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Feb 7 2013 by

Startup Life: Advice Column

Q:  Dear Amy:

    In Startup Life:  Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur, you talk about scheduled communication on a daily (Four Minutes in the Morning), monthly (Life Dinner), and quarterly (QX Off the Grid) basis.  All that scheduled time doesn’t sound very romantic.  Where’s the romance?

A:  The most important point about having regularly scheduled together time is that scheduled romance in no way precludes spontaneous romance.  If your days are full of unexpected bouquet deliveries and sleeping in late on Tuesdays after long bouts of lovemaking, maybe you don’t need the commitment of time set aside just for the two of you to connect.  However, I suspect that if you measure the rate of spontenous romance events, you will likely find that you may not having much spontaneous romance anyway in the startup phase of your entreprenurial endeavors.  Having calendar appointments gives you something to look forward to during times when your entreprenurial partner is completely occupied by work.

The other really important point about romance is the very definition of the term.  What’s romantic anyway?  This is an important and ongoing conversation to have with your partner.  It can be an exciting and intimate journey to test what works for each of you over time.  Brad and I don’t find much romance in the images created by television commercials by diamond companies, but find romance in the daily moments we share together.  Different couples have different ideas about what constitutes romance for them.  I personally love the intimacy of the morning and evening routines in the bathroom, brushing and flossing and washing, but we have friends who use separate bathrooms to keep the mystery alive.  Figuring out together what feels romantic to you.

Dear Readers:  What feels romantic to you?  Do you find that having a regular date night increases or decreases other spontaneous expressions of romance?  And I’m taking other Advice Column questions that lots of people seem to share.  Ask away!

This post originally appeared on Thoughts in Random Patterns by Amy Batchelor

Jan 24 2013 by

Startup Life: Book Review in Forbes

 I am delighted to share a thoughtful and positive review of Startup Life in Forbes online by Brent Beshore entitled “7 Changes for Your “Startup Life.'”  Click here to read the review. 

 According to Brent, “If you are an entrepreneur, are thinking of becoming one, or are in a relationship with one, I would highly suggest you buy “Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship With an Entrepreneur.” At the very least, it will give you an inside look at a highly successful long-term relationship that has endured through virtually every cycle of entrepreneurial living. Or, it just might change the way you do life.”  Thanks for the kind words, Brent!

Brad and I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the book, and hope that entrepreneurial couples are enjoying the conversations Startup Life is sparking.

This post originally appeared on Thoughts in Random Patterns by Amy Batchelor. 

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Jan 17 2013 by

Startup Life: Poems and Permissions

One of the many interesting things I’ve learned during the publishing process of Startup Life:  Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur with Brad is that publishing houses don’t do the work of getting permission to reprint copyrighted material – authors are responsible for this work.  Or at least our publisher doesn’t do this work, and we were responsible.  Neither Brad nor I realized this until about 3 weeks before our final galley proofs were due when we received an email on October 26th asking whether we had gotten reprint permission for the poems and literary quotes we had included in our drafts.  Surprise.  Oops.

Brad’s terrific and resolute assistant, Kelly Collins, sprang into action at the beginning of November, only to discover that it takes 6-8 weeks for the permissions and our final author draft was due in 4 weeks.

I was really disappointed and unhappy with this realization since I had been the instigator of the poetry and thought it added a richness and depth to the text and supported our deep belief that words and language matter.

Surely that’s what underpaid and overworked publishing interns are for?

We did receive and pay for permission to reprint a Mary Oliver poem “The Summer Day,” in time, but it didn’t make sense to include just one of the poems.  So we pulled the poems by Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry, and quotes from Rainer Maria Rilke and Antoine St. Exupery, among others.

But Brad and I both still hold the conviction that beautiful language can connect us and give voice to emotion and thoughts that may be difficult for non-poets to express.  So I am going to blog the quotes and poetry we had originally intended to include in Startup Life, as well as some additional gems that we love.  Here’s a poem by Wendell Berry that we intended to include in Chapter Two:  Philosophy —

The Peace of Wild Things 

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light.  For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry copyright 1998 by Wendell Berry from Counterpoint Press, a member of Perseus Books, LLC

This post first appeared on Thoughts in Random Patterns by Amy Batchelor

Jul 11 2011 by

Try This: Four Minutes in the Morning

It’s Monday morning, and time for our weekly post on tactics to try for a happy marriage.

This is the also the place where we invite you to share your success stories and tactics for what has worked for you in finding time for connection with your beloved while creating an entrepreneurial venture.  Please leave a comment if you have a tactic or story you’d like us to share.

This week’s Try This is to spend four minutes together each morning before the rest of the day gets crazy.

Everyone can do this.  Set aside four minutes to sit on the couch with your cup of coffee and share a few thoughts about your day with each other.  Make eye contact.  Maybe hug long enough to release some oxytocin.  Tell your beloved that you love him or her.

It’s a simple, manageable, no-cost way to set a tone for the rest of the day.

You have already had together time no matter what other whirlwinds of chaos come your way.

Brad gets up at 5:00 most mornings, and I sleep in another leisurely hour or so until the dogs wake me up, so if we don’t make an effort to have even just a few minutes together our days are already on divergent paths literally before I get out of bed.

When we first started this back in Boston more than fifteen years ago, we would turn over a 3 minute egg timer so we could tell how long it had been.  Now we have a good feel for how long it takes to settle down and focus on each other and forget the clamoring email – just about the length of a pop song or the amount of time you’re supposed to brush your teeth for.

We don’t need to have four minutes every day, but there are still definitely mornings where we stop what we’re doing for a calm moment together.

Try this, and let us know how it goes –

Jul 6 2011 by

It’s Not Rocket Science, But It Is Hard to Do

Remember when the Mars Climate Orbiter disintegrated in the Mars atmosphere because some part of the trajectory was calculated using English units instead of metric units?  We think this is the perfect analogy for what can happen in a relationship.  It takes a lot of arithmetic to make a successful flight, and being involved in an entrepreneurial endeavor can cause an enormous amount of external atmospheric pressure on a marriage.  Human errors and failures of communication can be fatal.

We’re hoping to create a community for people to share their own successes as well as tales of crashing and burning.

We want to say at the outset that by marriage we mean any committed relationship, and that we fully support the right of our LGBT friends to have the same legal benefits afforded by the marriage contract as we do, even though we’re not certain why the government confers any benefits at all.

We cared so little about the legal part of marriage that we didn’t actually get a marriage license until three years after we eloped to Alaska.  We didn’t claim any tax deductions, insurance benefits, or even free spousal rental car privileges during that time, but it didn’t change the essential nature of our connection to have a piece of paper from the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.  We will discuss all of the nuances around the definition of marriage as we go along.

There are a lot of big juicy topics that we’re planning to cover, such as:

    • Work and Love (Hat tip to Dr. Freud)
    • Core Values, or What Compatibility Really Means
    • Communication
    • Gender
    • Identity and Intimacy
    • You Can Have It All, Just Not All at the Same Time; or “It’s easy for you because you don’t have children.”
    • Priorities – Actions Speak Louder Than Words
    • Talk About It, But Not Too Much
    • Cardinal Virtues (Patience, assuming good intent, benefit of the doubt)
    • Introvert / Extrovert
    • Early Bird / Night Owl
    • You Knew What You Were Getting Into; or How to Renegotiate Initial Expectations
    • Nice Guys Finish First / Try a Little Tenderness
    • How Public Do You Want to Be?
    • Health and Fitness: Moderate vs. Maniac
    • Cheerleader / Critic
    • Work / Play
    • Success / Failure
    • Happiness
    • Tales from the Edge:  Near Misses
    • Calling It Quits
And that should get us started.