As of February 2017, I have been married for two years. To call these two years eventful would be an understatement. I am a completely different person than I was when I said, “I do”, and My husband and I have been through more than some couples twice our age. There has been a lot of growth, apologies, and tears along the way, but I wouldn’t trade my marriage or this life for anything.
I live for the moments where my husband and I just sit in silence with each other. We have been through so much that we understand each other even when we aren’t expressing ourselves in words. It’s honestly kind of weird, but I guess it’s a part of growing with each other.
We have learned so much about ourselves and one another in the past two years. Marriage has been the most rewarding thing that I have ever done and I thought it would be fun to tell you what life has taught me about marriage and money.
Things Don’t Always Go As Planned
When I got married, I had our lives, at least for the next five years, planned. I had every detail laid out in this perfect plan of mine. We would pay off all of our debt by the time we turned 30, have our first child in two years, and save 20% for a down payment on our home. You know, the things that responsible adults want out of life.
Fast forward six months into our marriage and ‘life’ blows through like a hurricane. My husband who had been perfectly healthy until now was diagnosed with a brain condition and would need surgery. You have to be kidding, right? WRONG!
We had no savings for this type of medical emergency, but we had to roll with the punches. We quickly learned that this is life. Things happen. Plans change. In the words of OutKast, “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.”
A Little Understanding Goes A Long Way
My husband and I were raised differently while growing up. This doesn’t mean that one way is better than the other, but what it does mean is that we are both accustomed to doing things the way that we were taught.
When we got married, we had to see each other’s saving and spending habits first hand. Of course, we had talked about these things before, but seeing bank statements month after month made it real. We found out very quickly which one of us was the saver and which one the spender.
We eventually came to the point where we began to ask questions and learn from each other. the simple act of understanding WHY we do the things we do has helped us improve our marriage and grow our bank account. It also opened the lines of communication without judgment. If your spouse asks you why you do things a certain way, be honest with them. This is their way of trying to understand you better.
Communication Is The Key To A Great Marriage
I’m sure you have heard this one time and time again. There is a reason for that. It works! There is no way to understand your partner if you do not communicate. My husband and I made a promise to each other that we would not go to sleep angry. This means that whatever the issue is, we must talk about it and settle the disagreement before we get ready for bed. Life is too short to live in a house with someone that you cannot communicate with.
If you are having trouble opening the lines of communication with your partner, you may need to learn their love language. Check out The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This is a great read for individuals, but you will get a lot out of it if you and your partner read it together. It is also a great conversation starter.
You Will Make Mistakes
Let’s face it, marriage is a “learn as you go” adventure. There will always be times where you say or do the wrong things. Maybe you spent too much money on shoes or forgot to clean the kitchen. No matter how big or small the issue is, mistakes should be forgiven.
Most of the time, mistakes are unintentional. Do not beat yourself up for making mistakes. Take the time to hear your partner out and become aware of how your actions made them feel. Be open-minded about the situation and learn from it. Mistakes are just bumps in the road, do not let them derail your marriage.
Money Does Matter
Money is a very sensitive subject, especially for married couples. The money conversation seems to be easier if you have a lot of money, but that is not the case for many of us. Before my husband and I got married, we attended Financial Peace University at our local church. This opened the lines of communication for us and set the tone for how we would handle money in our marriage.
It does not matter how much money you or your spouse make, it matters that the two of you are on the same page with how you handle your finances. If you would like to learn more about money and marriage, pick up your copy of One Bed, One Bank Account by Derek Olsen. This is a great read that breaks down finances for married couples.
Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
My husband and I both come from family-oriented households. Both of our families are always having gatherings and it is impossible for us to attend all of the events that we would like. Holidays get very tricky and will only get more tricky when we eventually have children.
We had to learn to compromise on where we would spend the holidays in a way that was fair and took the other person’s thoughts into consideration. Our current arrangement is to spend Thanksgiving with his family because they have a big celebration. We spend Christmas with my family since I love hosting our annual Christmas party. This is hard to execute sometimes because, of course, we would love to see both of our families at both holidays, but this is our way to compromise and it works for us.
Forgive And Forget
I know that it is easy to tell someone to forgive and forget. In reality, it is very hard to forgive someone for hurting you and completely forget what they did. When you get married, forgiveness is something that will have to work at daily. You have to remember that you live with this person, so holding a grudge makes for a very tense household.
Once you tell your spouse that you forgive them for something, do not bring up the issue again. There is nothing worse than the person that you love holding something over your head. Walking on eggshells in your own home can be exhausting. The only way to avoid this is to forgive and forget.
You Are Partners In Crime
When you get married you have your very own partner in crime. The two of you will accomplish your goals and live out your dreams together. The things that you do, good or bad, are a reflection of each other. The biggest thing to remember is that the two of you are a team. Keep your personal life personal.
Do not involve family members or friends in your disagreements. The thing is, your spouse is YOUR partner in crime. Your family and friends will not forgive your partner the way that you will. After things are said and done and the two of you are able to move on, your family and friends may not be able to let the issue go. You do not want anyone holding a grudge against your partner. Do not put yourself in the position to have to defend your spouse against family and friends.
Situations Change, People Change
When I got married, I just knew that marriage would be a breeze. I felt like we knew each other so well that nothing would change after we said our vows. Well, I have now been married for two years and both of us are completely different people than we were as an engaged couple.
After marriage, you will find yourself doing things that you never dreamed of doing. Your views on a lot of things and your outlook on life will also change drastically. Transitioning from being in a relationship to being in a marriage is a bit like culture shock.
You have to adapt to a new role and restructure your priorities. Marriage is new and exciting in the beginning. It will eventually become the norm. As you and your spouse get to know each other on a deeper level and settle into your marriage, change is bound to occur. Do not get upset if your spouse begins to change. Change often equals growth and you do not want to hinder that. The best way to accept the changes that come with life and marriage is to embrace them.
Marriage Is Amazing
The most important thing that life has taught me is that marriage is amazing. You can’t beat living with your best friend for the rest of your life. You are going to go through things, but you will not go through them alone. The dates and inside jokes are never-ending and the love is everlasting.
To me, the fun aspect of marriage outweighs anything else. If you ever feel that you are losing the spark in your marriage, try to relax and have some fun. Life is too short to have a boring marriage. Put down the electronics, enjoy your spouse, and enjoy your marriage.
The Bottom Line
This whole marriage thing is a learning experience and it doesn’t come with a training manual. Life is going to throw you a ton of curve balls. Sometimes your bank account will look disappointing and you may want to throw in the towel. Don’t do it! You’re going to make mistakes, but you should learn from them instead of dwell on them. It is interesting to learn from other couples, but ultimately you have to learn from each other and do what works for your marriage. Feed off of the energy of your partner and continuously grow together.
Let me know what life has taught you about marriage and money in the comments! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter for deeper conversations and exclusive content.