Tag: Wife

Should Relationships Have Year-End Checkups?

My husband has a stack of year-end reviews on his desk—reviews from his bosses, reviews by) his peers, reviews of his staff. And then there’s one from me. What started as a joke between us 10 years ago—over piles of socks left on the floor—has become a yearly tradition: our year-end review as a couple. Performance reviews, for better or worse, have long been a staple of corporate America. Outside the office, I’ve found that they can also open up a whole new way of communicating with family and close friends. And they’re a handy way to air minor grievances.

Several couples I know have their own version of a yearly performance review. One refers to it as the “State of Our Union.” Another takes a more serious approach to what they call their annual “Board of Directors Meeting,” complete with a formal agenda in four sections: personal, professional, philanthropic and spiritual. A couple with adult children makes their review a full-family affair, with a psychologist on hand in case the conversation gets heated. In explaining why he conducts reviews at home, a friend said, “Sometimes I think we’re more honest with people at work than we are with our own family.”

For our own review, my husband and I talk over dinner about our “accomplishments” over the past year as a couple, the “areas for improvement,” the “goals” we want to set for the year ahead and the “next steps” we are going to take to get there. Comments run the gamut from petty complaints, like laundry on the floor, to important goals, like setting time alone as a couple. These reviews force us to focus and reflect on the big picture, to give priority to what’s really important to us in our very busy lives.

Our review generally takes place close to New Year’s Eve, making it a handy New Year’s resolution list, albeit one written by another person. The tone of ours tends to be tongue-in-cheek. For more serious reviewers, a friend suggests adopting what’s called the “hamburger technique.” Structure your review as if it were a hamburger: soft bun to start (ease in with compliments), solid meat (the big criticism), lettuce (room to grow), then finish with another soft bun (more closing compliments).

Our annual review has even grown to include family and close friends. Everyone who has heard about it seems interested in giving it a try, perhaps because there aren’t very many socially acceptable ways to tell friends about the little things that bother you. That’s where the review comes in handy.

When a couple close to us heard about our couple’s review ritual, they requested to be reviewed on the spot—and then turned around and reviewed us, too. Apparently, I’m not so good at keeping my calendar and have canceled on them more times than I should have. They suggested that I turn the scheduling over to my husband, who now books our monthly get-togethers. On the rare occasion that we have to postpone a dinner now, they jokingly—or not so jokingly—say, “Don’t think this won’t come up in your review.”

A friend I’ve known for 20 years was habitually late—really late—to our dinners. Over dinner a couple of years ago, I told her I was giving our friendship a year-end review. She laughed, and I said, “You have always been there for me, and I trust you completely as a friend. I also trust that you’re going to be at least a half-hour late every time we meet.” She nodded, smiled and took the comments in the spirit they were given. And she’s never been late again.

Not everyone is as open to being reviewed. My advice: Know your audience and your boundaries. Drinks with a friend turned into an impromptu, year-end intervention for one woman I know. After a positive start, the “reviewer” launched into a critique of the friend’s boyfriend, citing unsolicited “areas for improvement,” and encouraged her friend to end the relationship. The friendship never recovered. Some feedback is better left unsaid.

In a controversial move, my husband took the initiative last year to write up a review of my mother. That’s right, a review of his mother-in-law. He handed her an envelope on Christmas morning with the words “Year-End Review” plastered in bold across the front. Pale-faced, she opened it—and then started to smile as she read her glowing reviews as a mother and grandmother. Scanning to the bottom, she found an area for improvement: Meatball production down from peak in 2010.

The review worked. We now always have a freezer full of meatballs.

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*This post was originally written by Jennifer Wallace published in the Wall Street Journal.

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Things About Marriage I’m Afraid I Won’t Like

Like most women, I think about marriage a lot (probably more than I should) even though I’m not close to getting married yet. And for the most part I think that there are a lot of things about marriage I’ll probably enjoy. However, there are a few things that have me worried –

  • My husband watching me get dressed – I think part of the excitement of dating (at least for me) is that my date gets to see me all dressed up, not dressed down. After hours of primping, polishing, waxing & curling, etc., I would rather him see me once I finish getting dressed. I don’t know any man who enjoys a woman squeezing into her spanx, bending over to paint her toenails, or tweezing her stray eyebrow hairs. Lol! Think of it like buying a car – nobody gets excited about seeing their BMW on the assembly line, all bare & plain. We only like to see it once it’s all put together, shiny & ready to drive off the lot.
  • One bank account – I know, I know, couples should have separate bank accounts. Not to worry, I will definitely do that but what about all the common bills or the vacations that we take together? You see, when I’m dating a guy & we go out for dinner that money comes out of his account and his account only. Going out with a boyfriend does not affect my bank account whatsoever. But when I go out to dinner with my husband, it may come out of his account but it’s still our money. In other words, less money to go on vacation with!
  • Sharing the same bathroom – Going to the bathroom is a time for solitude. Not only do I want to be in the bathroom alone, I don’t want even want to be bothered. Putting on makeup, brushing my teeth, curling my hair or even going to the bathroom are all things best done alone. I can’t imagine having to share that space with anyone else.
  • Signing a new signature – I know this sounds trivial but it’s something a man will never have to think about. I’ve been signing my own name for the 30+ years, so signing a different name for the next 30+ years will take a little getting used to
  • Learning a new family – This will probably be one of the hardest parts of getting married for me. Getting to know a new family, that I may or may not even like, is going to be tough. What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them? How do I decide which holidays I want to spend with his family as opposed to my own family? Which of his family members can I trust and which ones will take my side over his (lol)? Gaining acceptance into someone else’s family can be stressful.

I try to ask some of my married friends these questions, but I haven’t gotten any good answers. If you’re married (or have been married), how have you handled these situations?

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Shouldn’t My Future Mother-In-Law Kiss Up To Me?

Sometimes I think about what my mother-in-law will be like. Will she & I get along? Will I like her? Will I call her “mom” or by another name? (Hopefully not something that rhymes with witch) Will she teach me the family recipes or back me up when she knows that her son & I have been arguing? Will she be proud to call me her daughter-in-law? Will she & I hang out together and talk often? Or will I despise her and complain to my girlfriends about her? Maybe I’ll dread the holidays when & if I come to visit. Maybe she and I will be complete opposites or worse yet, she’ll think I’m not good enough for her precious son. Whatever the case may be I know that once I get married, I’ll have to deal with (or put up with) not only his entire family but also his mother.

Of course, if my mother-in-law (MIL for short) & I don’t get along I would think that it would greatly affect my relationship with my husband, especially if he’s close to his mother. I wouldn’t want him to be stuck in the middle but that just may end up being the case. Who should a husband side with – his mother or his wife? I say his wife, because according to the Bible, “…shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” (Gen 2:24) Plus we all know the saying: Happy wife = Happy life. Not to mention as his wife I am the one that is committing to him for the remainder of my life, sticking by his side through sickness, times of poverty, bearing & raising his children and will be there for him when he puts his mother in the grave. Yes, that’s morbid I know but that’s all a part of being a wife. So with that said, if I happen to have a MIL that I don’t get along with wouldn’t it be in her best interest to make a special effort to get along with me?

Just think about – if I knew that someone had the power of possibly putting me in a senior home once I got older or letting me move in with them instead, I would try my best to be on that person’s good side. If I knew that someone else was largely responsible for my child’s happiness and my grandchildren’s wellbeing, I would do everything in my power to build a good relationship with that person, especially being as the elder. Sure, there needs to be mutual respect between me & my MIL, and deference on my end since this is the woman that created the man I love & have pledged my life to be with. But don’t think that just because I tolerate you that I like you because those are two totally different feelings.

Until I get married or have children of my own that one day get married, I won’t know what it’s like to have a mother-in-law or to be one. Hopefully I’ll have a good relationship with my own mother-in-law but if not, I may have to prepare to not have a relationship with her at all.

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ISO: Head of Household

My parents have been married for over 30 years. Correction: My biological parents have been married for over 30 years. Although their marriage hasn’t been perfect and I’m sure there were times when one or both of them wanted to call it quits, they were committed to their marriage. They were committed to their commitment. And that’s exactly what I want in my mate.

Unfortunately, coming from a two-parent home seems to be a rarity these days (especially within the African American community and there are various reasons for that, all of which will have to go into another posting). Because of this it seems that a lot of men are not equipped for marriage, let alone to be a good husband or father. Now of course, there are some exceptions to this rule (President Barack Obama, for instance) but for the most part in order to be a good leader, you need a good example of leadership.

Sure, it’s nice to have a strong male example around like a grandfather or an uncle. But an example is not the same as the real thing. That’s like saying a substitute teacher is just as good as a regular teacher. While both might be good at teaching, it is always best for the students to have their full time teacher in the classroom.

Now don’t think I’m saying that having a bad father in the home is better than no father at all. But the argument for having a bad father in the home is that you can at least see what not to do. In other words, you are able to see how to overcome adversity when the strife is right in front of you. People always say that it’s not healthy for children to see their parents argue. But if you’ve never seen your mother & father argue and then make up, how can you possibly know how to handle arguments as the head of your own household? Yes, you don’t have to see an argument to know how to handle one, but it’s always better to learn by example rather than by trial & error.

Men like to think that they have so much to lose when they get married. But as a woman I have to give up a lot as well, particularly letting a man take over my household. I want a man who knows what he is doing. And if a man has never seen an example of how to lead how can I trust that he will know how to lead our household?

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Girlfriends ARE Sexier Than Wives

This is an interesting article that I read this morning, written by Gina B. from Six Brown Chicks. I must say that I agree with her wholeheartedly. Of course, sexy is in the eye of the beholder but you can’t argue that once you’re married the “chase” is gone. There are many, many benefits to marriage but the element of keeping it sexy is easier without the “burden” of being a wife.

Maintaining your sexiness takes work after you get married and is probably less of a priority than when you were single. When you throw children into the mix, a mortgage and other family needs, things like shaving your legs everyday or wearing lingerie to bed usually take a backseat. I’m all for keeping things hot and perhaps the definition of sexy changes once you get married, but you can’t disagree that it is easier to keep it sexy because you want to, not because you have to.

Read the article below –

               Wife Versus Girlfriend — Who Is Sexier?

I’ve been in a relationship for a while now, which means that everyone demands to know when we’re getting married.  Oddly, that question bothers my boyfriend FAR less than it annoys me.  I avoid the question for a few reasons.  First, my decision to change my marital status is nobody’s business.  And if I’m being honest? I don’t think that the concept of being a wife is all that sexy.

To be clear . . . I’m not talking about women who choose to be the girlfriend, as in “other woman.”  I’m referring to a monogamous relationship where there is a consideration to make the transition from girlfriend to wife.

My opinion has been shaped by watching good friends and colleagues evolve from single to married, and how their lives and perceptions of their spouses have changed over the years.

My theory is unsettling to several people – especially the couples who disagree, and those whose lifelong ambitions have been to say “I do.”  But before becoming offended, I invite you to really think about it.

Here are the differences, as I see them:

Girlfriends are fun.  When a man goes public with a girlfriend, everyone is happy for him.  “Finally!”  they exclaim, “he has someone to have fun with, who’s good for him.”  If they like her, his friends will be excited to witness the relationship unfold and see where it leads.  The couple hangs out together and they play together — all efforts to get to know each other and maximize their experiences.  It’s very exciting and suspenseful – especially for the couples’ family and friends, who are voyeuristically sitting back with bowls of popcorn, watching, wondering and making suppositions as to whether or not the couple will “make it.”

Wives are serious.  Wives run households and take care of all of the people who reside within the four walls of their homes.  Wives have responsibilities and they sacrifice.   There’s no mystery.  The couple has crossed the marital finish line, and it’s time to start building a life together.  In some cases, date nights have to be created to keep the spark.  Nothing to see here, folks.  Keep it moving.

Girlfriends are voluntary.  There’s nothing that keeps a man there, except that he wants to be there.  There are no legal obligations.  No fear of financial ruin.  In most cases, there are no children to remain for.   It’s pure desire.

Wives are perceived as obligation.  I really REALLY hate hearing a man refer to his wife as “the old ball and chain,” or complaining because his wife is keeping him from doing something he’d rather be doing.  Yet I hear those things all of the time.  I’d be a gazillionaire if I had a dollar for every time I heard “I can’t that night.  There’s an event that my wife is making me attend” or “I’d better not, or my wife will kill me.”  Unfortunately, I rarely hear a married man say “I can’t WAIT to get home to my wife.”

Girlfriends are keeping it sexy.  As a girlfriend, there are a few things you know for sure:  1) Your man can leave you at any time, so you have to maintain your hotness.  2) If he does leave you, you’ll need the ability to attract a new one.  Most girlfriends stay on their game.

Wives?  Well . . . according to several men, many women make a distinct shift after getting married.  There’s less of a commitment to sexiness, and the complaint is that the “girlfriend version” is much hotter than the “wife version.”

Girlfriends are pursued.   Men enjoy the hunt, and girlfriends are the prey.  Men are known to make grand gestures to further engage a woman.

Wives are no longer pursued.  Men aren’t interested in pursuing what they’ve already won.  I’ve known men to completely change their behavior and demeanor once they’ve “closed the deal.” (To be fair, men don’t typically pursue any girlfriend they’ve had over six months.)

Girlfriends are supposed to be treated like princesses, who are youthful and to be indulged.

Wives are the queens, and while that is a revered position, hers is a more stately and administrative role.

As far as sex is concerned?  Well . . . we’ve all heard the complaints that the frequency of married sex is WAY slower than dating sex.

Disclaimer – if you’ve been in a long-term relationship for several years, you might have defaulted to spouse status without the legal paperwork.

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The direct link to this article can be found here: (http://www.chicagonow.com/six-brown-chicks/2013/04/wife-versus-girlfriend-who-is-sexier)

Yes, I Am Using You (After All, Dating Is Practice For Marriage)

Isn’t dating just “practice” for the real thing – marriage? According to Wikipedia, dating is defined as a form of courtship consisting of social activities between two people with the aim of each assessing the others suitability as a partner & is usually a pre-cursor to marriage. Dating is an opportunity to meet and get to know different types of people. The purpose of dating is to learn who & what it is you really like in a person. Dating should expand your view of what you find attractive in a potential mate. You can observe, notice and get to know different types of people and possibly discover things about yourself that you may have never known before. You can monitor your feelings & reactions, to different personalities and character traits as you meet different people.

Dating lets you practice how to relate to people of the opposite sex. If you need to learn how to open up and talk about yourself, your feelings, and your wants, practice it in dating. If you need to learn how to confront others and deal with conflict, practice it in dating. Or maybe you need to learn how to listen to others, and be less self-centered. Dating is a place where you can improve upon your own faults as well.

I see dating as a wonderful time to find out about myself. To find out how I need to change myself to attract the mate I am looking for. Dating is give and take. Dating is a time to show others what being treated well looks like. I use dating as an opportunity to love and serve others so that when it is time for me to get married, I will be well equipped to love & serve my husband.

Dating is a place to find a mate by experiencing, learning, and growing. But until that time comes, you can learn about what it is you like and don’t like, and best of all have fun.

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Do Men Sign Prenups? Rich Woman, Poor Man – What Happens When The Woman Has All The Money?

It seems like almost every celebrity couple signs prenuptial agreements before getting married. But those are usually situations where the bulk of the money is coming from the man or both parties have individual wealth (think Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones or Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick). But I wonder what happens when the woman is the breadwinner in the relationship. Does she make the man sign a prenup before marrying him?

I started to think about all of the female celebrities that have married “regular” men (or have gotten close to marriage). Here’s the list of some of the couples that came to mind and their net worth, according to www.celebritynetworth.com:

  • Michelle Obama & President Barack Obama – As a VP of Community Affairs, Mrs. Obama was pulling in close to $300,000 / The then-Senator about $160,000 per year
  • Teresa Heinz & John Kerry – Our Secretary of State only makes about $187K, and he’s married to an heiress of Heinz ketchup thought to be worth close to 1 billion dollars
  • Oprah Winfrey & Stedman Graham – Okay, Oprah makes like a gazillion dollars a year
  • Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel & Jason Hoppy – Last year Bethenny made 8 figures; I’m guessing Jason made about 6
  • Jennifer Lopez & Mark Anthony – Jlo is worth about $250 million, whereas her soon to be ex-husband is “only” worth about $40 million (largely due in part to being married to her)
  • Songstress Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon – Mariah’s net worth over $500 million, compared to a “paltry” $15 million for Nick

 

Surely, some men are willing to sign a prenup to be with the woman they love. They recognize that bringing less money into the marriage doesn’t make them any less of a man, and that money isn’t everything. But don’t men hold all the cards? For example, on the television show Real Housewives of Atlanta, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Kandi Burruss has stated repeatedly that she believes in prenups. However, this was before she got engaged. Now if Kandi’s fiancé (Todd) doesn’t want to sign a prenup, then she may lose him altogether. There are plenty of women who would love to be with Todd and wouldn’t make him sign a prenup (grant it, most of these women aren’t millionaires but still, you get my point).

So if you are a rich woman, do you take the risk of losing a good man by making him sign a prenuptial agreement just so you can save some money? Or, do you follow your heart and marry the man of your dreams knowing that having money can’t replace a having a husband?

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