The authors present a simple model for the dynamics that couple the atmospheric boundary layer and wind-generated waves. The model is empirically motivated by parameterizations for the sea state-dependent drag coefficient and sea surface roughness derived by Smith et al. from HEXOS measurements. Estimates are made for the effect the coupling dynamics has on predicted sea state parameters such as spectral wave energy and the air–sea flux of momentum. Results are verified with observations collected during the CAL/VAL experiment of Dobson and Vachon. The authors demonstrate that inclusion of the coupling dynamics systematically improves wave modeling. The effect of the coupling dynamics is particularly important for young waves in the presence of high wind speeds. A tendency to improve estimates of maximum wave heights is achieved.