scott hanselman

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…”

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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