In Finances, Fitness and Life, Together We Stand, Divided We Fail


Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

Over the weekend Vonnie and I watched the movie “This is 40″ with a group of friends.   I won’t give away many of the details of the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, but the plot revolves around the fact that the two main characters are about to reach that milestone age of 40. The movie focuses on the changes that go on in people’s lives as they move into middle age, and their reaction to those changes.  I cannot confirm or deny that both Vonnie and I may or may not be reaching this milestone age this year, but let’s just say we could identify with the movie.

There were many things in the movie that struck home for me, but one specific thing that struck a nerve was that the couple had completely separate financial lives.  The wife ran a seemingly successful clothing store that was the source of financial support for the family.  The husband owned a record label that was failing miserably. Yet they didn’t seem to know anything about the state of what the other was doing.

They were failing at communicating and as a result, their finances as a couple were failing.

This reminded me so much of Vonnie and I for much of our married life. I completely handled the finances, and repeatedly told her that everything was fine even as I allowed our spending to be wildly out of control. We were not on the same page, and much like the couple in the movie, we failed miserably.  Fortunately for us, over the last 4 years we have worked tirelessly to improve that.  It has required a lot of trial and error, countless arguments, and a lot of change by both of us.  But within the last 6 months have we really found our rhythm.

Together we are succeeding.

The awesome thing about working as a team is that once you learn how to do it, you can apply it towards just about any challenge.  I have been consistently exercising 6-7 days a week  for over two years now.   Quite honestly, it’s become an obsession.  I have gotten into the habit of waking up at 4:20am and going to the gym before anyone else in my house would even wake up.  On the other hand, over the same period of time, Vonnie has been trying unsuccessfully to become more healthy. She has been going through swings of inconsistent exercising, and completely doing nothing.   She tried getting up and going to the gym early with me, but getting up that early just isn’t in her.

Separately we were failing to achieve our goal of being a healthy couple.

A few weeks ago, she had a very honest discussion with me about wanting to do something about her health, but she needed my help.   She believed that if she could somehow tap into my motivation and dedication that she could also be successful.  Knowing that getting to the gym at 5:00am was not a workable option for her,  I decided to change my routine, and go with her to the gym after work.  It has been a very tough transition for me, as being the “crazy guy that gets up early and works out” had slowly become part of my identity, almost like a badge of honor.  But as a team, we have worked out almost every single day. It has been getting easier for me, and Vonnie seems as motivated as ever.

Together we are succeeding.

I can feel our successes building on each other.  As we succeed at getting to the gym together, I feel our confidence building  to continue on our journey to become a healthy and happy couple both physically and financially.

Do you find that you and your significant other work better individually, or as a team?

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20 Responses to “In Finances, Fitness and Life, Together We Stand, Divided We Fail”

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  1. Mackenzie says:

    Love this post Travis!!

    I think it’s sweet that you are working out with your wife. And I also like that you are helping her with getting healthy. For me and my hubby, it’s the opposite. I am the healthy eater and the exerciser, and I have been helping him. We are a team! 🙂

    • Travis says:

      That’s awesome to hear, MacKenzie! It always helps to have someone to lean on and draw support from. How about with finances, do you and your hubs work as a team? Is one of you financially “stronger” than the other?

  2. It’s so great you work as a team! This is what I believe in and I always remember to be grateful in my relationship. Me and my boyfriend try to motivate each other every day, he’s a great work-out buddy and the best rock climbing partner I could ask for. When you do things together this success tastes better, doesn’t it? 😉

    • Travis says:

      I LOVE rock climbing, Shovellicious, that’s something I’d like to do more of. I like to hear the phrase “motivate each other” – it’s great when both people in a relationship get support and encouragement! You’re absolutely right, success together is definitely sweet…..and it also forms a bond that is a foundation for achieving greater and greater things!

  3. David says:

    Me and my girlfriend recently started doing Insanity together. My girlfriend is in much better shape than me because she’s a runner so I try keeping up with her. All in all, working out with your significant other is a lot of fun and is a very productive activity!

    • Travis says:

      I agree, David – accomplishing something with your significant other helps strengthen your relationship. Do you and your girlfriend work as a team with your finances, or are they still completely separate?

  4. Wonderful to see such open communication. Every relationship could use more of the same attitude!

  5. Wisdom all over this post, Travis!!!! It’s SO important that couples work together and lift each other up, whether it be in finances, working out, or whatever. It’s called TEAMwork, and it works wonderfully when people stop thinking about “me” and start thinking about “us”. We’re right there with you and Vonnie, and it’s wonderful!

    • Travis says:

      That’s the toughest thing about marriage – replacing “Me” with “We.” We ALWAYS comes first – I’m honored to be following you and your family’s journey, Laurie – glad to hear you’re on the same path!

  6. Awesome post! I have a buddy system when I really need to be motivated to do something. Works like a charm!

  7. HAha, oh man, how did you ever bring that up with her? “Um honey, I’d like to help you with your physical execise health.” Hahaha, my wife would kill me! Good on ya though man, for helping her out and being a team about it. How come you can’t still get up and workout early and then workout after work too? Maybe just be less tough on yourself during each workout. Then you’re not losing your identity.

    • Travis says:

      Well, TB, actually she brought it up (I have no idea how I would ever start off that conversation….). Working out twice a day just doesn’t work time wise for me – but I did think about it. 🙂

  8. That is awesome how you reach goals together. I find the longer I am married “my” goals melt into “our” goals.

    • Travis says:

      True story, Brent….but I do think it’s really important for people in a relationship to have something that is uniquely “Theirs.” Working out in the early morning was mine – but I’m happy to give it up in order to help my wife achieve her goals.

  9. cjb says:

    Love that you are working out with your wife!

    My husband and I opposits….in just about everything except money now (It took us a while to get to that money part). We are on different time cycles. Communication is email and text. Thank God for google chat. We have to cheer each other own through email or text messages or even phone calls.

    When it comes to work events, we take off and go to be with the other. Nothing can really be spur of the moment unless it’s on his off time and it’s after work for me. But we’ve learned over the course of a couple years to make it work and it does.

    • Travis says:

      Wow, cjb – trying to get on the same page with finances (or anything else in marriage for that matter) is hard enough when you’re in the same physical space, I can’t imagine doing it on opposite time schedules. Goes to show you, where there’s a will there’s a way – Kudos to you! Do you talk about finances through google chat too?

  10. Moni says:

    Hi – this is the perfect article for me today. My hubby and I having been struggling to get insync with each other financially for years – his contribution was to order me to stop spending but didn’t want to be part of getting to the bottom of why financially we were suffering from “Death By A Thousand Cuts” or part of the process of changing each small area of our life. Unfortunately I put this in the too hard pile and nothing changed for a couple of years, my husband became more and more angry with our financial situation. Finally we are getting it together. Hubby is starting to realise that there are more expenses involved with running a household with three teenagers than he imagined, and I am tracking every transaction in a journal that we have started reviewing together. I get the opportunity to write any extra notes ie my justifications or confession or extra data that went into the decision/transaction and I leave him some lines to write back any suggestions or comments or ask for more info.

    He doesn’t enjoy this but now understands that I need his input and support – I have likened it to trying to turn a Super Tanker around at sea, it doesn’t just turn on a dime, it takes time and distance to be pointing in the opposite direction but with all hands on deck it will happen faster.
    This journal of tracking and tracing our transactions is slowly sealing up little leaks in our finances. Hubby initially told me that they should have been all be found and sealed in the first month, until he came on board (I suspect to show me how it was done) and then realised that some money leaks take time and research to deal with and sometimes the results of changes won’t show until a month or two down the track. New ‘leaks’ show up because of seasons or just simply because it is something we haven’t had to confront so far on this journey, but we keep a seperate part of our journal for items to follow up and we cross them off as they are addressed.
    We still have a long way to go but I no longer feel like the burden, responsibility and failure is all mine. Finally I feel like we are on our way to functioning as a team. We aren’t the perfect team, and sometimes it feels as coordinated as a three-legged race but at least its a team and with practice it can surely, only improve.

    • Travis says:

      Your example of “turning a supertanker around at sea” is such a GREAT analogy, and spot on, Moni. I read through your comment several times, and it sounds like something I could have written almost word for word and have it apply perfectly to our lives.

      Your are headed in the right direction, Moni…..keep working at it with your husband and you will get there. By the end of your comment I can tell that you are starting to feel the positive effects of your efforts….and it gets SO much better. Vonnie and I just got done with our Sunday budget discussion. We made it through April together, with money added to our emergency fund – and we did it as a team. Life is so much less stressful now that we are on the same page with our finances and making all the decisions together.

      Good luck, Moni -and please stop by and let us know how you are doing from time to time!

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