Marriage is HARD.

STOP THE PRESSES! Wait… Is that news? I don’t think it is. I think that anyone reading that says..

Yeah, we know.  I know this too. I live with it every day. I don’t mean that to sound as dramatic as it inevitably does. There is a lot of good to marriage, it’s not all work but it’s definitely not all fun and games either. I think at it’s core, it’s REALLY hard to always think about another person first. When you start out as selfish as I was, that’s especially hard. I am a very selfish person at heart, I have to work pretty hard to overcome it.

I went into it with my eyes wide open and willing to do that work and it’s still hard.

Sometimes when we fight, I wonder, why are we fighting? We love each other this should be easy…. then I have to remind myself…

Whoa.. who said it would be easy? No one. No one said it would be easy. People said it would be worth it, but no one said it would be easy.

A few weeks ago, I posted about how important it is to run your own race, and not think about the people ahead of you or behind you for that matter, it’s your race so you run your race.

So to that end, I am going to talk about the fact that Jeremy and I have spent the last 8 or 9 months really re-focusing on being a couple and reminding ourselves why we like each other.  We have a few role models who have been married for over 40 years so again, the reminder is to not compare, this is just our story.  We do a lot of things to help us build the best marriage we can. We often ask other long married couples their advice and what their biggest struggle is. We read books and other people’s blogs and stories.

(most notably) The Gottman Institute-

Going to link his article about horses here– Trust me, it’s worth a read-

The Four Horses That Will Take Your Marriage

One of the sweetest and smartest things my sweet husband did for us is buy some Dry Erase markers and put them in the bathroom and write “I Love You Because….” on our bathroom mirror. It is there to remind us to point out something nice one of us did for the other. Sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes it’s silly but it’s always wonderful to read and feel that special notice.

He changes the shower setting to what I like and I do the same for him. He does all the grocery shopping (a Herculean task I want no part of)  He has come up with recipes week after week and year after year so we have healthy food to eat.  He stays up late to talk with me when I know he is super tired and just wants to sleep.

We have a game we play when we “date” each other. Occasionally, we will call each other different names and it’s just a fun way to remember how we started just two people who kind of liked each other.. well really, we didn’t like each other at all, and didn’t plan to date ANYONE but then we met each other and the rest is history.

If I compare us then to now…….. *here’s a visual aid*

2008to2018BobSarah

I had no idea that my life would be what it is today, no idea that this smart and funny guy who smoked and hated cats would be the love of my life, but that is exactly what happened.

Today, away from work, away from parenting, we were able to just enjoy each other and  I was reminded that he is so much fun to be with and laugh with and in the ups and downs and just “life” of it all, that’s easy to forget. I need to make sure to keep thinking of things we can do to “date” each other for as long as we both shall live.

This isn’t isolated to marriage. This can be applied to any relationship you care about.

It’s work, but hopefully, it’s a labor you love.

Think About It.

No Spendtember is OVER!

Dear Readers,

So this past month, I was saving all my spending money to pay for Elton John tickets!

What does that mean?

Well, in a NO SPEND challenge, you do your best to not spend any extra money.

You are allowed to buy gas, food and lodging ( rent/mortgage )

But that is it- no fast food, no quick coffees, no Lunch Drop, all in aid of spending as little as you can. This was my goal.

So I want to address the elephant in the room when it comes to tackling a goal.

FEAR tells you, “you can’t do that, that’s crazy!” or “that is not possible”

Do yourself a favor and Tell FEAR to SHUT UP and tackle your goal!

Do you want to write a book? First of all, you can do it if you want to.

Break it down into bite size pieces-

How many pages will you write a day? What’s your deadline?

Do you want to lose weight? How much? If it’s 10 pounds- make it five and then do it twice. This is not my idea, it’s Jon Acuff’s. He is a New York Times best-selling author that wrote a book called “Finish” that is all about what we can do to “finish” what we start.

Several ways to buy this book- but since this post is about saving money, I find it only natural to tell you – Go to the library and check it out instead. See, I just saved you at least 8.00 !

Back to the No-Spend challenge. It took me back to the days when we were sacrificing to get out of debt (2012-2015). This is me making our last payment to the credit card !

creditcarddebtfree112913

One of the first things we did was take an inventory of how much money we were spending without thinking about it. When my husband and I looked at it, we were spending over 300.00 a month on fast-food and coffee and energy drinks. Doing the math, that’s 3600.00 a year, that’s not small change. At that time, we started really being intentional with our money and if it was over 50.00 we had a conversation about whether we needed it or not, but our spending money was our own to spend however we wished. That kept us sane in the slog that was debt reductions. That still holds true today so I took on this challenge with my spending money.

I had a group on social media that we checked in with daily. We cheered each other on and

About midway through the month I realized I have a monthly fee for a speaker bureau membership 9/15 and I thought hard about whether I needed to spend that money, I ultimately decided to keep it, because I learn so much from them and it’s a very enriching experience being part of that group of students and teachers from around the world, all working towards the goal of being better speakers.

I made up my mind that it was better to have some progress than to shoot for perfection and just quit because I had a setback.

So that was 39.00, and I said, okay, let me see what I can do to NOT spend any more, and I did pretty well, if I do say so myself but not perfect. I really wanted to go see a movie last week so I did and spent a little then, but overall feel really good about my progress.

I kept a tally of the things that I wanted to buy this past month but did not spend.

Day 1- feeling tempted by drive in coffee- that’s 5.67 I am NOT spending

Day 5- Someone just walked by with Which Wich.. Ah.. tough.. that’s at least 9.00 I am saving

Day 7- Dang I am in a really bad mood, some coffee would would taste awesome! 3.56 saved!

I had to get creative because after I started, I remembered I had breakfast plans that I then pushed to October, explaining the challenge, they were understanding and intrigued asking me more about it. I also had a lunch the last week of the challenge and I explained what I was doing and getting creative, I brought my lunch and we had a picnic instead. At work, someone is selling World’s Finest Chocolate bars.. Ugh!! I love them! I used to sell them in school, and they tempted me as well. I told the purveyor, I will see you on October 1st! They asked why and that was another person I told and they asked some questions and it made them more aware of their expenses and spending.

I was reminded of how intentional I USED to be when it came to spending money and this month was a GREAT exercise in revisiting that skill! I was careful to drive a certain way to work and home so I avoided being NEAR fast food or Target (my Achilles heel for needless spending)

All told, I WANTED to spend 354.58 but in fact spent 67.00 so that’s pretty good!

There were 74 other people in this challenge with me and some of them did better, and some of them did worse, but you know what, I am running my own race and happy with my results.

slow

I am happy to say that I saved what I needed and then some! Hello, Yellow Brick Road!

What is stopping you from pursuing your goal?

Even if you don’t accomplish it, the act of pursuing it, gains you yardage!

 

Think About It.