Here's the intro to our new book Relationship Grit. My wife Kathryn and I pulled back the curtain to share our struggles and how we’ve overcome.
This is not a "our marriage is awesome" book. This is about how we met and fell in love. How I was a jerk early in our marriage. How and why we stayed together. How I changed. The lessons we learned. Great advice from my wife. Tips to stay strong together. We share the mistakes I made and how my wife almost left me. My brother asked, "Are you sure you want people to know about your past?" I knew we had to share our story to help people change and marriages improve.
We hope it helps you and your relationship grow stronger. You can read the full book now, before it releases in September. Details below or at RelationshipGritBook.com
Several years ago, I spoke to Angela Duckworth, who had popularized the term “grit” through her TED talk, book, and research. Grit was at the forefront of discussions I had with my clients in sports, business, and healthcare. Everyone wanted to talk about hiring people with grit, developing grit in their people, and having more grit themselves. But as someone who helps leaders build stronger teams, I kept thinking about team grit. I wondered what makes a team gritty. What are the characteristics of teams that don’t give up? As Angela and I discussed her research on grit, I asked her if she had done any research on grit and teams. I told her I had a pretty good idea about what makes team members fight for—instead of against—one another, but I wanted to know if there was research that backed up my ideas and experiences. She said she hadn’t done any research on that, but it was a fascinating idea.
I told my wife about my conversation with Angela and she said she didn’t need research to know what made a team gritty. My wife said that it’s all about relationships and all we had to do was look at our relation- ship and how we have stayed together through all the ups and downs over the years to understand team grit. A team is made up of people, and the relationships they have with one another will determine what kind of grit they have as a team.
My wife and I then started talking about our relationship and how it was a miracle that we were still together. I was a big jerk early in our marriage and she threatened to leave me if I didn’t change. That’s a story for later in the book, but let’s just say she had every right to leave, and the fact that she didn’t still amazes me to this day. The more my wife and I talked, we realized it was more than a miracle that kept us together. We actually did things over the years that saved our marriage and made our marriage stronger. Some of it can only be described as divine intervention and some of it was because of the actions we took to develop grit in our relationship.
We’ve watched many of our friends get divorced. We’ve seen so many young couples give up on their marriage when things became difficult early on. We know all the mistakes we made and can’t help but see all the mistakes couples make that sabotage their relationship. If we made it and stayed together, so can other couples. The marriage doesn’t have to be over. The relationship doesn’t have to end. You don’t have to give up. You just need some Relationship GRIT to help you stick it out. It won’t be easy. If only one person in the relationship wants to make the relationship work, it won’t. But if two people are committed to making it work and have Relationship GRIT, you’ll not only stay together, you’ll learn so much more about yourselves, discover a lot of life lessons along the way, grow as individuals, and become stronger as a team. We want to make it clear that we realize Relationship GRIT isn’t for every couple. Some people aren’t meant to stay together. But we believe you shouldn’t give up without trying everything possible. Please know if you are dealing with abuse, that’s a different story, and we encourage you to seek professional help immediately.
My wife and I decided to write Relationship GRIT to share the lessons we learned to help couples develop stronger relationships and marriages. I’m going to share things from my perspective and you’ll hear my wife’s perspective, insights, and lessons as well. We thought it would be best for you to hear both of our voices and we hope you enjoy the engaging back-and-forth approach we took. Where we might have disagreed while writing the book, I want you to know that my wife won. After all, the greatest lesson I’ve learned in 23 years of marriage is that my wife is always right. (I’m kidding, but not really. I share more about that later in the book.)
If you’ve read some of my books, you might be surprised to learn things about me you didn’t know. I felt it was important to be vulnerable, transparent, and real. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and a little scary to share our private lives with the public, but we knew we needed to do so to help other couples going through challenging times. A big part of healing is using your pain for a purpose and we hope our past pain and lessons serve a purpose to help you create a deeper, more connected, loving, intimate, and happier relationship. We hope this book helps you realize that you can change and your relationship can change for the better. I wasn’t perfect. I had a lot of issues. I made mistakes. But my wife stayed with me. She supported me. She strengthened me. She made me a better man and father. I changed for the better. I know I wouldn’t be who I am without her love and grit over the years.
That’s the thing about a relationship. It’s two imperfect people coming together and they have to learn to work out their individual flaws and weaknesses and develop a collective strength. It doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a process. In this spirit, we want to share our mistakes, lessons, successes, journey, and process with you to help make your relationship stronger. It’s a pro- cess we call G-R-I-T. Let’s get started with the G.