The First Year of Marriage and Beyond: Expecting The Worst, Planning For The Best

by MyDadBlog on June 15, 2012

in Guest Post

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This Is A Guest Post With Information Sourced From Genworth Financial:

Even though we’ve been married just over a year, my wife and I joke about being an old married couple. We were warned that the first year of marriage wasn’t easy, and so we came into it prepared for a lot of disagreements. Truth be told, it was pretty smooth sailing – partly, because we knew each other so well after dating for years, and partly because we were genuinely happy spending time together,  We settled into our routine easily and found ourselves moving along smoothly together… perhaps, too smoothly.

In fact, things were going so well, I began to develop secret fears about something going horribly wrong.  I was so unaccustomed to the perfectness of it all, that I actually found myself trolling for articles about potential disasters and illnesses, if only to prep myself for the unthinkable. The constant joyousness and feelings of overall stability during that first year of marriage were so unexpected and previously unknown to me, that I just didn’t quite know how to process it all.  While I know my fears were a bit irrational, I also know thing unexpected and unpleasant things happen, even to the best of us. And I would guess that most of us do not have the clairvoyance to know when life is about to take a swing and knock us off our feet.

Of course, it does no good to allow those fears and negative thoughts to stew for too long, so I began to think of more positive and productive solutions to combating my fears and securing a happy and healthy future together well past our first year of marriage. A few things came to mind…

 

Frugality

Though neither of us has a lot of money or above-average incomes, we hope to own a home in the near future. We decided to define monthly budgets, as well as short-term and long-term savings goals.  The first thing we noticed is that the little things add up. We were each spending $3.50 a day to have our morning coffee from our local java shop. Now, we buy a bag of organic dark roasted beans for about $9 a pound and make coffee at home.  That tiny lifestyle change saves us $35 a week. We now bring bag lunches to work and cut back on dinners out. We already carpool to work, but are now considering biking to work 1 or 2 days a week.  Not only would that save on gas expenses, it would also be a great plus for our overall health.  (Which happens to be my next point in the paragraph below.)  We have also cut entertainment expenses like going out to the movies, by instead, staying in and playing board games or reading a book. Now there’s a novel idea!  Ok, bad pun – but I just wanted to make a point of all the minor changes you can make to your lifestyle that will generate significant savings over time.

 

A Healthy Lifestyle

Physical health is obviously one of the most important keys to happiness and longevity, but I think many of us neglect the fact that our emotional health is just as important. Stress and anxiety is far too commonplace in today’s fast-paced world, and I think many of us find it hard to disconnect from the bombardment of information and technology we encounter on a daily basis.   Even the simplest things like taking walks, getting ample fresh air and sunlight, and allowing yourself to get enough sleep can be difficult with our modern day schedules, yet these things are incredibly important to maintaining our natural rhythms and establishing peace of mind during both the day and night. It’s certainly not a bad thing to turn off the television, the cell phone, and close that laptop from time to time either.  Your brain needs rest days just as your body does.

 

Insurance

As the saying goes, “You have to spend money to earn money.”  The fact of the matter is, sometimes you have to spend a little now to guarantee you’ll have funds down the road. However, sometimes the opposite is true.  Following the birth of our first child, my wife and I began looking into life insurance, and  I stumbled across an article that certainly raised our eyebrows; Money Matters: Insuring A New Marriage,  Until that point in time, my wife and I did not fully grasp the fact that life insurance policy could cover accumulated debt.  But once we fully understood the impact, we realized that a life insurance policy needed to be high on our priority list.  While I came into the marriage without debt, my wife had some credit card debt that she’s still diligently paying off.  And when we finally purchase our first home, we were surely accumulate some mutual debt as well.  It would be very difficult for either my wife or I to pay off those debts alone If something were to happen to one of us.  And neither one of us are willing to allow that scenario to occur.  The choice to invest in a life insurance policy was made even easier when we realized that it is far less expensive to purchase a policy when you are young and healthy.

These few simple decisions, and a few others, minimized most of my own fears and have given both my wife and I a stronger sense of stability and security.  I know that that many other young couples have shared very similar experiences in their early years of marriage.  Making smart decisions in the earlier years will extend your longevity and maximize your health and happiness in the later years.

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