You hold the key to everything you want for your marriage, your family and your life.

In this post, I’d like to share with you how to make it happen.

We hear often about the many ways to improve your marriage.

You might hear that it’s all about open communication, a healthy handling of money, a strong faith life, great physical fitness, regular sex.

Download This One Powerful Tip to Instantly Deepen Your Commmunication

No doubt, these are all parts of a good marriage.  If you could simply snap your fingers and instantly have them, life would be grand.

Of course, the reality is that you already feel way too stretched for time – you work a demanding job, you may have children to take care of, there are bills to pay this week and shopping to get done before Christmas (and more bills to follow).

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and you haven’t even considered doing anything fun and fulfilling with your husband or wife.

It can all seem a bit daunting.  Trust me, you are not alone in your desire to do more and have more and enjoy more in your married life.

So, What CAN You Do When You’re So Busy?

I’d like you to read a little list and consider for just a moment that this describes your life.

Now, there are surely things on this list that you have no interest in doing, so just replace that item with something that’s important to you.

  • You have a happy marriage and you’re excited about your future together.
  • You have small children who respect you and love to play with you.
  • You are involved with many activities alongside your kids.
  • You are fulfilled at work and receive praise from your boss for the growth you’ve brought to your company.
  • You often visit family and friends and enjoy at least one great vacation each year.
  • You feel connected to God, and your children are actively learning your faith.
  • You give freely of your time, talent and treasure to community-building organizations that you believe in.
  • You are debt-free and have a fully funded emergency fund.
  • You have written two books that share your message with the world.
  • You have started two side businesses that each generate five figures of revenue each year.
  • You are in the best physical condition of your life, and you just ran an endurance race that you’ve dreamed of completing.
  • You read lots of interesting and inspiring books.
  • You are in control of your time, and you wake up each day full of motivation and clear focus.
  • You have a Mission in life and you are making steady progress at achieving it.

That’s a lot of great stuff, right?!?

Well, that’s a partial list of the things I’ve accomplished in the last three years.

I don’t say that to brag at all – and trust me when I say that my life used to be a basic mess with NO chance to accomplish these kinds of goals (more on that in my next post).

No, I share this only to show you what’s possible in your own life and in your own marriage.  The opportunities ahead of you are amazing.

Here’s How to Have the Marriage of Your Dreams

Now, you might look at that list of accomplishments and see many items that aren’t related to marriage.  Health, spiritual life, money…what gives?

Our lives are holistic.  What you do in one area of your life impacts all other areas of your life.  And this is never more true than in your marriage.

Everything in your life affects your marriage.  And your marriage impacts every aspect of your life.

Please take a moment to consider that fact.  It’s super important and it holds a lot of promise for you and your spouse.

So here’s the big secret – the key to an amazing marriage is a little something called personal improvement.

When you improve yourself, you’ll improve your marriage and all aspects of your family life .  This is especially true when you accomplish a big goal in an area that you’re currently struggling with.

  • You lose 50 pounds – and you’re more energetic, full of self-confidence and just happy – don’t you think your husband would notice?
  • You pay off all of your credit cards – and you finally have money leftover at the end of the month for date night – wouldn’t that mean the world to your wife?
  • You get control of your hectic schedule and set aside 15 minutes each and every day to sit down and talk – how much more intimacy would you both enjoy in your marriage each night?

Take a moment to consider an area of your life that you’d like to improve, and you’ll quickly realize that your marriage will be better when you make that positive change.

Sounds Great, But…

Hopefully, you recognize the power of improving yourself and what it means to your marriage and family.  But the real question is HOW to actually make it happen.

Again, you are busy and maybe you’ve tried to make a similar change in the past and failed.  New Year’s resolutions, anyone?

Here’s the best news of all.  You really can make the change you want, and I’m going to help you.

The basic process is actually really simple.  In fact, I’m going to lay it out for you in 5 simple steps right now.

 5 Simple Steps to Success

1. Assess & Choose

One key to personal improvement is to focus on one area of your life at a time…just one.  So in the first step, you’ll want to assess where you are in all six areas of your life, then pick the one you want to enjoy more success in first.

2. The Big Why

Before you jump into making a change, it’s vital that you first get your mindset in the right place and drill down why this is such a good thing for you and your marriage.  This makes it easy to stay motivated and stick to your plan.

3. Get SMART

Simply put, this is goal setting on steroids.  When you set goals the right way, you’ll be making progress right away and enjoying every small (and large) victory from day one.

4. Master Your Time

This is my favorite part.  By applying a few “time-tested” strategies, you will enjoy much more time and margin in your life.  I still remember the first time I did this and felt my stress level drop almost immediately (more on that later).

5. Do It for Life

Meeting even the most amazing goal is pretty worthless if you go right back to your old ways.  The good news is that living intentionally and making your new accomplishment a habit in your life is really straightforward (and kinda fun).

That’s simple enough, right?  This is totally something that you can accomplish, and you’re going to be so thankful when you do.

This is the general framework for how to accomplish anything you want in your life, and it’s been proven to work time and time again.

In fact, when applied the right way, you can meet life-changing goals in as little as 30 days.

Please be sure to check back to read our next post, because I’m going to share more details about how to put these 5 simple steps into action in your life so you can accomplish exactly what matters most to you.  This is powerful information.

And I’ll share a personal story that I’ve never revealed on this blog before to show you what’s possible.

Take the First Step Right Now

In the meantime, I really want to hear from you in the comments to this post.  By sharing below, you’ll not only start to make your goal a reality in your own life, but you’ll inspire thousands of others to take a minute to think and share what matters most to them and their marriage.

Do yourself a favor and take a minute to consider where you’d most like to Improve Yourself in 2013.  Then share your goal in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, take it to heart and share your goal with this amazing community!  Please click the “Like” button to the left to share this with your friends and invite them over to leave a comment as well.

Want to see the rest of the posts in this series? Here you go!

1. The #1 Key to an Amazing Marriage & Life

2. My Journey from an Overwhelmed Ball of Stress to a Happy & Super Productive Husband

3. How to Do More of What Matters In Your Life

Are You Ready to Enjoy More Quality Time?

I am excited to let you know that our new course “Time to Thrive” is now available for you!  You can click here to go check out all the details for yourself and get signed up to learn how you can enjoy an extra hour of quality time each day.

Time to Thrive



About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. Great post and a great list of achievements. I’m similarly driven to always try for new accomplishments, to work hard and to play hard. We get our kicks knowing we’ve given it our all. So today I’d like to take your challenge and state that this year we are both going to become fluent in Spanish! We’re working at it together at weekends but we want to step it up and it’s a great way for us to spend time together and achieve it together. So that’s what we’re going all out to do so that it opens the door for the possibility of living abroad in the new year.

    As I side point I wrote yesterday about an interesting research article I came across which kept track of close to 400 marriages from 1986. The results showed that if the wife had a close relationship with the mother in law the chances of divorce increased by 20% against the control whereas if the husband had a close relationship with the inlaws the divorce rate dropped 20% against the control! Go figure. So it seems, if stats are to be believed, that you also need to consider that as part of a happy marriage. But then, to quote that great thinker Homer Simpson, “86% of all statistics are made up, 75% of people know that.”

    Wishing you and all your readers a very happy married new year!

    1. Hi Grace!

      I’m excited to hear that you’re learning Spanish, and doing it together. It sounds like you’re off to a great start, and I hope the tips in this series will help you step it up so you can get fluent fast. 🙂

      Thanks also for sharing those stats, which are really interesting. And I love the Homer Simpson quote!


  2. I loved your post. I am a counselor, and have been married to my honey for 41 years. Our marriage is happy and healthy. Recently I’ve chosen to change my eating habits to mostly whole food vegan. At 62 I think I need to focus on my health. My family has a history of heart disease and cancer. I would like to be married longer so I ‘m taking better care of me. I feel much better, lighter, with more energy. I think my husband will like that.
    I am trying new recipes to see what our family likes, so that we can all gradually learn healthier habits. In working with couples, I have found that self improvement is the way to go. We can only control our own behavior. When we are at our best we are inspiring and fun to be with. We have more energy for sharing and caring.

    1. Hi Harpjay,

      Thanks for the kind words about this post. I love hearing about your happy and healthy marriage after 41 years of going strong – that’s fantastic!

      I know you’re going to enjoy big benefits by focusing on your own health in the new year, and as you know, your husband will benefit as well from the healthier, happier you.

      Keep in touch!


  3. I have lost 25 kg in 2012. I feel healthier and has less arthritis pains. (I also eliminated certain foods)
    My goal for 2013 is to start my own vegetable garden.
    My husband laughs and say it is not going to happen! Hope I can show him.

    1. Thanks Marie!

      Congratulations on getting so much healthier in 2012, that’s really fantastic.

      I think the idea of creating your own vegetable garden is really intriguing, and I bet your husband will enjoy the “fruits” of your labor when you meet that goal. Does he have any big goals for 2013? I hope that you can support each other and have a new year to remember!


  4. Great post, Dustin. Both my husband and I are starting new businesses in the New Year. I am currently a full-time stay-at-homeschooling Mama who is starting a Life Coaching business. My husband is currently a full-time VP of Operations who is starting a Professional Consulting business.

    My intention for 2013 is that our shared passion for being of service and our shared experience of business building will cultivate a deeper connection in our marriage.

    1. Thanks much, Kimberly. I’m really excited to hear about your Life Coaching business and your husband’s new consulting business. It sounds like an amazing time of opportunity for you both.

      As a life coach, I’m sure you can attest to the power and value of planning strategically in all areas of your life. And I love how you recognize the connection between where you’re heading with your careers and how it benefits your relationship.


  5. Dustin,
    Loved the post. After putting it off for several years, I finally decided to do something about my weight. I have lost 70 lbs since July 2012. My goal for 2013 is to lose 30 more and maintain a healthy lifestyle. My wonderful wife and I started Thrive90 a few months ago, and we love it. Not only are we enjoying the workouts, but the recreational intimacy has been great for our marriage. I really enjoy Engaged Marriage, Fit Marriage, and Tony & Alisa’s One Extraordinary Marriage. So from another Catholic guy who is proud of his faith as well: Keep up the great work!


    1. Hi Dave!

      Wow, I’m SO excited to hear about the impact that Thrive90 is having in your life both physically and in your marriage. That’s what it’s all about!

      It’s amazing to hear that you’ve already lost 70 pounds this year, and I can’t wait to hear how you’re feeling when you shed that last 30 pounds in the New Year. And you’re right – the real key is to make this your new lifestyle (Simple Step #5 in the post).

      Stay tuned to this series because I think I’ll have more to say that will be a help to you on this journey.


  6. I love the list of the things you have accomplished, very inspiring! I’m blessed with an awesome and supportive husband – we are very excited about our future and the future of our family. I want to continue with my Beachbody business and really make something of it in 2013. I hope to keep doing what we are doing, making small, but positive changes that stick!

    1. Thank you, Jen. I really appreciate your kind words about the list I included – I know that provides a risk of sounding like I’m bragging, but you picked up on the real intent. I just wanted to show what was possible when you create a clear vision, set smart goals and take small actions each day – it’s a lot more than I would have dreamed I could do!

      You’re doing great with your Beachbody business, and I’ll be here to support you in meeting your goals for 2013.


  7. Great post – I like the connection between improving yourself and improving your marriage. It’s so simple and, yet makes so much sense. My goals are to continue with my wight loss; find a way to take care of my children financially (from home), and marry a man who’s interested in a God-centered marriage. Tall order 🙂

    1. Thanks, Heather!

      You really inspire me. I know you’ve had some tough times, but you have an amazing attitude and I know you’re going to realize each one of the goals you noted. It is a tall order, but you have what it takes and all things are possible with God. 🙂

      Thanks again,

  8. Great post Dustin!

    I will have to say that one my big goals for me in 2013 is to be more productive. I hear so many folks talking about how they have their morning routine and yet I can’t seem to gt mine on track. I guess the big reason is that the morning is the time I like to get on my bike and go for a ride. After that the day gets going and I don’t have this time set aside.

    You’ve suggested a fantastic podcast, Beyond the To-Do List and that has been great. It’s giving me many ideas and now it is time to put those in an actionable system that works for me.

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Thanks, Tony. The morning routine is absolutely vital, and for many (including me) it’s the key to a productive day. When I get in a funk, I can always look at my mornings and see what’s going on.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcasts and the other resources I’ve recommended for you. I’m excited to see what 2013 will bring for you and Alisa and your work at ONE. Thank YOU for all that you are doing to benefit marriages throughout the world.


    1. Thanks, JimmyV!

      It looks like we have a lot in common after looking over your blog. You’ll love the feeling of getting that emergency fund in place!

      Keep in touch,


  9. Pingback: My Journey from an Overwhelmed Ball of Stress to a Happy & Super Productive Husband | Engaged Marriage
  10. Hi Dustin,
    I enjoyed reading your post and I was glad to find that your advice to a great marriage was “personal development”. Over the past year I invested a lot of time and effort on self development, reading books, writing a journal, getting a coach, etc.. And I really saw huge improvements, so I agree with you.
    Except that at this point I don’t feel my marriage is benefiting well, so I need to take action. I just found out about your book (the 15 minute marriage makeover), read the sample on my Kindle and decided to go ahead with it.
    So starting now I’m booking 15 minutes in our calendars daily and will commit to be intentional about improving our marriage, by following all your exercises. We used to have a weekly chat every sunday and found it extremely useful but somehow we lost the habit, so I’m sure I’ll see great benefits from your tips. Will keep you posted 🙂
    On another note, Do you have more details somewhere about your 5 steps, I am not sure I understand them fully?

    1. Hello in Switzerland, Christelle! Your site is great – I share a love for marketing and design, and I see you have a mechanical engineering background (I’m civil), very cool!

      You bring up a fantastic point. There are certainly some areas of personal development that we can focus on that don’t necessarily (directly) benefit our marriage. Like anything, the intention behind what we’re doing is really what’s most important.

      However, have you stopped to consider that your actions in self improvement over the past year opened your eyes to how much more is possible in your marriage? And NOW you’re pursuing specific help in that area…without the self improvement, you very well could just be sitting by idly and not doing anything to proactively improve your relationship. But you are, which is fantastic!

      I am 100% confident that you and your husband will find a lot of value in your 15 Minutes together. I’d love to hear your feedback after you get in the groove and get through some of the book!

      Thanks for asking about the 5 steps also. If you didn’t see the follow up post to this one (linked at the end of this article), be sure to check that out and the third and final post in the series tomorrow where we’ll walk through a case study.

      Honestly, if I explained the 5 steps appropriately, I’d have to write a new book, and the best way to experience the process is really to be lead through it. I’m going to be leading a group to do just that to kick off the new year. Please stay tuned for details!


      P.S. – If you haven’t already, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss the announcements coming over the next week. 🙂

      1. Thanks for your response Dustin. I’ve just seen the new post about the Go Improve Yourself program, I’l definitely stay tuned to the announcement.

  11. Pingback: How to Do More of What Matters In Your Life (and a contest) | Engaged Marriage
  12. Hey everyone,

    Thanks again for sharing all of your fantastic goals for 2013. I’d like to help you achieve them, and I encourage you to check out my new Go Improve Yourself program.

    The doors for enrollment just opened –

  13. Pingback: My Journey from an Overwhelmed Ball of Stress to a Happy & Super Productive Husband | Engaged Marriage
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