An excerpt from “Rhythms of Relationship: A Guide for Creating Purpose Patterns to Strengthen Your Marriage”
(posted with permission of the author)
By Jessica Short
“When I got married at the ripe old age of twenty-two, I remember thinking: The challenging parts of my relationship are over. Life will be so much easier now that we’re together. Before long it became clear how much more I still had to learn.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only newlywed who thought that everything would work out just fine now that I was finally married. Although my husband, Matt, was still an undergrad student and spent many hours studying for the medical school entrance exam, life was easy. We went on spontaneous dates, spent time relaxing on the weekends, and enjoyed settling into married life. When people asked me what the most difficult transition was in our first year, I responded, “Hearing him sing punk rock in the shower too early in the morning!”
We’d been married less than two years when we moved from Los Angeles to a college town in Virginia for my husband to obtain a master’s degree in the hopes it would help him get into medical school. Unfortunately, our move created the perfect storm for relationship struggles: we had no friends, no family, very little money, and my husband’s accelerated program left him with little free time. Having spent all our money on the move, we had no income for almost two months. I was alone in an empty apartment all day while Matt’s evenings were filled with either labs or more studying. Needless to say, things no longer looked quite so rosy in our young marriage. We had a choice: sit back and hope the dust would settle or move forward in our marriage regardless of our circumstances.
By God’s grace, we chose to grow together rather than grow apart. As author Stephen Covey advises, we made a commitment to schedule our priorities rather than prioritize our schedules. How? By building intentional rhythms into our relationship. Many people search for the “secret” to marriage as if it’s some elusive recipe only the best of the best know. The reality is, there is no secret! The basis of a great relationship is simply committing to each other and continual growth. And that’s exactly what rhythm is—regular, recurring movement toward the marriage of your dreams. It’s spending planned time together undertaking a specific action for a specific purpose.
After an intense nine-month master’s program, my husband was accepted into medical school. Once school started, his schedule became even more demanding, and my time was also limited as I began my own master’s degree program and got involved in several other activities. Often, dinner was our only time together before falling into bed, exhausted. Our rhythms needed some adjustments, but they were still present—bringing us back to each other regardless of how busy we were. These rhythms not only sustained our relationship but ensured that we continued to grow rather than plateau. This book will help you learn rhythms of relationship and how to build them into your marriage so that during seasons of peace or hardship, your marriage can be as beautiful and fulfilling as it was always meant to be.”
In Rhythms of Relationship, I share more about how to create rhythms to bring you and your spouse together, despite the time-consuming demands of the medical field. I focus on what I call the Eight Keys of Marriage Growth: communication, values and goals, finances, community, faith, romance and intimacy, responsibilities, and rest and recreation. Each key has tangible action steps you can take with your spouse to improve your marriage in the little bit of time you have together. Medical marriages are not easy, and I would love for this book to be a support to you as you support your spouse! You can buy Rhythms of Relationship in paperback and ebook versions on Amazon.
Jessica Short is a Christ-follower, wife, and blogger who is passionate about healthy marriages. She has a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and a master's in Executive Leadership. After moving across the country for her husband, Matt, to attend medical school, Jessica developed rhythms of relationship to grow her own marriage despite the time-consuming demands of her husband's medical career. High school sweethearts, Jessica and Matt call the West Coast home. Since 2016 she has been blogging at Shortandsweetblog.com about marriage, medical school, and reaching your goals. You can find her on Facebook at Short & Sweet Blog and Jessica Short, Author, and on Instagram @shortandsweet_blog and @author_jessicashort.