The Marriage 10-to-10 Rule


For the last handful of years, Billy and I have mentored a couple of small groups for newlyweds.  As a result, we probably spend more time talking about marriage and marriage principles than your average couple.  We love these groups for a host of reasons (deserving of its own blog post!), but one BIG benefit is how the group makes us stop and think about the condition of OUR marriage.  It forces us to pinpoint what works and what doesn't for us as a couple. Today, I want to share ONE of those principles that we've discovered about ourselves...and one that we think is pretty transferable to most relationships.

We call it the 10-to-10 Rule.

Ready to dig deep?  Here it is:

Absolutely NO important conversations prior to 10:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m.

That’s it.  Easy-peasy!

If the clock says 10:15 at night and I want to talk about budgets, it’s got to wait.

If it’s 8 in the morning and Billy wants to discuss where we’re spending the holidays, I’ll need to get back to him.

We've found that those windows, at each of the day's extremities, aren't the times to process life's big topics or make decisions.  The rule applies to our "relationship maintenance" talks too.

Too early or too late isn't the time to process what should have been said, what was said incorrectly, whose toes got stepped on, or if one of our expectations hadn't been met.  Almost all conversations can wait until a more reasonable time,  and then we both win.

The truth is that I’m only semi-conscious most mornings and even though I am upright and moving, I am typically in an "edgy" mood.  As all of my former (particularly college) roommates can attest, it’s not unusual for me to be awake several hours before moving into the land of two syllable words.  So, the idea of Billy discussing something significant with me in the morning would be silly.  In the same way, if I decide to pick up a heavy topic with Billy after he’s been dozing in front of the TV, he won’t be exactly an engaged conversationalist.

And so we wait until after/before the 10 o'clock window,  when we are both wide awake, properly caffeinated, and fully functioning.  That way we show up with the capacity to care about the conversation and pay attention to what's said.

Very simply, post-10am or pre-10pm, we are better equipped to choose helpful words and to have a disciplined tongue when we speak.  Besides, for us, most "big" conversations should happen during date nights  (which is part of the reason we’re so diligent in scheduling them), so this rule has been surprisingly easy to live by.

Do you have any similar parameters?

I'd love to hear and talk about them...after 10am, of course.