Today I'm linking up with Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals for her series "From One Year and Beyond". You can see my post from last week here.
Here's this weeks topic: "Unexpected Moments & Growing As A Couple "
We have definitely learned and grown as a couple a lot in our first year, especially from the unexpected life stuff. Here are some of the things we dealt with that year.
Car Issues / Unexpected Money
I know I know, everyone has car issues, but boy did we have some serious ones. We both had some seriously crappy cars. We not only had car issues, but we had no money to fix the car problems. Looking back, I realized we needed to have a better savings plan in place for all those "little" unexpected problems. We should have taken a class on finances or something to better prepare us for the unexpected. Premarital can only cover so much. Actually, I would have loved reading all of these bloggers advice. It would have been really helpful. Another great tool for married couples is Dave Ramsey. He is a financial genius!! Unfortunately, we didn't do the Dave Ramsey study until last year (three years into marriage), but it has definitely changed our way of thinking about money and helped us get ourselves on track for the future. I recommend reading his books or taking one of his classes.
No matter what this is a difficult task especially because each person comes in with their own family and holiday traditions. Dan and I both had spent time with each others families when we were dating, but once you are married you want to make your own traditions. We were really lucky because both of our families were willing to compromise. We have even made our own traditions over the 4 years. One of my favorites of our traditions, each year we go see Christmas lights a day or two before Christmas Eve. We make hot chocolate and just drive around looking. Such sweet times. And I'm sure once we have kids we will make more traditions and may need to revisit the holiday schedule again.
Love & Respect
Have you ever heard of the book called Love & Respect? Its a great book for newly married couples, well darn any type of couple. And you read the book as a couple. Which is a great way to strengthen a marriage. It is something Dan and I do try to do as often as we can. This particular book really focuses on learning that men need respect to feel loved and women need love to feel respected. Might sound confusing, but its one of those books that made me realize what I needed to do in my marriage to be a better wife. I kept fighting it. Not fully understanding at first that if he showed me love that it was him showing me respect. I kept thinking well I too am a human and I deserve respect! dang it! I was really stubborn... just don't tell Dan I actually admitted that. in public. willingly. Well once I allowed myself to open up and realize the book wasn't saying I'm a woman and don't need respect, it was merely saying we (women) see respect in a different way. I wasn't intentionally trying to go on and on about this, but I feel this was an important thing for me to learn for my marriage. You can see the information here.
Another great thing we've learned is to make time for each other. Go out to dinner, take vacations, go to the movies, etc. Just take extra time to spend with each other outside of the normal day-to day things.
As a couple we've have grown more financially responsible with our money. We are nowhere near perfect, I mean I LOVE stopping at Starbucks and sometimes you just NEED another pair of gorgeous shoes. Right? You can't always be perfect with money. And you CAN'T always be prepared for what life hands you, but we are trying to be more secure in the areas we can control. We have also grown in our marriage. I can't tell 4 years later you won't still be arguing, because that be a lie, but you do build a stronger bond through all those unexpected moments. :)