Monthly Archives: May 2012

May 31

Arguing About Family Income and Chores

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

Note: This guest post is from Marina Salsbury.

It takes hard work to care for and support a family in and out of the home.

With an ever increasing number of women flourishing in the workforce, the traditional family structure of rigidly defined gender roles has given way to a more equal participation of men and women in all areas of family life.

While liberating both sexes from prescribed societal norms, it has become fertile ground for arguments about contributions to the family unit.

The empathy gained from this shift combined with a common measurement for valuing contributions can be the deciding factors in a successful and long-lasting marriage.

In the last twenty-five years an increasing number of women have not only entered the workforce, but have earned more money than their husbands, forever altering the traditional family dynamic.

Wives Earn More Than Their Husbands

Thirty-three percent of all married couples in 2006 saw the wife earn more than her husband. Furthermore, women are working in and studying degrees (such as online MBA programs) traditionally saved for men.

This relatively new development has brought to light the difficulties in defining fairness when discussing perceived contributions to the family. Equitably comparing different aspects of family life, while difficult, has surely entered a new phase in human history.

The present construction of the modern family unit, where both men and women have had far more control over what role they will fill, has provided a far greater understanding concerning all aspects of family life.

Census Bureau statistics show the percentage of families with children under eighteen where women are the sole provider to be increasing. Gender roles have largely abolished themselves, relying more on the individual talents of couples to sort out what roles they need to fill.

Finding the Right Balance at Home

The simple fact of the matter is that there is a known quantity of work to be done to properly maintain a family.

Listing out work duties and chores succinctly, and the time it takes to complete them, is a crucial step to settling disputes that are ultimately about one member feeling treated unfairly.

In the case of two-income households, the amount of money brought in should really be a non-factor, since arbitrarily assigning worth equivalent to marketplace value is pointless. Time becomes the commodity used to define fairness because it is measured equally for both people.

In the end, arguments and differences of opinion are natural, regardless of how close a married couple think themselves.

Making sure fairness is achieved in contributions to the family relies on a combination of honesty and empathy. With the help of shifting gender roles in the modern family, this has never been more achievable.

As with any team, success depends on cultivating a sense of equality, and finding a common measurement for contributions, such as time, is the logical first step.

How about you – do you have traditional or non-traditional gender roles in your household?

Marina Salsbury planned on becoming a teacher since high school, but found her way instead into online writing after college. She currently writes on a variety of topics, but always seems to veer back to education-related articles.
May 21

The Vow: How Deep Is Your Faith In Your Marriage?

By Dustin | Book & Product Reviews

Note from Dustin: This is the BEST GUEST POST ever! Honestly, I couldn’t be more excited because after 2 1/2 years of Engaged Marriage, my wonderful wife Bethany makes her writing debut today to share her love of the book The Vow. 

If you enjoy her post, please leave a comment – she’s a bit insecure about her writing and I’d love her to share more!

As a fan of Engaged Marriage, I thought I’d contribute a “guest post” regarding the book The Vow: The True Events That Inspired the Movie by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter.

I read this book because I am a fan of romance and had seen the trailer for the upcoming movie.

I imagined that the book would be a moving story of how their love conquered all and got them through what anyone would think of as a horrible time in their lives.

It is true that the book is a love story, but what most inspired me was not the love that Kim and Krickett had for one another, but their faith in God and how that faith seemed to move mountains that appeared insurmountable.

It is obvious from the title that the “vow” that Kim and Krickett took on their wedding day was one they did not promise lightly…but I’m sure that any married couple thinks that when they are standing up in front of witnesses on the day of their own wedding.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the book because I’d like those here at Engaged Marriage to read this testimony of faith and love for themselves.  However, I did feel compelled to write this to encourage more people to read this book, if they haven’t already.

Through reading this, I was reminded of how much God truly loves the vocation of marriage and how much He wants to be a part of what we have promised in front of Him and to each other.

I was reminded that all of us will face troublesome times in our marriages, hopefully not as terrible as that of Kim and Krickett, but also realizing that there is a reason for everything.  God uses us as tools to spread His word and grace to others.

Kim and Krickett saw their story as a way to share their faith.  They used interviews and TV shows to spread the message of God’s goodness.

Can we do the same?  When faced with challenges in our lives and marriages, we should be asking God “Why?”…not “Why me?” but “What are you trying to say through me?”

When we remember to include God in our marriages, we are strengthened in our vows to each other and given graces we would not have otherwise received if we hadn’t promised to love each other.

It was no coincidence that the first miracle performed by Jesus was at the wedding feast at Cana!

We are all called to vocations in our lives: married life, single life, or religious life.  Make sure that the vow you take is not done lightly and that you are prepared to walk the path God’s will has laid out for you.

It won’t always be easy, but when we include Him, nothing is impossible.

What do you think? Has the depth of your vow been tested, and how would you react if it was?  Share in the comments below!

Bethany Riechmann is the loving wife behind the scenes of Engaged Marriage.  While she only writes once every 30 months, her husband would love your encouragement to get her to share her valuable perspective more often here on the blog!

May 17

Preparing Your Wedding Image

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

In preparation for your wedding day, one of your main focuses will certainly be on looking your very best for the big occasion.

Not only is this nice for you and the people around you (not to mention the person you are marrying), but it will also be worthwhile in years to come, when you look back at pictures from your wedding.

These are pictures and moments that you will remember for your whole life, so you will certainly want to have taken care of a few things with regard to your appearance.

Here are a few tips for you to consider:

1. If you have time, get in shape now!

Lots of people suddenly realize when it’s too late that they would like to be in slightly better shape for their wedding day. So, while it may be unrealistic to make drastic changes by the time your big day rolls around, do give some advance thought to getting fit.

If you’re a bit trimmer and healthier looking than usual, you’ll look all the better for your wedding, and for the pictures that will be taken there.  For busy couples, check out the fast and fun program from Thrive90 Fitness.

2. Take care of your smile.

This may seem like a bit of a random suggestion, but one thing that often bothers people in their wedding photos is that they feel their smiles aren’t bright or white enough.

Particularly if you are posing in or next to a white dress or a bright white shirt, it will be obvious if your teeth are a bit yellow or unclean. Take a few minutes to visit topdentists.com or consult your local dentist about quick whitening methods, and when your wedding day arrives, you can flash your smile with confidence and pride.

3. Take care to address any facial blemishes you may have in advance of your wedding.

This may mean acne, scarring, cuts, or even baggy eyes and wrinkles. Some of these problems are difficult to address permanently, but you can take steps to make sure that your face looks smooth and healthy for the wedding. Use skin-care products and address specific concerns, and you will be satisfied with the way you look for the occasion.

Of course, these are just a few of the many image-related things you’ll want to consider in the weeks and months before your wedding. You’ll also need to consider other factors, such as what to wear, what your rings will look like, how to do your hair, how to arrange your wedding parties, etc.

Overall, it can be a bit overwhelming. But remember, the most important thing that happens on your wedding day is the formation of your new marriage!

(photo source)
May 09

A Simple Love Story (and the secret to a happy marriage)

By Dustin | Romance

Those blue eyes looked up at her while she paused, dish towel in her hands.

“What was it like to get married to Daddy? Was he silly like the boys at school?” she asked again. When did her eight year old turn sixteen and wonder about love?”

We were different then, sweetheart,” she skirted the question.

“But look at your face? You look so happy Mommy!” she held the new-found photo up to her weary eyes.

Yes, she was happy then. And she was different.

She quickly corrected herself – it’s not that I’m unhappy now! I love my children. I love my husband. It’s just so…different, yes…

Why was she suddenly so very tired? That little face still waited for an answer; so curious. Where did she find that old picture anyway!?

The kitchen suddenly became smaller as she was drawn back to the day he proposed to her in that restaurant. What was it called again?

She gently set down the dish towel, pulling her little one onto her lap, holding the picture between them as they sat down and she began to tell the tale…

“Your daddy took me to my favorite restaurant back then – it was Italian, but I don’t think it’s there anymore…” and time whisked them away…

Their two heads huddled over that picture together at the kitchen table. She hoped her daughter hadn’t noticed her voice crack as she spoke of walking down the aisle toward the man of her dreams. She could still see him there.

Her face flushed as she remembered their honeymoon. Her teary eyes danced with laughter as she remembered that they never used that scuba gear they bought, not even once. Her daughter just listened; fascinated with the story of their love.

So involved with the photo and the story, she hadn’t noticed him come in until she felt his hand on her shoulder.

“Daddy! Mommy is telling me about when you asked her to marry you!” She hastily tried to hide her face before he saw the tear on her cheek.

“She is, is she?” he half-whispered as he gently brushed the tear away with his thumb. “You know, she’s even more beautiful today”.

“Oh, don’t be silly! I badly need a haircut and I’m wearing your old t-shirt!” she moved to continue with dinner; embarrassed.

“In fact, she’s so beautiful…” he held her so she couldn’t escape, “I think we should go out on a date this Friday! What do you think, kiddo? Should I take your mom out and leave you guys with Gramma?” He scooped up his little girl.

“Honey, we can’t possibly ask Mom to do that! Besides, we’re on a budget!”

“Oh Mommy! You should go with Daddy! Isn’t he handsome!? We’ll be good, I promise!” her daughter pleaded with her.

“I’ll call your mom and ask her to keep the kids overnight. She’s always offering. It’s time we took her up on it. We can just rent a movie and have a quiet dinner here – that fits the budget, right? When was the last time you and I just hung out together?”

Her mind swam with all the reasons she shouldn’t.

The kids were still so small. Friday was only two days away! Wasn’t it being selfish to not have an “important” reason to leave the kids with her mother? She usually had movie night with the kids on Friday, wouldn’t they be disappointed? Saturdays were hockey games and house-cleaning, they couldn’t stay up late…

Oh, but her heart remembered the feeling of being just the two of them. How his arms felt around her. How the world just disappeared. God, when was the last time she felt that way? Her mind saw him there in the story, standing there, waiting for her.

He was looking at her that way now. Her heart skipped a beat. Could it be that he still felt that way about her? They hadn’t talked, really talked for so long. She had no idea what he thought about these days. They used to talk about everything.

“Yes, I still need you” his eyes told her. Had he read her mind? She used to think he could.

Minutes passed. Why was this such a difficult decision? Again, her mind drifted back to the story she’d just told. It seemed like such a far away place and time.

Yes, she was different now. But she was still a woman. A mother, yes; but a woman who needed to be with her best friend. To laugh and talk about things besides parent teacher meetings and hockey schedules.

She still felt a little bit of that passion she used to feel whenever she looked at him. The flame hadn’t gone out yet. Now, his eyes seemed to plead,

“Let’s go there again. I’ve missed you”

“I’ve missed you, too” she said aloud. “Yes! Let’s do it!”

Her daughter squealed in delight and ran off to tell her brothers; yelling, “Mommy and Daddy are going on a date!

She didn’t hear their replies as he pulled her towards him; dishtowel, old t-shirt and all.

She was lost in his passionate kiss of “right now” – so much better than the one she remembered of long ago….

Does this story resonate with you?

We’ve been there…

In our busy lives, it’s so very hard to find the time for each other. However, we’ve also learned just how important it is to make that special time to reconnect with your spouse.

That’s why we’ve joined up with our friends Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo from One Extraordinary Marriage and the “Simple Life Girls” Shawn and Krystal from Simple Life Celebrations to create a package to make this idea easier for you to put into action.

Don’t wait another day to make a change in your relationship – It’s never too late to rekindle and reconnect.

The Simply Sexy Date Night Package is full of ideas to get you back on track: a Date Night calendar, dating on a budget, original date night plans, recipes for romantic meals at home, my 15 Minute Marriage Makeover ebook, the Stripped Down ebook and so much more!

Click here to find out more about the package:

-> Simply Sexy Date Night Package <-

 

May 02

7 Budget Friendly Date Ideas You Can Use This Weekend

By Dustin | Romance

7 Budget Friendly Date Ideas You Can Use This WeekendIt is important to keep that flame burning in your relationship and the best way to do that is to take time as a couple and go on a date.

Don’t let money be the reason you and your loved one lose that spark.

Not every outing has to break the bank.

There are plenty of fun and romantic budget friendly dates to dabble in!

Here are 7 budget friendly ideas to get you started:

  • Picnic in the Park

Make some tasty treats; grab a bottle of wine and a blanket. Head to your local park and relax on the grass. Bring some bread to feed the ducks and enjoy the relaxation.

Most parks have fun things to participate in like small farmer markets, swings or paddle boats. You most likely won’t spend over 20 bucks for this date.

  • Drive In Theater

Unfortunately, drive in theaters are getting less and less common. But if your area is lucky to have one, check it out!

It’s very enjoyable and inexpensive. Pack some goodies and a warm blanket and get ready to snuggle up. If a drive in is not close to you, check with your city about movies in the park. Some parks will show a film during the warmer months at night.

  • Brewery or Winery Tour

Local, small breweries and wineries are always pushing for people to take tours, so tour ticket costs are very low. This is great way to support your local economy and enjoy these tasty sips. The tour most likely consists of learning about their business, tasting their products and going home with a new glass!

  • Date at Home

Why leave when you have everything at home? Clean the house up a bit, take the kids to grandmas and set up the dining room table. Cook dinner together, play some tunes, light the candles and pour the wine.

An evening home is inexpensive and can be quite romantic. Try dancing to your favorite CD in your living room. Go ahead, no one’s watching. 🙂

  • Local Dive Bar

Nothing like a good hole in the wall bar to get your competitive side going. That small bar down the road from your home most likely has pool tables and darts plus cheap beers!

This is fun and out of the ordinary for couples, but you can enjoy people watching other locals – and don’t forget quarters for the juke box.

  • Ice Skate or Roller Skate

During the winter months check for outdoor ice skating. Most tickets are under 15 bucks each to skate for an hour or two. During the warmer months, head over to your local indoor skating rink, there always some sort of specials going on.

Try not to laugh when your partner falls.

  • Fruit Picking

This is definitely different from your typical dinner and a movie. What is great about fruit picking is that again, it supports your local businesses and plus dinner will be fresh and delish! Check your city for the nearest farm, farms will most likely provide all the supplies you need for a low cost. This is a great weekend date!

Call a babysitter, stop making excuses and start dating again!

There is nothing like trying something new and fun with your loved one to keep things going. Search your local city for events and possible date ideas, you will be surprised to see how many are low cost if any at all.

Happy Dating!

(photo source)