“Ah. Passion, puppy love, promise…”
I had an outing on Sunday with my friend Valerie and I gushed on and on about my husband (he stayed at home to diligently do taxes like a good boy.) Valerie probably should have told me to shut up.
You wouldn’t look to a 2 year old for marriage advice, right?
I thought we were beyond the timeframe to be considered newlyweds but we looked up the actual duration of newlyweds during the natural flow of conversation. Apparently, the time length you are considered a newlywed seems to vary wildly depending on who you ask. We thought newlyweds lasted 3 months and then you’re a regular married couple after…but according to other sources, it could be as long as 4 years!
OK, well, Mr. Hippo and I are definitely newlyweds then. I did not know that. We’re still green enough that there is a word specifically designed to alert the others how green we are in the field of marriage.
Well, that puts things in perspective…a lot.
I know we’re young but it feels like I’ve known him for so long (every freakin’ young couple has said that once, and now I’m saying it myself.) I really think we’re meant for each other and we’ll never get divorced or anything (AGAIN, every freakin’ young couple has said this, and now I’m saying it myself.)
I hate hate hate receiving the “OMG, did you know so-and-so, yeah, yeah, apparently they’re getting divorced, so surprised.”
That kind of news stays with me for days and weeks after – EVEN if I didn’t know who they were directly! I would feel really sad. It’s not something I wish on my own worst enemy on the worst day of the worst year. The kiddie movies didn’t prepare me for NON-happy endings.
I totally doubt Jared and I would end up divorced someday. We’re not the type to…do that. Right??? We’re dorky, frugal, shy, socially awkward, we still laugh at fart jokes…
“You’re newlyweds, you’re in love, God bless–you know nothing.”- Marie Barone
That show has never steered me wrong. Everybody Loves Raymond was also my kidhood’s highest exposure to what marriage was supposed to be like………..hmmm.
So I know nothing…OK since I can’t and won’t know what our relationship will be in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years…the only thing I can do is….preemptive marriage preservation measures!!! Or I call PMPM 🙂
Related: I have more stupid shorthands…The 13 Status Symbols Of FUMCPWCDJ&RPF…
These are the things that we do at least once or twice a month to keep us on the same grounds. They all cost next to nothing too. I listed these specifically because out of all the things we do, these are probably the most important to me in terms of relationship building.
1. Financial Check-In Time
The cornerstone of a good marriage is being on the same financial page – and that’s not me talking – that’s the same principle advice I’ve read from personal finance and/or marriage experts.
We do our bi-monthly budgets together. It doesn’t have to be done together but…wait — it totally does need to be done together. He coded the spreadsheet inputs in his magical math language and I am the one that does the spending. If there was a $3.35 charge, we need both people to decipher and record. Now playing accountant doesn’t sound very romantic but it’s my favorite activity. That’s why I listed it first. If you like roller coasters and swimming, naturally, the inter-aquatic rides at Seaworld would be right up your alley. I like my husband and I like finance on any topic so it’s double the fun.
2. Grocery Shopping
If you offered me $100,000 on the table if I denied the option of grocery shopping with my husband for the rest of my natural life…I would turn down that offer and choose to be able to go grocery shopping with my husband.
I can’t resist continuing my decimalization thesis on my husband’s love for beets. He loves beets. BEETS! The staining red stuff that tastes like dirt. I find that massively disgusting.
But still, I would choose that occasion to go grocery shopping with him.
You find out a lot about a person when you wander around the store with them.
My husband thinks that’s weird though.
“Why is it fun going grocery shopping with me?”
“I don’t know, you’re there and it’s fun to ask you about what you think of this item/price/purchase/sale/color/taste/use/brand. You learn a lot about a person and their spending habits from a regular trip to the grocer.”
Plus, it’s completely free to dawdle in a grocery store. It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s pretty frugal because groceries are relatively inexpensive and serve a good purpose of keeping you fed.
We use to cruise around Sam’s Club or tag along with our friend to Costco to get free samples and roam around. It sounds really lame but that’s how poor kids like me grew up dealing with the boredom. It’s not like shopping is only limited to groceries – if your spending habits match up then it makes all different kinds of decision making easier. To me, grocery shopping is the perfect playground to test your decision making and spending skills.
So I guess grocery shopping is probably a weird bonding activity but I FULLY stand by it.
3. Couple’s Lunch / Date Night
Our date night on the weekends kept getting interrupted by little things. After we made date night mandatory…we actually only made it to date night 33% of the time. Eesh.
Like a few weeks ago our dog Grace sprang her paw on a walk we decided to stay at home with her. No one saw that coming, that’s life.
I was not willing to let go of date night. Jared was the one that bought up the idea of date night because he missed having meals together. It’s very important to be able to sit across the table from each other and hold a conversation.
Thankfully, his employer offers 2 free lunch passes every month. It won’t make up for our bad record with date nights and the bus ride to his work is almost 1 hour long – but it’s still worth it going. I get to stop by the Oooooooogle office and eat a super yummy, super free lunch with him.
Sometimes I see people bring their spouse and babies to eat a meal together. It’s heartwarming. More workplaces should encourage this because it’s so good for work-life balance.
4. Phoning Parents
In my case, phoning Hubby’s parents, my in-laws. At first, it was really weird talking on the phone with two people who gave birth to…the guy I’m tied to for life….yet at the same time I didn’t know much about them…(so weird) but now I feel more comfortable with them on the phone. We phone them often together to wish them a happy birthday or just to check in on new developments. We’re fortunate to have older parents who we can pick brains with. They have years of experience with us and we trust their advice. Jared talks to his mother and father about investing/finance, topics about child-rearing and home maintenance and it helps both of us stay in the loop together longer when we’re phoning them together.
5. Long, Guilt-Free Naps
Our Saturday was miraculous. We’re selling our rental soon so there’s a long list of chores to do but…on Saturday, we threw responsibilities in the wind and slept most of the day. Guilt-free…kinda.
You know those people who only need 6 hours of sleep and yet they function just fine?
That’s not fair brah!!!
We are both huge, huge snoozers. I’ve slept for 13.5 hours straight in one sitting before and that was the only time I told myself “oh yes, I finally got enough sleep.” If I get anything less than 9 hours of sleep, the best I can be is 80% functioning. The same goes for Jared because his work requires lots of laborious problem solving and thinking skills.
We have recently come to terms with our character flaw so every Saturday will become an actual…Saturday! Guilt-free snoozes, even when we have chores, it’s pushed to Sunday.
Everyone should do this to avoid an early grave, that’s my 2 cents. For that one day a week, on one of those holy 7 days, there should be a special time spent doing zero, nada, nothing in your cotton underwear. We’re not meant to go-go-go like this! Americans are workaholics and spendaholics and it’s terrible on so many levels.
6. Cooking Together
The tragedy here is my husband is not a foodie or even a diverse cook. He is one of those people who can keep eating the same thing over, and over, and over again without getting tired of it. Before I came along, 80% of what he ate was zucchini and pasta. Over and over.
But that doesn’t stop us from cooking together on the weekends. When we cook together, he is my kitchen helper and the chief pot scrubber. He can open jars, lift heavy pots, and chop garlic. Eventually, after he retires early, we would be around each other more and likely cooking a lot more together too, so I’m telling him we should cook more meals together on the weekends as an addition to date night.
If things are rough in the kitchen (which requires coordination and teamwork) then other things will be rough too – that’s my newlywed, know-nothing theory.
7. Help With Blog
I don’t always cover easy listicles like this. Sometimes, the subject matter is a little more complicated and I have to talk it out with him. We mash our brains and opinions together…discussing what happened and our thoughts about it. It really is like being married to your best friend 🙂 I talked to Jared about Dumb Luck before I started writing about it because he is really good at organizing whereas I’m not. He helps me organize my thoughts so it’s a little easier to follow along on my rants.
By the way…I would be lying if I said I know exactly what I’m doing with this website. Every time I try to sound professional and treat The Frugal Gene like a business…LOL. I mean…c’monnn I’m a dork. After 11 months of blogging, that advice about treating it like a business = spot on. But I failed that and I totally quit that idea, not for me. I can’t help who I am. Why don’t you just make me go back to school to write papers! If I have something to say, I’m going to. That’s what I assume a blog was originally supposed to be. Love it or lump it!
This is the personal finance-ish diary of a mad woman and I’m hoping to keep this alive as a diary. Jared works in the background of the blog – he is very helpful and supportive of me trying to splatter out who I am/keeping a journal of our life. I’ll try to update this post if Jared and I do get divorced one day…hopefully, not soon, I still like him a lot right now. >_<
The only thing I’ve got is some preemptive marriage preservation measures to act as the canary in the coal mine. I think preemptive marriage preservation measures are simply a vehicle allowing time for check-ins. Find a few things or frugal hobbies you like to do (puzzle game, reading, rock climbing, blogging) and find a way to incorporate your partner into those activities. It’s good for bonding and building relationship with a strong foundation in the long term.
The cost of activities matters too. What if your family fell on financial hardship but your couple bonding activities are rather posh and no longer an option under monetary stress?
I read a lot about keeping all lines of communication open – great advice. But I also read that sometimes people can change and drift apart etc. so it’s not any person’s fault if a marriage were to fail. No matte what, you need PMPM because a relationship must be maintained. Take the time out to enjoy each other and spend time with each other. So no one is divorce-proof even if everything is hunky dory right now. Thanks to Ms. Frugal Asian for injecting me with a bit of paranoia, realism, and horror to that possibility with her post.