After we hosted our very first Rise conference people started asking Dave and I if we’d consider throwing one for couples. At first we were honestly a little bit like, 😮 who, us??? I mean who are we to offer advice to other couples about how to pursue a relationship? But the more we thought about it, the more we realized that we had two things going for us that might actually make us great at this mission.

For one thing, we’re really good at throwing personal growth conferences… just ask anybody who’s been to Rise. And for another, we have some pretty strong best-practices which have led us to being super happily married after sixteen years together. I’m sure there are all sorts of books that dive into relationship advice but if you ask me and Dave, these seven things are at the heart of a great romantic relationship no matter how long you’ve been together.

Friendship – We are best friends and we’ve built our marriage around the idea that we are friends first, married second. Friendships are fun and exciting and they give you energy. We pursue our friends and show up for our friends and if you treat your partner as your friend first you’ll be surprised at how much lighter it feels.

Sex – We’re going to go ahead and list this one right off the top because frankly, there aren’t enough people talking about how to navigate intimacy in a healthy, fun, empowering way. We’re big believers in fighting hard for a great sex life— if you read my book Girl, Wash Your Face then you know it took us about five years of really bad sex (where I was super uncomfortable with my body and the intimacy) to get to a place where it was great. So as embarrassing as it might be for me, we’re going to talk about the importance of a great sex life at our conference. 

Communication – This topic has been mentioned so often people tend to breeze right past it but it’s truly the core of a great relationship. How do you get past hurt feelings? How do you tell your partner what you need? How do you tell them how to please you? How do you learn to really listen to their hopes and needs and desires in return? Communication is key.

Team Work – Walking through a tough or trying season can make or break a relationship. The question becomes– when you’re walking through something tough does it make you think “it’s me and my partner against the world!” OR does the problem make you attack each other instead? A great relationship is a team at heart. You’re there to support and empower each other so you can take on your hopes and dreams together.

Core Values – What are the core values of your relationship? Have you discussed them? What are the things that matter most to you? What will take precedence over everything else? When couples feel like they’re stuck or trapped in a rut, it’s often because they don’t know their values and so they can’t pursue them.

Intentionality – Do you still date each other? Do you still make an effort to send sweet notes or call to say I love you? Do you plan out your week to ensure that you have enough time for each other and as individuals? You have to be intentional about your relationship if you want it to thrive.

Personal growth – It might surprise you to hear that we think working on yourself personally is a key component to showing up well for your relationship. It’s essential. We are dedicated to growing as a couple by supporting each other as individuals in working out, eating well, getting time with friends, self-care, etc.

Want to hear more from us!? Be sure to tune into The Start Today Morning Show with Dave and Rach every weekday at 8am on Instagram + Facebook.