Who’s the Project Manager in Your Marriage?

Bil walked in the door Thursday after work, and hadn’t even put his laptop bag down before he was standing in front of me asking,

“How do you feel about values?”


I ran through the possible meanings in my head.

Values in an Excel cell?  No… I use Excel way more than he does. And he doesn’t even know how to do pivot tables. Amateur.

HTML values?  No… probably not.


“Is this something to do with SharePoint and a database?”

I get an eyeroll as a response.

“No!  I mean relationship values”

Me:  *blank look*

Him: “So, what do you think about values?”

Me:  *still blank look*


Conversations like these are the joys of having a husband who is not only a geek but is on the Asperger’s spectrum.

It’s wildly enlightening and mildly infuriating at the same time.


Bil: “So I was listening to one of Hanselman’s podcasts… ”

Translation:  Scott Hanselman: highly respected ubergeek.  Podcast: Like a recorded radio show for the computer

“…and he was talking about relationships and creating a mission statement…”

Me:  “Wait… what?  Why was Hanselman talking about relationships????”

Translation: Geeks giving other geeks relationship advice?  Oh this ought to be good.

Bil: “Well, he had his wife on the show and they were talking about what made their relationship work and they created this mission statement for their marriage…”

300px The triad constraints Whos the Project Manager in Your Marriage?

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Me: “Is she a project manager?”

Bil: “WHAT?”

Me: “Is she a project manager?  Or is he?  One of them has to be a project manager.”

Bil: “Why would one of them have to be a project manager??”  *getting exasperated*

Me: “Dude.  Seriously?  ‘Mission Statement’?  That is classic project management speak.  You don’t create a mission statement for a relationship, you create it for a project.”

Bil: “Well they created one for their relationship, OK…”

Me: “Do they use a gantt chart to assign tasks and stuff?”

Bil: *blank look*


Well, after a conversation like that I couldn’t help but listen to the podcast myself.

It’s an interesting premise, treating a relationship more like a project and less like something that just… well… is.

Scott and his wife Mo did indeed create a mission statement for their marriage.

“Have a drama-free marriage”

I really can’t argue with that.

Seems like a fair goal to work towards in any relationship.

But they’ve incorporated other aspects of project management into their relationship.

  • Budgeting - Each person has a cash allowance for the month.  There is no answering to the other person for how you spend this money.  It’s at your discretion.  But you have to budget your money wisely.  If you blow it all at the beginning of the month, too bad – so sad.  This money is only to be used for ‘fun’ stuff.  Monthly expenses come out of a shared account.
  • Scheduling time off – each week one of them gets an evening to themselves.  This is not a date night.  This is time to get out of the house, by yourself, and recharge, while your spouse watches the kids.  It’s scheduled, it’s guilt free, and did I mention you get out of the house without the kids?
  • Teamwork – this means presenting a united front to the kids and not letting them play the “well mommy said I could” game.
  • Transparency - this aspect is especially important for trust in a relationship.  They share passwords.  The theory being, if you have nothing to hide, then, really, what’s the issue?

I will admit to rolling my eyes at first at the idea of creating a structured framework for your relationship to run on.

But really?  Everything they talk about is (or should be) common sense.

And I wonder if adding more structure would make us more aware of the work that needs to go into a relationship to keep it running smoothly and less likely to take it all for granted.

Would you want to add more defined expectations to your marriage?  What would make your relationship run smoother?

 Whos the Project Manager in Your Marriage?
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12 Responses to Who’s the Project Manager in Your Marriage?

  • bmsjr says:

    Heard the podcast and read the post. I go back and forth. Wether you do it formally or informally I think all marriages have a mission statement. As our kids were “voting” family members if you will we allowed them to modify a mission statement that became the famiily mission statement. ‘Treat yourselves and others with the respect we want in our family” any goal I have ever met at one point or another I had to commit to paper why not this one.

  • Vixen says:

    Novel as it sounds, I think I would have loved to have a mission statement when I began this marriage adventure. I wonder if it’s too late to develop one at this stage? May be at this point the mission is survive? ha ha ha

    PS: My husband very often starts conversations this way. It is amusing, but very annoying at times. See the problem is, he is already 15 minutes into the convo in his head before he asks me a question and it is always random and I have no IDEA what he is talking about. It takes me twice as long to figure it as it does for him to forget what it was and move on to some new topic that I have no idea about.

  • Heather says:

    I have a mission, but no statement.

    Most of my statements start with…”could you please pick your socks up off the floor…”

    I’d make a horrible project manager.

  • Higgins says:

    As my wife once famously said to me. “Why don’t you just write ‘Have Fun’ on your list on Friday night. Then you can tick it off on Sunday night.”

  • Mandi Bone says:

    Well if the project manager is the person in charge then I want to be the project manager then.

  • Lu says:

    Basically the only statement I have is “Always Kiss Me Goodnight” OR: Don’t go to bed ugly. Let it go. It’s easier to love than hate.
    And I’m tired. LOL

  • Lu says:

    OMG I am laughing so hard. I am so fucked up that I wrote “don’t go to bed ugly” I have no idea where that came from. You know I meant don’t go to bed mad. Oh man. I am laughing so hard I am crying. *goes to bed*

  • Lu says:

    Although I would avoid going to bed ugly if you can. That would probably help.

  • We totally each have a monthly budget for ourselves, and schedule alternating “sleep in” days. We also used to have weekly scheduled “business meetings” to go over any pressing household or family issues.
    We don’t have a mission statement, but I kinda like the idea…
    And yes, my husband’s job title?.. Project Manager.
    Me?.. *blank look*

  • punkinmama says:

    We’ve both been project managers at some point at our current employer. Can’t say that’s lead to a mission statement or defined schedule or anything like that. Though, it’s not a bad idea.

    I think our unwritten mission statement would be, “Don’t be a douche.” Treat each other with respect. Don’t argue over stupid things. But I may have to think about this whole thing a bit more…

  • Dre says:

    I totally had something to say, until I saw Lu’s advice, “don’t go to bed ugly” and now I can’t stop laughing long enough to remember what I wanted to say.

    I think having some sort of plan is a good idea – relationships are hard work! Especially relationships that require a lot of juggling of responsibilities. Having a mission statement makes good sense, IMHO!

    heh…. now I’m off to check the mirror so I won’t go to bed ugly : )

  • Kellee says:

    I think this is absolutely brilliant. I think assuming things are common sense is how most of us run into problems in the first place. What is common sense to one is not always common sense to another. The brilliance behind this is really the communication involved in coming up with the structure. I love it.

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