My motto for 2016 is self-improvement (well, really August 2016 – May 2017 because I will always think in terms of a school calendar). Improving my mental and emotional state, improving the state of my marriage, improving the state of my faith, and improving the state of my wardrobe (duh). This year is all about making me the best version of myself, and I hope my readers are also the kind of people that want to be their very best too. So let’s start with a little marriage advice, shall we?
Recently, Parker and I celebrated 3 years of marriage in August. If you’re not married, you probably think thats hardly an accomplishment. If you’re married, you probably can understand it’s a freakin’ milestone. Marriage is the greatest adventure of my life, and undoubtedly the hardest. I am in no way a marriage expert, but it’s something I’m passionate about.
So today, I’m getting downright honest and sharing 3 pieces of practical marriage advice for my seriously engaged couples, engaged couples, and newlyweds about what to EXPECT when you’re EXPECTING (a husband, that is).
#1: Joint bank accounts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Please don’t interpret this incorrectly. I’m all about having shared finances that are transparent to both parties- I mean heck, what’s yours is mine right?! (And let’s be honest, my husband DEFINITELY makes more than I do, so this plays to my favor for sure). What I mean is men and women spend money differently, and it’s in your best interest to take this truth to heart.
Basically our first months of marriage consisted of incessant arguments concerning how we chose to spend money. I could not understand how Parker could spend hundreds of dollars on fishing gear and hunting trinkets but wouldn’t spring to buy himself a new pair of jeans. Parker couldn’t fathom how in the world I justified spending over $100 on some Sam Edelman “flip flops” (for the record, they were sandals). So what did we do?
Drumroll please… Separate fun money accounts! We automatically transfer a set amount of “fun money” from our joint checking account each month into our separate accounts. That way, I can spend my money however I like and Parker can do the same. Neither of us are secretly tallying up in our heads how much the other is spending on what we might deem as frivolous. We both know we are spending the same amount of money. And of course, we both have access to view each other’s accounts. Nothing shady goin’ on over here!
#2: Sometimes, it’s better to just “get over it” than “get into it”. Okay, hear me out. If you know me, you know that I do not shy away from confrontation. In fact, sometimes I enjoy confrontation a little too much. What I’m saying is, make sure it’s worth it, and you not just selfishly wanting another W in your win column.
For example, one of my biggest pet peeves about Parker- he leaves his dirty boxers, undershirt, and socks in a pile on the side table in our bedroom EVERY. FREAKIN. NIGHT. It’s like clockwork. It got so bad that I finally sold the side table that he would set them on and replaced it with a floor length mirror, thinking that might naturally resolve the problem. You know, cut him off from the source. Nope, now he just throws them in a pile IN FRONT OF the mirror. I have probably complained and thrown tantrums about this for all 3 years of our marriage. It literally drives me crazy. Mostly because I’m a neat freak, but also, the laundry hamper is like 15 feet away! I mean, c’mon…
But finally about a month ago, I had an epiphany. Parker leaving his laundry on the floor was not forcing our marriage into crisis mode. If anything, my irrational frustration would probably have been the catalyst there. Truthfully, I totally lucked out because Parker is an innately “clean” person. So why could I not just let this go? Because I’m selfish and I want to win.
So if you want to end up in the 50% that don’t get divorced, you need to learn this lesson fast. Marriage is not about winning. It’s about putting the human being whom you have chosen to love and serve for the rest of your days before yourself. So yes, sometimes, it’s just better to get over it than pick a fight of no significance (insert toilet seat up, dirty dishes in the sink, not taking trash out annoyance here).
#3: Don’t ask questions- just provide the candle. I did not grow up with brothers. I grew up in an estrogen-induced home that smelled of roses and Garnier Fructis. And let me tell you, I was not prepared for the bathroom routines of the male species. When they go in, don’t expect to see them for 30 minutes. It’s “his” time. Time to catch up on his Fantasy stats, play stupid phone games that he’s embarrassed to play in public, and frankly, just have a break from the nagging wife (except for me, I never nag). So ladies, just give them the thirty minutes. The trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond can wait. But you’ll definitely be thankful for that candle.
Now that you’ve learned how to be a better wife, treat yourself to a little shopping.
P.S. If you are looking for a great pre-marital counseling, I highly recommend Merge at Watermark Community Church. Parker and I not only went through it ourselves, but we have served as mentor couples as well.
Vest: Sold Out (similar here, here, and here) || Shirt: Nordstrom || Jeans: old (similar here under $35)|| Shoes: Bloomingdales (similar here and here under $100)|| Earrings: Nordstrom || Watch: c/o Christian Paul (similar here $25 or here $37| Nail Color: Essie
Photography by Beckley & Co.