Marriage Advice Gone Wrong

People love giving their opinions, even if you never asked for it. I used to be like that, but I had to learn to keep my 2 cents to myself unless I was asked. This way, if I said something they didn’t like, I could always follow up with, “Well, you asked!”. As I got older, I had to learn to take things with a grain of salt. Then I started paying attention to the people I was listening to, and that’s when I started ignoring folks all together. Why? Because people don’t know what they’re talking about! Your girlfriend/BFF who is never in a relationship or can’t keep one but always giving you relationship advice? Yeah, you shouldn’t listen to her. The guy who constantly cheats on his wife but tries to tell you what he thinks about marriage? Nope, you shouldn’t listen to him either. And you probably shouldn’t take financial advice from your adult friend who still sleeps on their parent’s couch and is living check to check but always has designer clothes and always wants to hang out. Just don’t do it.

Fortunately for me, I married a man who doesn’t listen to what other people have to say about his decisions. He knows what direction he wants to go in and doesn’t let other people deter him from his path. If someone presents an idea to him, he asks questions- lots of questions, before he would even consider it. When Lorenzo and I were dating, we were living in 2 different states. He relocated to Atlanta from Albuquerque, while I remained in New Jersey. Needless to say, there were a lot of people (read: men) who were trying to convince him to date as much as he can and play the field – even though he and I were already committed to each other. Not gonna lie, I got some crazy advice from people after we got engaged as well. Here is some of the craziest we’ve heard:

Don’t get married. Lorenzo had other men say this to him. Why? Because they felt like since he was young, successful, and childfree that the LAST thing he should do is settle down. They wanted him to go around and sleep with as many women as he could – because honestly, that’s what they would do. A lot of those guys had dead end jobs with a kid or two by multiple women and had their wages garnished due to child support payments. But maybe if they weren’t sleeping around so much and having kids they would have extra money to…oh, well never mind.

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Let yourself go. Multiple women have said this to me. I was shocked because I didn’t think people actually did that; I thought it was a joke. I used to look at them and think to myself, “You can’t be serious.” I didn’t keep myself in shape just to “catch a man,” I’m in the military so I have to stay in shape and honestly, I actually give a shit about my health, so no, I won’t be doing that.

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Marriage is boring. Or, “you won’t get to do things you like to do.”  I don’t understand this one. Is everyday supposed to be a party? If you’re so bored, why don’t you plan a trip or an outing or something? I can understand not having a whole lot of time to indulge in your hobbies if you have kids but if you don’t, why can’t you? I don’t get it. Someone will have to explain this one to me.

Don’t tell your husband about all of your purchases. So, lie to him? To me, this means that he can turn around and do the same thing by keeping things from me. Why would I want to do that? I’m a pretty financially savvy person, so I know better than to spend rent money on a new purse or make a major purchase when we are trying to save for a house. No thanks, I’m not trying to cause arguments intentionally.

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I’m sure that folks have the best intentions when they offer advice, but I realize many of them speak from their own experiences rather than placing themselves in the other person’s shoes; and just because its something you’ve gone through or would do yourself doesn’t mean its the best thing for ME. If we’d listened to everything other people told us to do we’d be arguing all the time just to prove we don’t have secrets, we would’ve bought a house in a not so great neighborhood and another house that we didn’t like just to live next to people that I didn’t know. We also would’ve had a kid just because someone Lorenzo worked with was pregnant, also someone I don’t know; and went into debt planning our wedding. Lorenzo would have taken jobs that wouldn’t have helped his career and I would nag him and start arguments about next to nothing, just to do it.

The moral of this story: people sometimes give shitty advice, not just about marriage, but about life in general. I think people should consider the person they are getting advice from and always do what they think is best for them. That other person who has so much to say about your life doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of what is ultimately YOUR decision. Listen, but with caution.

 

 

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I REALLY Have to Stop Watching Reality TV

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Many people that I talk to, including my co-workers, tell me how they would so bored and don’t think they could do it every day. I enjoy it despite the fact that I’m alone most of the day and that I’m not getting an opportunity to network with people in Atlanta. But, I look at it like this: I could still be at my old job, hating my life (this is usually the part where I get over it).

My co-workers sometimes call me and tease me about watching television all day, you know: soap operas, Maury, and The Price is Right (yes, that show is STILL on tv). I don’t watch those shows, but I have found myself watching some of the reality shows like Love and Hip Hop and Real Housewives for example (don’t judge me). Some of these shows are in their 4th and 5th seasons already so that just lets you know that I am SO lost as to what is going on and who is who.

I’ve never watched these show before because I had no interest in them. It just seemed like a bunch of people who don’t like each other making time to hang out with each other and when they get together all they do is fight. Once the fight is over, they go home and talk about each other, come back together to “work it out” or “clear the air” and either forgive each other for the time being, or they start fighting again. It’s just a vicious cycle that keeps looping over and over again. I get tired for them. Who wants to do all that fighting? What’s worse, is that it all seems so fake. I just refuse to believe that some of them are as idiotic as they portray themselves to be.

When I deployed, I made an agreement with myself that I would stop worrying about things that didn’t directly affect me. This meant  I had to learn to stop trying to control what others did, and what they thought and said about me. When I came home, I had to cut certain people out of my life to make it happen, and it has been a bit more peaceful ever since. These reality shows remind me of the people who I had to get rid of: just over dramatic for no reason. What’s worse is that some of them are older than I am! Have they not found out how to communicate with people in a way that is honest, without making assumptions or jumping to conclusions? It seems like they all get so offended over everything, literally, EVERYTHING. But I guess the drama makes for good ratings?

I’m just glad that football season has started so now I can watch the NFL Network instead. But I still think they all need to read The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Great book, it helped me realize a great deal about my actions towards others and how I should take information as well. It made me want to think about how I want to react to things that other people say and do. Just a suggestion.

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Marriage Talk: Who handles the Money?

A while back a read an article that talked about how a married couple handled their finances. The author talked about her relationship and how they manage their finances as an example for the readers to use (I’m assuming that was the goal) and then asked what worked for them in regards to how they manage their money. The article specifically talked about whether or not a married couple should merge their finances. The author and her husband had separate accounts with a joint account used to pay bills. But there were some people who still believe that once you are married everything should be merged. I don’t necessarily agree with that. It’s mostly because I am incredibly anal about how my money is handled, and there are A LOT of people out there who don’t know how to manage money. I’m not the kind of person who spends everything I have and waits on the next check. What if there is no “next check”? I couldn’t see myself with someone who was constantly coming up short with money for bills every month but somehow manages to always have new toys or clothes. Lorenzo says there are people who only think about having fun, and while there is nothing wrong with having fun, eventually you have to stop and ask, “Who’s paying the bills”?

My husband and I have separate accounts. We were already adults and living on our own when we met so it was just easier to leave everything the way it was. We eventually opened up a joint account, but it was initially used to save for our honeymoon, now we mostly use it to transfer money back and forth to each other. Lorenzo isn’t bad with money; his spending isn’t outrageous, and he is well aware of what his priorities are. When we can spend we spend, but when it’s time to cut back and save; that’s what we do- no complaints. What I love (and respect) the most about our relationship is that even though we have separate accounts, we won’t make any major purchase without consulting the other. This took some getting used to on my part because I wasn’t used to discussing what I wanted to do with MY money to someone else- but that is what happens when you get married (I guess).

We are always talking about money as well. Again, even though we are separate, we know how much the other has, how much the other is saving, and what they are spending it on. We don’t hide things from each other either. You know that joke that that women will buy stuff and hide them from their husbands and then act like they’ve had the items for years when it’s time to pull them out? Yeah, I don’t do that. If I want to go shopping (which has been a rare occurrence lately), I’ll just tell him. He’ll ask what I want or need and sometimes how much I plan on spending but there’s never an issue. I don’t feel like he should spend more or pay all of the bills because he makes more; we are in this together. I do what I can afford, and he does the same.

Talking about money is tricky. Some people avoid it all together, which is never a good thing (aren’t issues with finance a major reason for some divorces? I’ll have to look that up). Money one of those things you can’t run away from, so it’s best just to confront it head on and deal with it. We both have individual savings goals and marriage goals. We try to make an active effort to read more books about money and investing when we have time, but we always make an active effort. I like to do things, and doing things requires money- and it has to come from somewhere.  If we can  spend time talking about having fun and going on vacation, then we can talk about how we plan on cutting back to save the money to pay for said vacation. It’s all about making a plan and sticking to it.

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