How I Realized Clocks And Marriages Are Similar

couple having breakfast

If you had to compare your marriage to something, I bet you wouldn’t think it’s similar to a clock. But in many ways, it is. Here’s how clocks and marriages are similar.


by Jordan Paul | Jordan Paul, passionately passionate about all the passions…and bread, comes at you with spunk and honesty as she’s trying to balance life as a tandem-breastfeeding mom of two girls, small business owner, and non-cleaning housewife. You can find her roaming the aisles of Aldi, mindlessly humming The Alphabet. Follow her on Facebook

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When I used to take magazine quizzes as a teen to determine my love language, I scored evenly across all five. I love love in all forms: time, gifts, touch, words, and actions. Give me all of the things, in all of the ways.

So, it’s no surprise that I dated a bunch of guys who just fell short. Until…Chris. Chris is the best and if you know him, you would agree. Circa our early days of dating in 2012, his love language was action and time. Mine? Still all five. Naturally, it made total sense for our one year dating anniversary, that I walked into my house to a brand new TV, a spa day in downtown Chicago, a sentimental card, and a romantic dinner overlooking the skyline. Perfection. What did I get him?!  

A HANDMADE CLOCK. 

Yep! A Walmart clock that I disassembled, crafted with glittery cardstock and pictures of us at each hour, then reassembled for gifting. But as I was putting it back together, the glass cracked and the second hand fell off. I felt like a total idiot; presenting this stupid, broken clock to him after he gave me the most incredible weekend to-date. But what choice did I have? The immediate regret about my gift as I handed it over was eating away at my insides. Who would even want to check the time on this thing next to this beautiful new 55’ TV?! 

Fast forward ten years; we’re married now, so the clock wasn’t the demise of our relationship but it has, in some way, been the North Star of our relationship; the benchmark for all other disappointing things. 

“Today was such an exhausting day with the kids.” 

“I’m sorry; at least you didn’t have to spend it making a clock.” 

“Jordan, please keep your van clean.” 

“I am sorry; I was too busy looking at pictures to put on your next clock.” 

This year for our “copper” wedding anniversary, I decided to redeem myself and get him a beautifully crafted clock that I know he will proudly display. Nothing is broken, nothing is glittery, and the second hand actually functions. Having the ability for this “do over” got me thinking that clocks and marriage are similar. Here’s how.

1. Second Chances are important.

Can you answer this riddle, “What is right two times a day?”

Well, if you can’t that’s okay. The answer, of course, is a clock.

That second time around is just as important, if not more, than the first. I mess up a lot in my marriage. I say the wrong thing, I don’t offer support when it’s needed, or I think of my own desires instead of what’s best for the partnership. I haven’t ever done this wife thing before. I often have no clue what to do and as a result, I need a lot of second chances. Turns out, I typically need more than that.  But I’m grateful for the grace that I’m given to get it better the next time. Inevitably, I’ll get it right at least once. 

2. Two AA batteries, please.

Clocks don’t work unless you put something in them: a battery, a charge, a crank. Turns out, marriage is the same. The entire relationship works because you’re giving it life. Without the effort required to make it function, it will merely exist and serve little purpose. It may look pretty from the outside, but it’s not doing what it was intended to do. 

There have been many hours of my marriage where I’ve forgotten to “power it up.” I get swept up with my own agenda or I get exhausted because of our non-stop schedule, and the thing that suffers most is what I have neglected, and it’s the one thing that means the most to me. 

3. There are two hands for a reason.

Working together is the name of the game. On a clock, each hand has its function and they work simultaneously, perfectly. Marriage is a dance where each person contributes and it runs smoothly. Many hands make light work. For example, in my marriage, my husband does a lot of the work and it turns out to be very light for me. Kidding. We both know our strengths and use them accordingly. We work together to make our marriage something that we are both proud of- something we can both look at and realize where we are and where we are headed. 

4. Time moves without us.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. I’m not sure about you, but I’m always wishing time would move faster and also wishing it would slow down. I get to Monday and I want the week to fly, until the weekend. Then I get to the weekend, and I want it to move like cold molasses because I miss so much in between.

I get so excited about what’s to come in my life, my kids’ lives, my future with my husband, that I have a tendency to miss everything that is beautiful around me. I have to intentionally focus on the moment at hand and appreciate every season we’re in for what it is. The minutes, hours, days, and years are zipping by, regardless of my appreciation of the moments that make up the time. These seven years married have zipped by and I’ve loved taking the time to focus on each memory that’s made it what it is. 

The Takeaway

Clocks and marriages are similar, much more than I realized. Watching a clock and learning how it functions can teach all couples how to maintain and build a successful marriage. After all, a clock requires many moving parts to function, without which, it would cease to function. And that, my friends, is what marriage is all about.

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