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Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

  • Lisa Lou

Q/A My Money His Money Our Money

Q: I have several money questions. I am recently married. Is it alright to buy myself things without checking with my husband? Is it alright to spend my spouse’s money on things for myself? Should you spend your spouse’s money even if you can afford it with your own money? Is it wiser to just have your own separate bank account to deposit your money in?

A: To get to the root of the issue, we need to change the questions. Healthy couples set up a system for handling finances that enables both to feel safe. Household expenses and other necessities are clearly defined along with goals for saving and giving. Surplus money can be allocated for luxuries or travel and other mutually agreed upon items. Marriage is about “oneness” and walking in agreement. When we marry, we make a covenant with God and take on each other’s identity. Our lives are no longer mine or his, but ours. We celebrate together, we mourn together, and we carry each other’s burdens. If one spouse is sick, the other steps up to take care of them. We would not say, “Sorry you are sick, but you are on your own. Hope you feel better soon.” If one spouse has a problem they are dealing with, the other spouse does not say, “Sorry about your problem. Have fun solving it.”


In marriage, there is not my money and his money. If the mother stayed home to take care of the children, and the husband was the breadwinner, would the mother not be allowed to spend money because, technically, the husband earned it, thus making it his money? As a couple, we contribute to the greater good of the marriage and family through shared contribution. This might include salary, house chores, yard maintenance, cooking, cleaning the dishes, on and on. Both husband and wife bring their contributions to the marriage in different ways.


If you take a “my money/his money” approach, how would this next scenario work? The wife agrees, with her salary, to save for their child’s college tuition, while the husband, with his salary, agrees to save for the house mortgage. Mom receives a pay cut due to hard times and cannot save as much. Would dad say, “Sorry, daughter, you cannot attend college because, mom wasn’t able to save enough.” In marriage, we do life together. We are partners. One of the top struggles in marriage is finances. Some maintain a hers vs his mentality. When we do this, we have not merged every aspect of our lives. We are still living as two separate people. This is what roommates do, not spouses. Why would we combine every other part of our lives, but when it comes to money we say, “Oh, no, you don’t! I made this money. It is mine and stays in my corner.” If one spouse brings debt into a marriage, the other spouse does not say, “Have fun paying that debt off.” Instead, they tackle the debt together. My burdens become my spouse’s burdens.


Couples need to look at their combined income, create a budget (we call it a spending plan in our family), and agree, together, what the goals of the family will be. Does this mean you have no freedom to splurge on your own? Of course not. We all need that freedom, and we do not need a spouse staring over our shoulder. But that decision should be made as a couple. If you have $1,000 of discretionary money remaining each month (after savings and giving), then you might agree that each of you take $500 for yourself. You do not need to then ask each other if it is alright if you buy something with your $500. You have agreed, together, that it is yours to spend as you wish, and the other spouse should not question this.


If you find the next month you only have $600 of extra money, then you both need to tighten in your belts, regardless of who’s income went down. Money problems is one of the top reasons for divorce. It is something that needs to be worked out. If you and your husband struggle in this area, you may need to address the need with a counselor or respected third party so the problem can be defined, and a reasonable solution found. Dave Ramsey is a leading expert in the field of finances and marriage. Here are 2 articles that talk about marriage and money. I highly recommend diving into his resources for healthy examples of marriage and money: www.daveramsey.com


Article 1:

https://ktar.com/story/2587495/dave-ramsey-says-married-couples-should-combine-finances/#:~:text=Jesus%20said%20it%20this%20way,re%20reaching%20for%20those%20together.

Article 2:

https://www.daveramsey.com/askdave/relationships-and-money/daves-take-on-separate-checking-accounts#:~:text=Dave's%20Take%20On%20Separate%20Checking%20Accounts&text=If%20you%20want%20to%20be,to%20avoid%20bouncing%20checks%20otherwise.

Knowing how to handle finances is important for the relationship. When you use the correct tools to set up a healthy system, you will be amazed how this helps your overall marriage.

Patti Hatton and Lisa Lou