Friday, October 24, 2014

My Will

There is one person in the world whose eyes quiet me. One man who untangles my spirit by sitting contently and taking in every word I say. This man is brilliant, but he doesn't force his thoughts on me. He waits for me to find my way, and he walks with me so sweetly. Patiently. Shedding light naturally, without forcing a thing.

I am so blessed with this man. It's amazing to admire someone so incredible. And to have his love in return.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Holidays, Compromise, and Denial

You know those families that have holiday traditions and can't stand to be apart for any major festivities? I have one of those. And it's amazing.

One of the things I am a little anxious about is getting married and learning to share holidays. Make no mistake, I love my fiance's family. From the very beginning they have been wonderful. But...I'm trying to change my traditions at age 31. It's kind of tough! My family has a lot of holiday traditions that I am attached to. It's hard to imagine being married and deciding where to go for the holidays.

I honestly had put that thought out of my mind since we're only engaged. I mean, engaged people don't have to share holidays. Right? *nervous pause* RIGHT?!

Then I got an invitation to Will's family Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day. The day my family always gets together.

*record scratch*

And at first I was like...

Then this...
Then this...

I guess somewhere in my mind I had blocked out the whole holiday compromising part of marriage. Well, because I thought I had another year to come to grips with it. Then it hit me in the face. Hard.

And I realized one of those adult truths that revives you from shock and nestles you into a warm, comforting hug: My family is about to get a lot bigger. And that's a good thing. All of these people that I've gotten to know over the last year and a half are going to officially be my people, too. Not just Will's people. My people. And I am really grateful about that, when I think about it.

So finally I was like...

As silly as this whole process must seem, it can be hard to change your traditions at a certain age. But I am looking forward to the traditions I'll share with Will's family and eventually with Will and our own family. So I'm going to try to, you know, open my mind a little and do Thanksgiving a new way this year. Here's to new family members and a new way of doing holidays. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Psychology of Happy Marriages

When i was in college, one of my favorite psychology professors would give life lessons based on psychological studies as a reward for being on point as a class. I loved it. One week he spoke about qualities of happy and unhappy marriages. According to studies, the number one reason couples fight is money. 

That fact has stuck with me over the years. I've already discussed that Will and I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) course together. Finances have been part of our discussion for a while. We want to keep ourselves on the same page and be positioned for a strong future.

Recently one of my friends got involved with Primerica. I'd honestly never heard of the company before my friend introduced me to it. (He actually said that Dave Ramsey got started with this company and uses some of its ideas in his own work.) My friend offered to do a free Financial Needs Analysis for us. You know, I really thought I was decent at finances, but that whole experience challenged my thinking. 

Let me pause here to say I really encourage couples to take advantage of financial education. If the number one reason you're going to fight is going to be money, be proactive by increasing your understanding of finances and making a plan to deal with it together. One thing we've come to realize is that we do not share a brain. We have to get on the same page by reading and talking things out. Otherwise, what happens? We end up making assumptions. And you know what they say about assumptions, right?

There is obviously no one company that has all the answers. As much as we were able to take from Dave Ramsey, Primerica still taught us new concepts. I'm sure there are other gurus and companies that will teach us more. So I'm not pushing any one product at you, I'm really just saying one of the best decisions we have made so far is studying finances together. Ok, back to the story.

In FPU your main focus is getting out of debt. There are other steps, sure, but you focus every spare penny to the goal of being debt-free. When we went for our Financial Needs Analysis with Primerica they talked to us about the balance between getting out of debt and using the time value of money to build savings for retirement. If you'd like to test this concept, use this calculator

Basically, the whole concept is that when you invest money and draw a return on that investment, the total available to you will grow the longer you leave the money alone. So if I invest $200/month over 10 years at a 5% rate of return I will have contributed $24,000 and gained a $7,700 return for a total of $31,700. (I'm rounding here.) On the other hand, if I were to make the same contribution, stop contributing at all after ten years, then pull the money out after 20 years have elapsed guess what my total would be? Around $51,600! 

Holy. Crap.

I realize that I'm a little old to be saying this, but I have neglected my 401k. I'll admit it. I wanted to free myself of debt before I really focused on it. And I have a graduate degree in business. Mmmkay. I admit it. I still did not heed a concept I already knew about - the time value of money. 

Again I say, I really encourage people to take advantage of financial education. Will and I are both graduate educated and still we have a long way to go in learning to deal with money. This is not a problem specific to any type of person - we all have it; however, it's amazing what you learn and how it impacts the next 30 years of your life...and your satisfaction within your marriage. They say that women naturally seek security (savings, retirement) while men are naturally more comfortable with risk (investment) and decreased savings. When you know you're prone to disagree, it's time to get educated and find your path together. 

Fun marriage articles:

Moving And Creating A Home

After getting pre-approved for a home loan, searching the local market, feeling overwhelmed, and ultimately renting a sweet little place -- Will and I officially have our future home! And we're so relieved we didn't buy...because we don't have to remodel ANYTHING!

Ain't nobody got time to plan a wedding, a honeymoon, and a house. That's all I'm saying.

Last weekend we moved Will in. You know, men and women really view moving differently. I had about two bags full of cleaner and sponges, etc. He took one look at the place and said, "It looks clean to me. What? You want to wipe down the counters?"

Oh, honey. That's cute. Real cute.

He had no idea what he was in for. Sure, he knew that I'm Type A. But there's a difference between knowing and fully experiencing that little trait. After a day and a half of wiping down every cabinet and every surface, not to mention scrubbing the floors, he really grasped the force of me being Type A.

Now that all of his local items are in our new place we get to go raid our storage spaces. Yep, storage spaces. We've each rented rooms from people who had common rooms filled already. That means I finally get to dig out my couch and desk! I'm extremely excited. Of course, it will change the bachelor pad vibe Will has going on at the moment, but surely he can still find room for his guitars and road bikes if I inch my furniture in there just a...lot. There's a lot of furniture to move. *gulp*

It is hilarious watching his reaction to things I bring over since it is his place for now.

from How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

The other day I brought two under-the-sink organizers. He looked confused. He turned his head sideways and asked, "What do we need those for?" This process is going to be hilarious. Men and women definitely do not fashion a space in the same way. It should be quite entertaining for the two us to compromise on how we use the space.

It's exciting to be creating our future home. He definitely gets the sweet end of the deal since he'll live there now without me. But that's a relief in itself. I have a lot of stuff. I'm kind of like Barbie, I travel with accessories. Having time to gradually weed through my things is nice. It doesn't force me to do it all at once. Of course, he also gets to experience the glory our new king-size memory foam bed every night. What?! That part does make me jealous. What can I say? I'm old school. I'd prefer not to live together until we're married. There's something sweet about it.

Here's to the next round of moving!