In the meager four months and two days that my husband and I have been married, I have learned a few essential things. One, the dishes don't have to be done every day. Two, waffles should be just slightly crisp and have lots of chocolate chips. Three, whiteboards are the stuff that happy marriages are made of.

Joining your lives means joining your schedules and this can be a tough adjustment for newlyweds. On a prominent wall in our home, my husband and I have several whiteboards. These whiteboards display a monthly calendar, weekly calendar, to-do lists, goals, and so on. We use them in conversations about how our home is run. We update them regularly. And because they are easy to see, both of us know what our plans are.

Keeping a few basic principles in mind, you'll be able to make the calendar work for, instead of against, you.


My husband is a graduate student, so his life is a flurry of tests, homework, meetings and research. I ask every day how his day went and find out what the next day is going to be like. This not only helps him to feel my concern and support, but also informs me of anything that belongs on our calendars.

Regular conversations about your family's activities prove to be essential. If you don't know what's happening, you can't track it! Ask each family member about his or her recurring tasks and upcoming appointments on a weekly basis. Set goals to spend time together and prevent over scheduling  If your list of obligations grows so long that you can't enjoy each other, it's time to have a conversation about decreasing it.

Write It Down

Writing things down prevents redundant conversations and angst about forgetting things. Figure out what works best for you and your spouse. Do you find yourself making lists often? Do you like to hang a calendar and glance over it periodically? Looking at your already established patterns can help you discover what organizational tool will integrate most easily into your life.

Use a monthly calendar for appointments and a blank board for to-do items. These lists combine on our weekly calendar, allowing us to plan what tasks we'll accomplish in the next seven days without interfering with scheduled appointments. We also post our goals for the month, which allows us to prioritize our tasks. If kids are thrown in the mix, consider a color-coding for each person.

Look at It Often

Once you have written down each family member's activities, display your handiwork somewhere that everyone can see it all the time. This promotes communication about any changes that occur while reminding everyone of their responsibilities.

There are many ways to promote your lists and calendars into your décor while still providing an easy reference. Try picture frames or decorative papers. Dry-erase markers both write and erase on glass exactly like they would on a whiteboard.

By communicating often and writing things down in a prominent place, you'll get more done and have less stress. Productivity and smiles make for a great marriage.

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