

If it fails, you’ve lost nothing except the time you would have spent watching a video from Red Box.

Here’s how to take a 10 minute test drive

Day one – Rate your marriage. Find out where you stand before you begin. By responding to just 10 questions, you can score your relationship. Repeat the evaluation at the end of the 100 Minutes, and you’ll know if the time is making any difference. Both you and your spouse can take the test at

Day two – Listen to “your song” together – the one that played at your wedding, the one you always think of when you remember your first dance, your first kiss, or the night you got engaged. Hold hands while you listen. Try to recreate the mood when you first heard it.

Day three – Individually, jot a quick note that starts with “I married you because…” Exchange notes…and kisses.

Day four – Grab your wedding album and thumb through the pages while you sit on the couch together. Laugh about so-and-so’s candid expression and reminisce about how young and naïve you were.

Day five – Relax with a favorite drink or dessert. While you are at ease, share three things you did today that your spouse might not know about.

Day six – Put your feet up, literally. Take turns giving and receiving foot massages. Too ticklish? Try a back rub instead, or maybe just run your fingers through your spouse’s hair.

Day seven – Dictate out loud a thank you note to your partner, outlining three things he or she did today that you appreciated. “Dear sweetheart, I noticed that you took out the garbage before work, made the bed, and remembered to close the kitchen cupboards after your snack. I am grateful that you are considerate of the little things that might be frustrating to me. You have always been very thoughtful. Hugs and kisses, your eternal mate.”

Day eight – Light some candles, and just snuggle. Wrap your arms around each other, look into each other’s eyes, and savor the moment. Remember how it felt when you were courting. Murmur a few “sweet nothings.”

Day nine – If you can do it in just 10 minutes, enjoy a shower together. (And supposing that it takes a little longer and turns into something more than just getting your hair washed, consider it a bonus!)

Day ten – Go back and rate your marriage again.

Congratulations! You are on your way to a successful 15 Minute Marriage. With just 5 more minutes a day and Dustin’s book, you can have the spark that was yours when your first exchanged rings.

What is your favorite way to spend 10-15 minutes with your husband or wife?  Share it in the comments!

Jan 31

One Thing Leads to Another

By Dustin | Time Management

Note from Dustin:  I’m a BIG fan of living intentionally, and I’ve learned a lot about it from Nina Nelson – aka “Shalom Mama.”  I invited Nina to share her thoughts about how to get started toward better health – and a better marriage – in a simple way.  I think you’ll love this post, and don’t miss the great giveaway at the end!

For years I was unhappy with my health.

I was overweight and felt uncomfortable with my body, wishing that I could feel better about myself. My activity level consisted of short walks and lifting my kids. And my diet was anything but healthy.

I was fed up with feeling that way.

In August 2010, my husband, Ian, and I were invited to be part of a test group for a new fitness program. I was excited to get in shape and feel better about my body.

While the workouts were fun and I was feeling stronger, I noticed that I wasn’t losing weight. That’s when I took a hard look at the food I was eating and realized something had to change. I took control of my portion sizes, stopped eating grains and sugar (for weight loss and food allergy purposes) and started eating a lot more veggies.

I started melting.

I realized that I couldn’t approach my health from only one angle. I had to be intentional about every aspect if I wanted to feel good all the time. Taking care of other needs like rest, relationships and spirituality also moved to a higher priority as I realized that holistic wellness involved more than just my body.

Through these changes, my body became healthier and I feel better now than I ever have. But something else was affected by being more intentional about my health.

My marriage got better.

As Ian and I started working out together, we began to have a lot more fun. Instead of doing jumping jacks in one place, he would chase me around the room, looking silly as could be. Jumping jacks are more challenging when you’re giggling…

Our dates also became more intentional. Instead of the typical dinner and a movie, we sought more adventurous things to do. Ian had always been in pretty great shape, but I was not. I was usually reluctant to do anything physical before for fear that he would get frustrated with me. I didn’t want to be embarrassed.

But with my new strength and endurance, I was ready to go on hikes and do other fun things outside. I quickly found that outdoor dates really made Ian come alive. And my willingness to “play” outside with him really made him feel loved. Our intimacy grew in areas that it never really had before.

And I’m happy to say that he found my new self-confidence incredibly sexy. Win.

It just took one simple change. One decision to become more intentional about health. A decision that quickly spilled over into other areas of our lives. Our finances. Our parenting. Our relationships with other people. And our relationship with each other.

Health can be simple. Marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. It just takes one decision and the intentional action to make it happen.

Are you ready?

Win a Copy of Simple Natural Health!

Nina just released her new e-book Simple Natural Health, and I have to say that it is fantastic!  And I’m excited because she has generously agreed to give away a copy to one lucky Engaged Marriage reader. 

To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is go check out the book, then come back here and a leave a comment describing why you think Simple Natural Health would help you and your marriage.

I will select one commenter at random to win the book at Noon CST on Friday, February 3rd.  Good luck!

NOTE: If you’d like to pick up a copy, Nina has also set up a special 10% off discount that expires at Noon on February 2nd.  This is good for the PDF version only, and you can get your discount by entering SIMPLE10 at checkout.  Enjoy!

Nina Nelson is a wellness advocate, mama to four and wife to one. She writes regularly at Shalom Mama, inspiring others to live intentionally. She loves reading, snuggling and giggling at miniature horses.

Jan 04

Do You Share Your Goals?

By Dustin | Time Management

Todo List

The new year is here, which means that everyone is embarking on their New Year’s Resolutions.

Or maybe you don’t believe in doing the resolution thing, but you have a Life List of some sort (you might call it a Bucket List, or something else – it’s a list of goals that you want to complete in your lifetime).

Perhaps you don’t have any long term goals written down, preferring to store that particular list safely in your brain.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of making your plans; “Once I get that raise I am going to buy that gadget” or “This year is going to be different, this year I’m going to exercise more.”

No matter what your goals are, do you take into account the most important part?

As someone who is married, it is vital to set your goals with your spouse.

1 + 1 > 2

There are a number of stories and jokes that have the following principle as their core: two items combined are stronger than the sum of the two individually.

I am sure you’ve heard it in some form, whether in two arrows being harder to break together than singly, two ropes combined being able to hold more weight than they could individually, or just a reference to two minds being better than one.

So it is with you and your spouse. Together, you are stronger and can accomplish more than either of you could individually, or even if you added your accomplishments together.

Why shared goals?

Not only will you be able to accomplish more when working together, but it will be easier.

By planning your goals together, you will ensure that not only are you working on the same goals, but you both know it. This can make a huge difference in how easy it is to reach your goal, simply because you are both working toward exactly the same thing, instead of just something similar (or perhaps opposite!).

Making sure that you are both working toward the exact same goal can save a lot of trouble. If you both agree that you want to “save more money this year” but have different dollar amounts in mind (let’s say $500 and $5,000) then you will both try to save but will be using completely different strategies. One of you won’t mind going out to eat each week while the other is hoping to cut out all extraneous spending until the goal is met.

Wouldn’t this be a lot less frustrating if both of you were on the same page?

I’m sure that you are saying that you’d never be working toward opposite goals. But just imagine that you wanted to save $5,000 to take that dream vacation together next year. However, your spouse’s goal is to redo their wardrobe in order to look more attractive for you.

Both are good goals that benefit the other person, but just imagine how hard it would be to see the money that you place in savings disappear a few days later!

How you help each other

There are a number of ways in which you and your spouse make each other stronger. Here are a few:

  • Provide Encouragement – There’s nothing like having your own personal cheerleader to help keep you going. And, assuming that you have shared goals, they will always be rooting for you to succeed.
  • Accountability Partner – Knowing that you have to tell someone the progress that you are making toward a goal goes a long way in helping you continue moving forward.
  • Motivation Booster – The two above combine together to help make sure that you’re always motivated to complete the goal.
  • New Ideas – That second viewpoint is always helpful, especially when you’re stuck.
  • Sounding Board – Maybe your spouse doesn’t have a new idea, but at least they can listen to you talk out the issue and help you think it through.
  • Fill in Strengths – It is commonly said that opposites attract. If that is true, then you and your spouse will have completely different strengths, and by working together you will be able to fill in each other’s weaknesses.
  • Reminder – Life is busy, and that goal you are working for in your spare time can be easily overlooked. Sometimes just having someone remind you can be invaluable.
  • Cover Your Back – Your spouse can help fill in the gaps while you are focused on reaching a shared goal. Perhaps you’re working over-time to get a raise, then your spouse can temporarily cover the tasks you normally take care of at home.

Setting goals together

Fortunately, setting a goal together is just like setting a goal by yourself, with the additional step of comparing notes and coming to a final conclusion together. Simply figure out what you want your future to look like:

“in 10 years we want to be debt free, be earning $x a year, and have visited all 50 states”

then break those goals into smaller steps:

“to be debt free we will cut up our credit cards, live off of one pay check and use the other to pay off debt”.

And then go further still if necessary:

“so that we can live off of one pay check we will cancel our cable, take our lunch to work, and only give ourselves $x spending money each month.”

As you can see, the end goal is very obtainable, but only if you work together.

Without being on the same page, you will inadvertently sabotage each other and struggle to meet the goal. However, by working together you are likely to reach your goal even faster than you thought possible.

What are some goals that you and your spouse share?  Share them in the comments!

This post was written by Matthew from  Be sure to go grab his free e-book full of Ready to Go Dates for you to enjoy together in the New Year!

(photo source)
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