Sunday, May 31, 2015

7 Money Tips for Married Couples





7 money tips for married couples



  1. Give yourself "free" money every month. Everyone should have financial freedom. Whether it's a couple dollars or a couple hundred dollars, having your own money helps you feel like you have control in the relationship.
  2. Be realistic about how much money you have and set an appropriate budget. Do not purchase something if you can't afford it.
  3. Do not hide your spending habits from your spouse. Honesty is a key part of any successful relationship.
  4. Consult with your spouse before making big purchases. 
  5. Never use money as a power play. If one of you is staying at home with the kids or doesn't make as much money, never hold that against them. Don't tell your partner that you get the final say because you make more money. You need to be a team.
  6. Use separate bank accounts. Dr. Phil suggests having separate bank accounts because it is important to have independence and your own discretionary money. Of course, do what you think would work best for you.
  7. Decide who is responsible for what. Make sure you talk about who's responsibility it is to make sure the bills are paid. Even if you are living on 1 income, you can still split up who will be in charge of mailing/ calling in payments for miscellaneous bills every month.




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Friday, May 29, 2015

Recognizing an Emotional Affair


For most couples physical cheating in a relationship is an obvious deal breaker, but have you ever considered the repercussions of emotional cheating?  Emotional infidelity is just as big of a threat to your marriage but is, for some reason, more widely accepted.
recognizing an emotional affair- 5 signs you wouldn't expect


Many emotional affairs start innocently at work with the person in the cubicle next to yours. They are your friend and really help to make those longs hours pass more quickly. Of course, having friends is perfectly fine and isn't always inappropriate even if you are attracted to them. In fact, many people in happy marriages are occasionally attracted to someone other than their spouse. So then, how do you know if you are having an emotional affair?

Here are several warning signs of an emotional affair:

  1. You confide in this person and share frustrations about your relationship
  2. You'd feel guilty if your spouse saw you with this person
  3. You find yourself not being fully honest with your spouse about how much you talk to this person in person or via text/e-mail
  4. You dress up for this person
  5. You contact them outside of "friendship hours" (If you are talking on evenings and weekends they are no longer just "work friends")
Crossing the line into an inappropriate relationship is not always a conscious decision. It can sneak up on you. According to MSNBC "about half of such emotional involvements do eventually turn into full-blow affairs, sex and all." Make sure you are aware of these warning signs to keep yourself in check and protect your marriage.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How to Make Him Number One

I read this article on a friend's blog the other day and it reminded me of my husband and how I should really strive to make him a priority. My husband used to always be number one in my life, but for some reason that changed.

make your husband number one
[Yes, that is my unbelievably handsome husband in that pic! How did I get so lucky?]

When we first start dating, the man of our dreams seems to take priority. If you're anything like me the world would stop when Scott called or texted or even just wanted to hang out. I would change my plans to make time for him (especially in the early stages). Literally ALL my free time was spent with Scott. A great example of this is that one time when we got married. Did I ever tell you that story? No?!

Well, here it is in a nutshell:

Scott asked me randomly (and very casually) on a Thursday morning at the end of January if I wanted to get married. Of course I said yes. He then left to pack a bag for our trip. A few hours later he returned to my apartment, bag packed & car running. He turned to me and said, "are you sure you are okay getting married without a ring?" To which I replied, "haha of course. I love you!" he then got on one knee and said "good, cause I got you one anyway!" and pulled out a gorgeous diamond ring! I cried, I kissed him, said goodbye to my sister and hopped in his car.

solitaire diamond ring


Our plan was to get married in a courthouse in California and honeymoon on the beach, but it was pretty stormy that January evening and so we stopped in Vegas. The next morning as we were walking around and random man named Marvin stopped us as we were putting money in the parking meter and asked if we wanted to get married (he made commission off the couples he took to the Chapel across the street). We took it as a sign and got married 5 minutes later in shorts & t-shirts and then hit the road for California!

There is a part of me that wishes our marriage license didn't say "Las Vegas, Nevada" on it because eloping in Vegas is just very cliche. But it was all very spontaneous and romantic and I really loved every minute of that adventure!

dinner on Santa Monica Pier after we got married
[out to dinner at a restaurant on Santa Monica pier--first meal as a married couple!]

Fast-forward a few years.

We now have a great and adorable (almost 1 year old) little boy. Everyone has different priorities and things they put above others, for us it is David. 

David Cash 10 months old on the couch

He is the center of our universe. You may not see anything wrong with that, and maybe it works for you. But what I've realized over the course of our marriage is that it really doesn't work for us. 

David is always going to be very high on the list of priorities, but my husband needs attention too. Scott would never admit that I don't give him enough attention, however just by comparing & contrasting between the beginning of our relationship and now, I see a huge difference. 

I know I am not alone. It's actually a common joke that after the kids come your sex life even diminishes. They say that the first year of your marriage you put a penny in a bucket every time you have sex and then after that you take a penny out every time but will never be able to empty the bucket even if your marriage lasts 50 years. (I wrote a post last week about restoring your sex life after kids that you can check out as well).

Of course, sex isn't the only aspect of a relationship that goes on the back burner after we have kids. And it's not always kids that take the number 1 slot. Sometimes it's our jobs, or the housework, or our hobbies, etc. Being aware is key. Pay attention to how you treat your husband and put his needs first. Put don't the phone or iPad and listen to his stories (even if you've heard them a million times lol). Maybe choose his favorite restaurant this Friday instead of the kids'. And remind him how important he is to you as often as you can.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Sexual intimacy is critical to a happy, healthy marriage and is, unfortunately, one of the most common problems in marriage. The biggest reason sexual intimacy is a problem in marriage is because there isn't any. We get caught up in life with work and kids and errands, there just really isn't enough time in the day. And, I don't know about you, but for us, when we finally have time to ourselves we want to relax and unwind for an hour or so first and then the next thing you know.. it's bedtime.

3 tips for better sex in marriage


Here are 3 tips to save your marriage and keep intimacy alive: 

  1. Schedule sex. It doesn't sound very romantic especially when you remember the days before the kids when you had no responsibilities and had spontaneous sex with your spouse all the time, but sometimes this is necessary. Scheduling sex can actually be fun. Setting the expectation that everyday (or however often you want) you will have time alone with your spouse is an exciting thought. Don't get me wrong, I love family time, but sometimes I want my husband all to myself. And honestly, as spontaneous as sex was for us before David was born, it was always in a sense scheduled. We didn't have a set time or anything, but it was definitely always expected. We never wondered if we would have sex that day, we knew we would. The only real question was when, where, and how many times. 
  2. Make it fun. Sex is fun. I talk to a lot of women who almost view it as a chore. Sure, there are some days when I just want to sleep too, but once we start kissing I remember that I married the sexiest man alive and I forget all that. If that doesn't work for you, take a trip to Spencer's at the mall or your local lingerie store and pick up games, lingerie, etc to spice things up.
  3. Keep track and do it often. I use an app on my phone to keep track of how often we do it. I know it sounds silly, but awareness is key. In the past we would have DAYS pass without even realizing that we hadn't had any time together. It is really easy to lose track of time unless you're keeping track. Keeping count has actually clued us in to various trends in our relationship as well. We tend to fight more on the days we aren't intimate. Also, the more often we are intimate the more we tend to want that intimacy if that makes sense. Having sex more often increases our desire for it. When we get in a no sex rut, it's because we took like a day off and forgot how much we enjoy it which made it easier to pass up the next day. BUT when we are consistent (because we are keeping track) it becomes extremely difficult to pass up.

Alright, so what happens when you're just not in the mood or too busy.

When you reject a man too much in a relationship one of three things happens:

  1. He becomes numb and pretends he doesn't need it. 
  2. He keeps at it, and asks over and over even though you always say no, eventually losing respect for himself
  3. He goes elsewhere

Me mentioning #3 does not mean I excuse cheating in any way, but it happens. Everyone views this differently; I personally think that if someone cheats it is no ones fault but their own and I have zero tolerance for it. But anyway, back on topic.. He chose you and seeks validation from you and rejection is hard. Now, I'm not saying that every time he wants it you need to give in, but understanding how to say no in a positive way that won't hurt his self esteem is key. He needs to know that you are not saying no because you no longer desire him sexually, but rather that you are saying no at this specific time for this specific reason.

You can communicate this in a playful way by suggesting that you will be interested in being intimate later on. For example try something like "listen, I'm really busy with work right now, but I'm gonna come and jump you as soon as I get this done, okay?" or "I'm really not feeling good at the moment, but you better be ready for me the minute I feel better."

A lot of times when we say we're busy or tired it comes off like a brush off even if it is true. He needs to know you're attracted to him, so give him a long, romantic kiss and get back to work! lol This works for both sexes. Men aren't the only ones who get rejected. If my husband says he's tired once or twice, I don't read into it, but if it becomes a trend I start to wonder why. If nothing's going on that you two need to talk about, then don't make them wonder. Give them the validation they need with a nice compliment or kiss. Good luck!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Time Management

Making time for your spouse- four tips for time well spent



Today's post is about time management. We have so much going on in our lives with work, school, kids, etc. it can be really hard to make time for our spouse. Here are 4 tips I have for making the most of your time together.


  1. Prioritize: There are certain things that must get done everyday. Make a list and communicate it with your spouse so they know where your attention will be and why.
  2. Schedule meals: Having a set time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner everyday where you put everything else aside and just eat, converse, and spend quality time with your spouse is a much needed break during a hectic day.
  3. Cultivate a peaceful environment at home: make sure home is a place you both want to come home to. Greet each other in a loving way and try not to add any stress to your lives with criticism (or rude remarks about what tasks weren't accomplished [i.e. house not clean, dinner not made, spouse is late, etc.]).
  4. Set up alone time: Set time aside at the end of each day to be together. Whether that time is spent watching TV or talking, just relax and enjoy each other's company.

Arroz Con Leche

crockpot arroz con leche - rice pudding


It is freezing here today so I thought I would share one of my favorite (and easy) recipes to warm you up! 

David and I love eating this for breakfast in the morning. It just takes a 1/2 a cup of rice and seems to last us several days. It's especially great if you're like us and get sick of the usual eggs and toast everyday. 

Not only is this arroz con leche delicious, but this version is made in the crockpot so it is extremely low maintenance. Most recipes for this require constant stirring in a saucepan (something I don't have time for as a busy SAHM). 


       Ingredients:

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup short-grain rice (I prefer to use Italian Arborio rice)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)

        Directions:

Place all ingredients in crock pot on low heat, stirring occasionally. It is done when milk has been mostly absorbed and rice is soft (roughly 3 1/2 hours). Enjoy!

Serving size: 1/2 cup, makes 3 1/2 cups
Macros per serving: 6.2 g fat, 32.6 g carbs, 5.5 g protein
**remove the cinnamon stick pieces when finished and sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon over top if you want.

Friday, May 15, 2015

10 ways to communicate with your spouse

Early on in our relationship there was a time when I didn't see the point in talking to my husband (boyfriend at the time) because I didn't feel like he was actually listening. Thankfully we got past that hurdle! Here are 10 ways to better communicate with your spouse:

  1. Don't yell--if you need to take a break from the argument to cool down.
  2. Let your spouse finish talking before you interject with your own comments. 
  3. Think before you speak. 
  4. Make eye contact.
  5. Turn off the TV, phone, etc. and focus completely on them.
  6. Say more positive things than negative regardless of the topic.
  7. Resist the urge to win.
  8. Don't dwell on the past. (this is a big one for us!)
  9. Understand the power of nonverbal communication. It's funny, but it is actually very difficult to fight with your spouse when you are holding hands. Treating your spouse in a loving manner physically, will actually help you to speak to them in a loving way as well.
  10. When your spouse says something rude, or tries to pick a fight don't feed into it. You have the power to decide whether or not a fight actually occurs based on how you respond.
Most of these may seem like common sense, but a lot of the time the things that seem the most obvious are the ones we end up forgetting. Have fun communicating and check out my post on conversation starters for you and your spouse =)


10 ways to communicate with your spouse





Conversation Starters for Married Couples

Conversation starters for married couples


Poor communication is a huge obstacle in marriage and it is one we never really expect. We marry our best friend, the person we enjoy being with and talking to most of all, but for some reason our communication skills start to go downhill and good conversation is now hard to come by. Why?

If you're like most couples, once you get married practically every aspect of your life becomes intertwined. This is great, but doesn't give you much new material to talk about.

For Scott and I, it is really easy to fall into the habit of watching Netflix after our son goes to bed. We'll watch TV for 2-3 hours then go to sleep and start the day all over again. There have been days where our conversation never got deeper than "How was your day?" "Fine. Yours?" "Fine. Wanna watch Netflix?"

Being a stay-at-home mom gives me to little to talk about other than what cute thing my son did that day and being married to your best friend doesn't help conversation either. Scott knows all my stories and I've heard all his.

So what to do?

This is what we did! 


We chose to dedicate one night a week to just conversation. I know it doesn't sound like much, but making a conscious effort to talk for several hours every week has made us closer. If you and your spouse have fallen into the Netflix rut like us, you should try it!

Don't know what to talk about? 


Here is a great list of conversation starters. It's from an article that lists 36 questions that are supposed to make you able to fall in love with anyone. We had a lot of fun answering these questions and I guarantee you will learn something new about your spouse.

Need more help? Here's another list of questions that I've compiled for you as well =) Enjoy!


  1. How would you spend your 100th birthday?
  2. The electricity goes out for 24 hours, how would you spend your time?
  3. What is your favorite family tradition?
  4. If you could change your name, what would you choose?
  5. If your appearance was altered beyond recognition, how would you prove your identity to me?
  6. If you were famous for something, what would you want that to be?
  7. What movie/tv show best portrays the story of your life? Is it a comedy, drama, action, etc.?
  8. What would you do if there was a world-wide power outage?
  9. What would you do if someone stole your identity and you couldn't get it back?
  10. You’re awake at 3am and can’t get back to sleep. What do you do?
  11. If you had to restart your life (relationships, education, etc.), where would you start?
  12. What would your life be like if you said yes to everything?
  13. What is your favorite super hero? Which one would you want to be?
  14. If you could be paid to do anything, what would you do?
  15. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
  16. You’re stuck in an elevator for 4 hours. What items do you wish you had?
  17. If you had to create a blog what would it be about?
  18. What do you value more, honesty or kindness?
  19. If money did not exist, how would you spend your days?
  20. What are three goals you have had for over a year?
  21. If you knew you had 30 days to live, how would you spend that time?
  22. What would you do if a fire destroyed your house?
  23. What would you do if a tornado came toward you while you were driving?
  24. What would you do if someone broke into your home while you were there?
  25. What recent news story caught your attention?
  26. You want to surprise your spouse with sex in an unusual place, where would it be?
  27. You’re holding a basket for an afternoon picnic in the park. What is in it?
  28. If you could store up only one hour’s worth of memory in your mind, which hour of our marriage would you want to remember?
  29. If you could have witnessed any biblical event, which one would you choose?
  30. If we could just drop what we’re doing and go do something fun, what would it be?
  31. What is the nicest compliment anyone has given you?
  32. You’re a photographer. How do you photograph your spouse? What are they wearing?
  33. What is your earliest memory?
  34. When making decisions, do you put more trust in facts or in feelings?
  35. If you could possess any extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would you choose?
  36. What 5 things do you like that start with the letter “L”?
  37. What 5 things do you like that start with the letter “A”?
  38. What 5 things do you like that start with the letter “S’?
  39. How would you spend $1,000 extra cash?
  40. What would you do if you had to live on a mountain without warning?

Questions to spark conversation


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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The 10 Most Common Issues in Marriage

I recently came across an article where marriage experts were asked what the 10 most common issues in marriage were. Here is a link to the article if you would like to check it out.

For the next 10 days I will write a post to tackle each of the 10 topics listed below and I will add links to each post as I go. Please feel free to comment below if you have any suggestions or things you do to remedy the marriage mishaps =)


The 10 Most Common Issues in Marriage:

1. Trying to change your spouse
2. Poor communication
3. Time management
4. Sexual intimacy
5. Focus is on the kids, not the spouse
6. Emotional infidelity
7. Money
8. Unwillingness to forgive
9. Lack of appreciation
10. Allowing technology to interfere

Most Common Marriage Issues






Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5 best ways to change a man



quote about changing a man for the better


In a previous post I talked about why you shouldn't try to change your husband. I explained how important it is to accept him as he is. While I wholeheartedly agree with that, I think there are some behaviors that should never be accepted let alone tolerated. For example, what happens when he mistreats you? or isn't living up to his role as a provider? or does something wrong?

Here are 5 best practices for changing your spouse:

1. Be disappointed when he does something wrong, but do not lose faith in his better side. Remember, you believe him to be capable of more.

2. Tell him what you expect of him. Having these expectations will imply you have a high opinion of him that he is not living up to and he will be motivated to meet those expectations.

3. Do not criticize him, use a positive approach. Criticism actually reinforces bad behavior.
     Ex.) His mindset: "Well she already thinks I'm always late so it's not a big deal if I'm late again this time."

4. Compliment him. Genuine compliments have far more power than criticism.
     Ex.) If you want your husband to listen more, the next time he does listen to you talk about your day be sure to pay him a compliment. Tell him how great it is having a husband to talk to when your stressed about work. Praising him for this will motivate him to listen again, whereas criticizing him for all the times he does not listen has the exact opposite effect.

5. Ask him to change in a feminine way
     Ex.) Would you consider...? It would help me a lot if you would...?





Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day






Happy Mother's Day Everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your day!

Recently I came across this image on Facebook about what mothers really wanted for Mother's Day:

What Moms really want for mothers day breakdown

I have to say, I don't entirely agree with this pie chart and I really don't like that it has been posted with statistics which would imply that research was done & that this is an accurate depiction of what Mother's want. In fact, the largest chunk on there (the day off from parenting) is the absolute LAST thing I would want my husband to give me on Mother's Day. 

This morning my 10 month old (who normally sleeps through the night) woke up around 4 am and wouldn't go back to sleep. Every time I placed him in his crib he immediately started crying. In that moment I was exhausted and frustrated and really, really wanted sleep, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. My cute little crybaby made me a mother and I couldn't be more thankful. 

Mother's Day is a day to celebrate motherhood, not take a break from it. So, take the day & enjoy your time with the ones that made you a Mama [and maybe just take the day off from all the laundry, the cleaning, & the cooking;)].

Here is a revision of the pie chart to show what I believe to be a more accurate depiction!

What Moms really want for mothers day breakdown



Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why changing him won't work



why you can't change your husband



One of the biggest fights in our marriage was the concept of acceptance. My husband never felt that I loved & accepted ALL of him.This thought was ridiculous to me. Of course I loved all of him. I wouldn't have married him if I didn't.

The reason he felt this way was because I kept trying to change him. I'm never overly critical, but I made sure to always let him know when he did something I didn't agree with. I always vocalized my disapproval, mainly because I didn't want the action to be repeated. What I didn't realize was that this did more harm than good. I was just pushing him further away...

Now, I am not at all saying that you should tolerate every bad habit and never speak your mind, but I think it is important to fully accept your husband as he is, flaws and all.


Why changing him won't work.

Oftentimes, we see so much potential in our spouse and set out to "help" them reach that potential. The problem is that when we set out to remake our husbands it doesn't come across the way we want it to. It comes across as a criticism more than a helpful suggestion. This can lead to contention, hurt feelings, and/or a lessening of love. Imagine, any insecurities you currently have and then realizing those are exact things your spouse doesn't like about you either. How would that make you feel?

On top of everything else, by telling him what to change or how to do it, we are restricting his freedom.

Freedom is something that both my husband and I value very much. No one likes being told what to do. For me, being told what to do has the exact opposite effect--it makes me NOT want to do whatever it is that I am being told and, honestly, makes me resent the person ordering me around.

You want him to change? Accept him first, flaws and all and realize that no change will be made unless it is one that HE wants to make. Accept the fact that he may not change. They say love is blind and I believe it. True love is blind to a man's faults. Focus on the positive attributes and you both will be much happier!