Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Money Honey

When I was growing up, I loved to play house with my friends. We would assign who would be the "mommy", the "daddy", and the children. The children had to obey the parents, the mommy had to cook food, and the daddy had to farm or work. Traditional, I know...but there you go, we were like 7.

You know one thing children never assign when they play house? Who pays the mortgage? Who makes a budget? Who does the taxes?

Money is something we don't think about much as children. I mean I don't know, maybe now they have a Leapfrog "Do Your Own Budget" game, but not as far as I know.

Money is also something most of us think will just work itself out when we get married. I'm telling you though, it's not smart to get married without some serious and realistic talks with your honey about money.

Some things to discuss:

1)Who will earn income? How much income do you and your partner expect to be earning once you are married?

2)What kind of budget will you have together? Do each of you know how to stick to a budget?

3) How much debt will you bring into the marriage? What kinds of debt?

4) What do you and your partner like to spend money on?

5) Will you create a joint banking account? Or keep finances separate?

6) How do you each feel about credit cards? Meaning what would you use credit for, and do you usually carry a balance, or pay the balance off each month?

7) What are your long term financial goals? What are your short term ones?

Have frank discussions about money can save alot of arguments. It can also help you work as a team and come with plans, goals, and solutions together!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tips for Understanding Men

Sometimes I'm kind of like a relationship hermaphrodite. I'm a woman, but a lot of times I think like a man. It's sort of weird.

Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate, clothes, and chick flicks.....but here are some tips for you ladies...from a lady...about thinkin' like a man.

Number 1) Sometimes women talk to much. Yep. I said it. The sheer quantity of words can be so overwhelming. It's like an avalanche of words hitting my brain and my brain's only option is to allow itself to be buried alive, dig out a small air hole, and hope to live through it. I seriously think men do care about listening, but perhaps maybe we as women should edit. Less words, summarize, don't over explain. You might get a man that listens more, if you talk less.

2) If there was something interesting in my day I will most assuredly tell my spouse about it. If my day was pretty normal or bad...I will either say "fine" or "bad" to the question "How was your day?". Jake likes to talk through his day each moment by each moment. I would rather boil myself alive. Ladies, really don't take it personally. I hear that many men need alone time to regather themselves at the end of the work day. I need that too and Jake usually doesn't take it personally. If I've had some time to myself I am also more likely to listen about Jake's day...rather than glaze over and check out. And that's not nice to do.

3) Men's brains are usually like boxes. They think about the stuff in one box, then when they are done, they think about the stuff in another box. Women's brains are usually like spaghetti...everything is all linked together and thought about in a constant stream of processing. When men and women fight....men are logically going from one box to the next....while women are connecting emotions, past actions, thoughts from the newspaper they read today, that comment you made about her hair last week, ect. This is also logical...to a woman....but not to a man. If you want a man to understand all the different things that your brain can connect in a millisecond (which his brain cannot put together that fast... usually), you need to try and explain....and then let the man have a minute or twenty minutes to process it all, make sense of it in his head, and then get back to you.

Hope the tips help!

Melissa

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's date night baby~

On Friday we went to see "Date Night" with some friends. It's a new movie starring Steve Carrell and Tiny Fey. Go see it, it's so funny.

It's about a couple who have been married for a number of years, have two smaller kids, and both feel like they are hitting a rut in their relationship. When they realize they feel this way, the couple begins looking around to see what other relationships are like. They see "happy married couples" getting divorced. And other married couples making out in restaurant booths...."Who sits on the same side of the booth? It's so awkward, you can't even see each other to talk. Who does that?" (all quotes are roughly remembered from the movie)

What to do? They decide to go on a date at a fancy new restaurant in order to try and get the spice back into their relationship. It gets weird and crazy and hilarious....you will be entertained. But beyond that "Date Night" has some really truthful and honest things to say about marriage. A main theme about "sticking with it" emerged to me as I pondered more.

In the movie both Tina Fey's character and Steve Carrell's character have a really honest moment with each other in the middle of all the insane things happening to them. Phil Foster (Carrell) asks his wife Claire (Fey) if she ever fantasizes about being with someone else...he admits that he does. Cyndi Lauper. Apparently "Both young and old." And Claire admits that she fantasizes sometimes about simply being "alone in a hotel room, with no sound, and the ability to drink a diet coke without any interruptions." To which her husband responds, "Yeah, that's just sad." Ha!

I like this moment because while it was funny....the movie hit upon something really honest about marriage. It's just true that when you are with someone for a while...things can get redundant, stale, and unexciting. I feel like our culture usually tells us that this is the point where love is not there anymore, the feelings have gone, and it's time to get divorced...you have "irreconcilable differences".

But really I feel like everyone gets to this point in their marriage no matter how much you love each other. I know I have. When things get hard, or things get boring it's very easy for me to imagine that life would be so much better if I had dated this guy in college, or married that guy, or had an affair with this other man. Seriously, I'm being honest...I have those thoughts. Jake does too...I've asked him about it. It's a pretty human and normal response to imagine an easy out. Jake and I have found that it helps our relationship when we can have honest moments with each other, like the moment between the Foster's in "Date Night", where we can admit things feel stale and that one or both of us is having thoughts of leaving or wondering "what if?" I think we've found that being honest actually helps us re-affirm our commitment to each other.

I find that when I can be honest with Jake about wondering if he was the right guy to marry, it helps me confront my feelings and be realistic about them. They are realistically false. Being with someone else would have it's own problems and at a certain point I would feel bored and restless with them too. The grass is always greener from far away because distance makes things go fuzzy....it's not until you're standing on that lawn that you look down and see the bare spots, ants, and piles of dog poop.

"Date Night" is like what we want people to be when they talk about their marriages. Just pretty darn honest about everything.

The movie ends with the Fosters realizing that they might be past the "crazy in love" part of their relationship....but they really do love each other, in better and worse times, and that what's important to them is trusting each other, growing as people, growing in their relationship, and living life together. Phil Foster says to his wife, "You know, if I had the choice I'd choose you. If I had to do life all over again, I'd choose you to do it with." How sweet and how deeply true I think we all want that to be in our own marriages.

Marriage does get stale, but it gets better after that, then it gets hard, then it gets happy, then it gets stale again.....and that's just life. But if we can really stick with it, and be honest with each other through the process, man how great to have another person love you so deeply and trust you so much....that they would "choose you all over again." That's what I want out of my marriage and that's what I hope for all the marriages out there.

-Melissa

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.