Broke-Ass Tag: marriage

4/28

Newlywed bliss.

Sunshine and rainbows.

Honeymoon phase.

Society likes to imply that getting married magically transforms life into this beautiful, perfect thing, but then you hear that sage nugget: “The first year of marriage is the hardest.”

Wait. I’m confused.

I rarely feel bliss when I’m dealing with something that isn’t just hard, but hardest. I love a good challenge, but I’m not typically twirling on my toes through the process. Being a newlywed absolutely can be both blissful and hard, but typically you’re only feeling one or the other at any given time.

Just over halfway through our first year of marriage, we had our first fight. I did, anyway. No, the honeymoon isn’t over. It was a good fight. An honest fight. Most importantly, a fair fight. As cliché as it may sound, we came out on the other side stronger and with a better understanding of each other. I came out on the other side genuinely proud of the way I handled the situation. Well, most of it. I’m not one to shy away from a little over-sharing, especially if I think the information could help someone. Now, keep in mind that I’m not a psychologist. I’m not licensed in anything. This is just a real world account of that first-fight milestone and how it all got better.

To put it succinctly, this fight was over the fact that my husband told me he was going to add me to his insurance plan through work and unilaterally decided that we couldn’t afford it without telling me until I needed it. I have never had insurance in my life and am one of those people for whom the Affordable Care Act was not particularly affordable. I had been waiting to see a doctor for a troubling increase in migraines among other things, and the past month has been a particularly miserable time and waiting was no longer an option.

A couple weeks ago, after 10 full days of being so miserable that the very act of standing made me need to take a nap, I told him, full of disdain, that I needed to see a doctor. I had been monitoring my blood pressure and found that the episodes in which I was particularly exhausted, I was measuring in the neighborhood of 80/40. I had tried supplements, every diet change imaginable and vigilantly consuming all the water I could drink, but nothing was making this better. We went to the doctor who listened carefully as I read off a front-and-back page of notes and who called this state that had become my new normal “deeply disconcerting.” Oh, wow. She ordered blood test to check for several things and referred me to a neurologist, warning me that the battery of tests likely to be performed could easily eclipse the $10,000 mark without insurance. We shelled out $500 for the blood work that turned out to be completely inconclusive and I cried as soon as we got in the car and out of view.

I cried because I was scared. I cried because I was angry. I cried because I felt like I had been so completely let down by this man I love more than I can express. I felt shut out of an important decision-making process and I was angry at myself for not pushing harder. I cried like a toddler cries when what they really need is a nap; I had been so consistently exhausted for so long and to top it off, I was generally in a lot of pain. I felt hopeless because if he didn’t think we could afford the insurance premium, this low-end figure suggested was going to be impossible. I felt certain that I wasn’t going to get better because my health wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

I spent the next day practically unable to communicate any of this. It felt like too much to spit out all at once and honestly, it probably was. Rather than shut down, I just explained that I wasn’t ready to talk about it because I was scared and emotional and felt like I needed some time to process things. That was the turning point. Once I was allowed a little space to collect myself, thoughts and ideas started to come together cohesively. I was able to make sense of what was in my head.

Perhaps the most important thing I said through this process was, “I love you even though I’m very upset right now.” While it was absolutely and 100% the truth, it provided this buffer that allowed me to put things together in order: I’m hurt that I wasn’t able to be a part of the decision. I’m scared about my health. I’m worried about the money. I want to be a part of the solution.

Shaina Sheaff Photograpghy

Credit: Shaina Sheaff Photograghy

Focusing on how to be a part of the solution was the magic bullet. I didn’t want to take over; I didn’t want to belittle his efforts. All I wanted was to be partners in this. I know my husband sees himself as a provider and a fixer and it’s so very important to consider those characteristics when you want to resolve a fight. Up until this point, I had left him feeling like a poor provider and, true or not, swiping at his core values made him defensive.

TIP: Use your “I” statements and talk about what you will do and what you’re able to do. In this case, I will sit down with you and look at our budget. I will take the reins in finding an affordable plan and we can find some places where we’re being less purposeful with our money and we can find a way to make this work.

We started with a bank statement from a previous month and immediately found places where our spending wasn’t out of control, but it wasn’t responsible. Food and fun were going to need to be re-evaluated and the relatively common resolve to curtail that spending left us with plenty of money to take care of insurance. As I shopped around for plans, I found one that worked well for us in terms of premium, deductible and coverage. We signed up immediately, found a neurologist in my network and scheduled an appointment.

At that point, it didn’t matter why it took an emergency to make things happen. It didn’t matter why he made a decision without telling me. It didn’t matter that he didn’t look into more alternatives that would work better for our budget. There’s still a part of me that would like answers to those questions, but I have to let that part of me go and focus on the fact that we found a solution and I now have the resources to find the cause of my health issues. I can focus on the fact that when I asked to be a part of the solution (an offer I don’t think I had made before), he enthusiastically accepted and treated the situation with the immediacy it deserved. I also have to remember that it’s always going to be his nature to fix things on his own because he sees that as his responsibility; therefore, it’s my responsibility to remind him I’m here for both of us when problems arise and communicate that I appreciate the things he does.

It’s very easy to focus on shortcomings, but resolving to look into your capacity to find a solution makes things so much easier. My mother, knowing my tendency towards anger and ability to take a pound of flesh with words, asked me if I left him any dignity (fair question). When I told her that I did, I knew it was the truth. He also left me mine. We really are better for it. While the rest will be left up to doctors and could take months to fully understand, we have the most we can hope for because we found it together. We truly are better together. That first year of marriage can be hard as you rediscover boundaries and learn to work within them, but when you’re able to do it together, it is so incredibly worth it.

Have you hit a milestone fight with your partner? What did you do to resolve it? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 4/18

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewWe all check in here to talk about how to make the most of one day of our lives on the least amount of money. We come here for bad-ass wedding ways to make a single 24 hours take the smallest bite out of our bank accounts as possible. I read an article the other day that said the average cost of a wedding is $32,641.00. To avoid spending such a chunk-o-change, broke-asses like you and me scour the Internet, we tap into our creative side and we work really hard to find ways to have our priceless day come and go without such a high price tag. We do a lot to plan for our wedding, but what do we do to plan for our marriage?

    That is where my focus has been lately. I am good at finding deals. I am good at planning weddings. I am creative. I have worked in the industry, I know it like the back of my hand. I know a lot about building a great day, but I feel like I do have to ask myself this: “Am I going to be good at being married?” “Do I know how to build a great partnership?” I think that I do, but there are things in a marriage that can cause unnecessary stress. When about half of all people who try this fail at it, you have to understand that a marriage is a very sensitive endeavor. Marriages fall victim to many things. Some of those may not be in your control, but there are many things that are in your control. There are things that I stress about right now that my partner will end up stressing over too if I bring them into this marriage.

    From there I started thinking about what things are in my control right now that I could change that will set us up for a better beginning as a husband and wife. What can I effectively change about what I bring into the marriage? What do I bring with me that will make unneeded stress for myself and my partner? My answer was simple.

    Credit Card Debt.

    So, I began a quest to get rid of my credit card balances. All. Of. Them. This week, I paid off my last credit card. Now my only debts are my mortgage and my car payment … and that feels good. I did this for myself to make my marriage better, but it also makes me better. I felt a huge weight lift when I paid off the last one. This was a weight that was on me, it caused me stress, which affected my mood and my confidence. Had I let it continue, I would have drug that into my marriage with me.

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    Inspirational Print available from Etsy seller InModernTypeface

    I guess the point off all this is that when we actively takes steps to make ourselves better as we approach our wedding day, we take steps to make our marriage a more successful place to live in.

    Have you made any big steps to making sure you’re putting your best foot into your marriage? Has your partner? Share in the comments!

  • 11/11

    When I read this piece on The Huffington Post, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Because I totally get feeling like I deserve more and feeling resentful when it isn't doled out. And guys, let me tell you, it's those feelings that will dance with --if not spell uncertain -- doom. But a shift in thinking can help considerably, as this article points out. My wife doesn't…

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    9/17

    A lot of times during these On Marriage posts, we delve into deep, sometimes emotionally exhausting subjects. Ones that pull out all the feels. So, occasionally, I like to find the odd lighthearted listicle to get back to the shinier side of things. This post, written by Lexi Herrick and found on Huffington Post, does just that. Because sometimes, it is about the little things. Via…

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    8/11

    A funny thing tends to happen, even if just momentarily (you know, before you snap back into real life) once that big ol' sparkler lands on your finger: The party becomes the goal and we forget about what it all really means. I did. So when I read this piece on The Huffington Post and found myself nodding along in agreement, I knew that it might…

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  • 7/29

    As an often-times (admittedly) snarky person, I'm not immune to flippantly "predicting" the outcome of others' affairs. I know it's not a good thing and it can breed negativity, but I also mind the company I keep when doing so, and I know with all certainty I'm not alone in my passive judgements. But what's more telling than an outsider's view on a couple's status…

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    6/24

    **This post is brought to you by our friends at ElementAssociates.com, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. By Slightly-Less-Random via Flickr Creative Commons. Guys, this isn't the most romantic of wedding topics, but it's real. And it's important. I mean, as I type this, Dana herself is headed into yet another surgery on her eyes. Health care and the necessity of insurance is a…

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    5/27

    Y'all, speaking from experience, marriage is tough. And there are times when it doesn't work, maybe because it wasn't "meant to be" (I don't really know what this means, other than fate/destiny/a flying spaghetti monster may have had some sneaky upper hand in my decisions as a lonely, confused mid-twenties female) or maybe because of our own action -- or lack thereof -- leading up to…

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  • 4/21

    Often times, when we're in the throes of wedding planning, we forget what's on the other side of the tulle, peonies, Champagne and sparklez. We forget that there have been fights, anxiety, uncertainty ... and there will be more of those. Because marriage takes sweat, fortitude, compassion and sometimes fear. As this post from Momastery points out, sometimes we lose the butterflies, and it takes work to…

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