December 19, 2018
I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but I have two old sisters, Becca and Shana.
They have always been my biggest role models and my strongest advocates. They have always showed me the way by achieving greatness in their studies, their personal lives and even killing it on the basketball court. Now, more than ever, I admire them. I admire them for the strong, beautiful relationships they have with their husbands. I admire them for the incredible bond they have nurtured and created with each of their children. And I admire them for the courageous and independent women who they continue to be each and every day.
Basically, they are super women and I am lucky to be their little sister.
Simcha and Moshe (aka brother-in-laws) are both a close 3rd when it comes to role models. I can talk to them about anything and they will give me honest and loving responses and I am lucky to be their sister too.
When it comes to advice, these four awesome humans are always the ones I turn to, and never once have they steered me wrong. That’s why, I am excited to share with you”3 things you should do before you tie the knot!” Three things my sisters and brother-in-laws advice me to do before I get married. Five pieces of advice to make sure you start your marriage off on the right foot.
Focus on each other instead of yourselves. Think about what you can give to your SO instead of what you can get from them. You can no longer just think about your needs and your desires. Remember you two are a pair which means, if you put them first and they put you first, everyone will be happy! I am not saying you need to surprise them with a trip to Hawaii every weekend, or you need to just drop whatever you are doing at all times when they call, but if you know your partner is having a rough day, maybe pick up their favorite chocolate on the way home from work or make sure all the dishes are done before they get back… it’s the little things that matter. Start putting them first today, and you will have a very successful marriage tomorrow.
Exercise: Every morning while you are in the shower, sipping your first coffee or the day or walking your puppy, instead of stressing over the tasks of your day, ask yourself this “What does [Insert Fiances Name] have going on today, what can I do to make it easier? What will make them smile today? If you start doing this today, it will become easier and easier, until it is just second nature.
I know, this one isn’t anything new, but it is so important to reiterate. Being on the same page concerning your finances before you get married, will be a game changer! Be open about the student loans you owe, the credit card debt you have built up and the credit score you have earned. Financial surprises are going to arise no matter what, be a united front instead of two independent contributors.
So where do you even start? Once you and your fiance have it all out on the table (remember, no surprises!), begin with discussing what your financial goals are. How was money discussed and dealt with during your upbringing, and if you are going to have separate accounts or joint banking? With these big questions answered, understood and agreed upon, it will help shape your financial relationship moving forward.
Exercise A: Sometimes, it is better to see it than talk about it. That is why I love spreadsheets! Pick one month out of your engagement to write down all of your expenses. Every night before you go to sleep, open up your spreadsheet and write down what money you have spent that day, your fiance should follow suite. Divide it into three categories, (A) Parter One, (B) Partner Two and (C) Both. This way, at the end of the month, when all expenses are accounted for, you both can see exactly who is spending what and what you need to work on to reach the financial goals you desire as a couple.
Exercise B: Swap credit cards for just a month. That’s right, you heard me, that means your partner will have your credit card and you will have theirs. This exercise will help open the financial conversation. This will aid you two to really start thinking about it as “our money” instead of “my money.”
As the years go on, your work schedules get crazier, you’ll throw in a dog, two cats and 3 kids. The bills and the duties pile up and a night out with your husband or wife might start feeling like just another responsibility. Don’t let it. Make sure you look forward to that time alone together. Make sure you still get excited to go out with the one person you see every day, the one person you have chosen to built a life together, a family together. Dating doesn’t stop just because you say ” I do”
Exercise: Date night! You don’t need synced Google Calendars to schedule date night, but you do need to put it in! (To be honest though, synced calendars are always super helpful when two people are co-existing). At the beginning of every week, take a look at your calendars together and choose a day that works best for both of you. Pick a day that you and your partner will not be stressed out trying to make it on time. Choose a night where you can calmly get ready and head out together. Once you are on the date, leave your phones in the car or on airplane mode in your bag. You do not need them! This will keep you and your partner focused on one another during this precious weekly date night. It will help you connect and bond that you and your partner will look forward to your weekly date nights more and more each week.
Marriage isn’t easy, but it can be a beautiful and powerful thing when you want it to be. Take the time to cherish your relationship, grow in your partnership and thrive in your unity. I am lucky to be surrounded by incredible marriages and I wish nothing but the best for yours!
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I'm Yael, an award winning wedding photographer based out of South Jersey serving fun loving, warm hearted, madly in love couples who want to be totally present, cherish every moment of their wedding day and walk away with photos that make them feel the magic each and every time they see their wedding photos.