The Marriage 10-to-10 Rule

March 23, 2016


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 …um… “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.


6 Responses to “The Marriage 10-to-10 Rule”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Can you repost at 10:15? I’m not sure ingest your point.


  2. Frances Haavie Phenix Says:

    Since both of us are married to Phenix men who are easy going fellows we know that they usually let us have our way because they love us. If there is an important issue, Joy is right. Pick your time to go to the living room,sit down and discuss the issue. Listen to his side and present your side. Most of the time you can work out a compromise. Choose your words carefully and never belittle or downplay his side. His side is as important as yours and in most cases (with me) his side is the right one. Usually a compromise can be found and sealed with a kiss. If the winning side is not yours, suck it up and deal with it PLEASANTLY! His side just might be the right side after all.


  3. Jim Martell Says:

    Thank you, Joy! Glad I found this linked via Facebook.


  4. Lorelei Says:

    Very good marriage principle. Definitely applicable to those “other people who live with us,” i.e. the children. Over the years, we usually note only AFTER the meltdown that “We should have had a V-8!” –it doesn’t go well to address anything significant (or really even insignificant) outside of that window! Thanks!


Leave a Reply