Green Is For The Money…

…and gold is for the honeys…my apologies to Bishop Don Juan for jacking his steelo for my post title..LOL!! I got this question in my Twitter DMs and thought I’d answer it, then put it to the commenters:

At what point do you think people  who are dating should get into discussing intimate financial details???

The answer to this is subjective of course but for me and Myron, we seriously started talking INTIMATE financial details when we got engaged. I didn’t want us to go into our marriage without financial transparency. We discussed debt, credit issues and salaries in great detail. We also discussing whether we would merge accounts (we use the 3 pot method – joint accounts for all money and personal accounts for play money – which we allocate out). We talked about planning for retirement and about insurance (health, life, etc.).

I think dating people don’t necessarily need to lay out all of their financial business. Dating does not equal married, even if you live together. I’ve lived with a man before and didn’t feel the need to tell him all my financials. All he needed to know is that I could cover my part of the rent and the household bills and if I could then I needed to let him know. If you don’t live with someone, you probably don’t need to share much at all.

However, you can note how a person handles their money; if you are observant enough. Listen to their conversation. Are they always talking about being broke and you know that based on their profession that they probably make a decent living?? When you are at their home, are there pink notices laying around?? Are there calls from bill collectors that they quickly shut down? Are they always just a little short toward the end of the month??  If they are a parent, are they dodging calls about child support from the other parent? Those may be things that you may need to file away in your mental Rolodex.

Now I don’t think that you should totally dump a person because of less that stellar financial habits: I have forgotten to pay the light bill before and been sitting in the dark and I have student loans that I’ll be paying off until I am 98.75 years old. But there is only so much you can discuss while simply dating a person. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The floor is now open, commenters. What say ya’ll??

Marked

After reading the title of @OneChele’s post about how folks tend to “mark their territory” with their significant others, I was amused and wanted to share a little story of my own in the comment section. But alas, DISQUS would not let me be great from work and Chele’s comments took an EPIC turn of its own yesterday. (Seriously, you HAVE to get over there to read it, because it was LEGENDARY!! LOL!!) So I decided to come back over to my own joint, and share my lil funny with ya’ll.

 Myron and I got engaged in December 2009. Of course, your girl was ecstatic and excited. We celebrated the holiday season in grand style with me showing off my shiny new fiancé as much as I could. We both got invited to a New Years Eve party by a mutual friend of ours. The party was actually for our friend’s sister but she invited some of her friends in her age range along. We were all happy and glowing, the food was plentifiul, drinks were flowing and the DJ was jamming. We came with a group of folks and all the ladies of the group decided to get up and dance.

 So I get up and start to getting my proper shake on, having a good time and this dude comes up in front of me and starts dancing with me. I wasn’t tripping, I figured it was another party guest just having a good time and there is the proper amount of space between us, yanno?? But then old boy comes closer and tries to start grinding on me.

 The next thing I know ya’ll, I feel a sharp tug on my arm, I got spun around and  next thing I knew, my shiny new fiance’ had snatched me off the dance floor! LMAO!!!

 He was salty too!!! There were some vulgarities issued and some mean mugs given. It happened so fast, it was a blur!!!! Luckily, the party was wrapping up so we decided to take our leave. I had to hear more mumbling about how ninjas were #disrespectful in the car on the ride home as well.

 So that night I got marked for good! Now that I think about it though, it was hilarious!!

 You ever been “claimed” in the public before???

Break…Breakdown

I suppose it had to happen.

Full bridal meltdown.

Last night.

Tears and the ugly face cry.

A combination of things led to the breakdown: stress, hormones, frustration (being caused by framily), worry.

I got hugs, kisses and reassurance.

I was told I will be a beautiful bride and then a beautiful wife.

I was told everything always works itself out for the good.

I was reminded that I am creating my OWN new family.

I reminded myself of why I am marrying HIM.

I am marrying him because he is AWESOME.

Thank you baby, I love you!

Can Marriage Be Taught???

This just came across my radar this morning. This article talks about the rise of marriage education classes and if they aiding in preventing divorce. It’s good food for thought and since we are taking our pre-marital classes right now, I thought it was a good follow up.

Here’s the Washington Post article. Take a minute to give it a read. Let me know your thoughts.

The Counselor Is In: Week 4

Editor’s Note: There is no week 3 update because we missed that session and will have to make it up on the back end.

We completed week 4 of our pre-marital counseling last week and it was actually a very interesting and worthwhile topic. This chapter is called Marriage God’s Way and it talks about the concept of preparing for marriage in the context of leaving your family of origin. I talked about it some in a very early post I did called Leaving and Cleaving.

Of course there were some self inventories that we both needed to do such as a 16 question Families of Origin Study which included such queries such as your families occupation (blue collar or white collar), marriage state of the parents, family rules/values, views about sex, religion, work, even politics.  There were even questions about family secrets, how conflict was handled and family boundaries.

We were then asked to compare and contrast our families of origin and examine what impact our family of origin has had on us both positively and negative. I think as human beings we don’t realize how much we are shaped by our parents, at least not until we become adults. There are things about our parents relationship that we want to carry forward into our marriage and certain things we want to leave behind.

The other part of the chapter dealt with in-laws. We were asked to evaluate our relationships with our prospective in-laws. I’ve said before that I lucked out with the in-laws. Myron has great parents who are loving and accepting of me and most importantly to any new marriage, they are not intrusive.  My parents love Myron to pieces and are so excited that someone is taking me off their hands. LOL!!! Trust me when I say, I know I am blessed in this area because I have heard horror stories!!!!!! As a reference to examples of a good father-in-law and mother-in-law the scriptural texts were Exodus 18 and the Book of Ruth.

This was a good session to me. There was a lot of discussion amongst the session leaders and us and the other couple. It was interesting to hear the other couples perspective as well because they are both children of single parents and the other bride is a divorced mother as well.  Clearly, since Myron and I both come from intact two parent homes, we are becoming more of the exception and not the rule.

But what I took from this particular lesson more than anything is that though you are designed by your own family, it’s very important to design your OWN marriage. What worked for your folks may not work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to listen to their wisdom.

You are however, under no obligation to follow their path.

Drop your dealing with the in-laws wisdom in the comments for us.

Judgment Day

When you start planning a wedding, there are a lot of resources available to brides and grooms to be. You can go to bridal shows and speak face to face with vendors, you can purchase books and tons and tons of magazines. You can hop online and visit with Mr. Google and he will return thousands and thousands of search results about wedding dresses, ceremony venues, and inspiration boards full of colors.

If you are like me, then your first stop might be The Knot. It is one of the oldest and most well know spots on the web for and about weddings. They have all kinds of ideas, photos and message boards for brides to chat about anything and everything related to weddings. I went there initially for ideas and hung around as a lurker on their boards. I didn’t stay very long. The general tone of the Knot boards is…well let’s just say those chicks aren’t the nicest, especially to newbies. Then I got a recommendation from a FB friend about a site called Chocolate Brides. I joined there and started a planning thread there and found the ladies very nice and helpful but they are a close knit group and I found it a little hard to connect over there. But I still peek in from time to time because I love to see Black women in love and getting married. I also participate on Wedding Bee and a very good site called a A Practical Wedding, which tends to look at weddings and marriage from a feminist but realistic stance.

So because I am a black bride, I deliberately went searching for resources that showed black women getting married. Needless to say there isn’t very much out there in a lot of the mainstream wedding media. I found some black bride bloggers and starting reading their blogs. I debated about whether to start my own. I comment prolifically on several blogs and run my mouth constantly on Twitter so I polled my peeps and asked them should I take the plunge. I talked with the Mister and once I got the OK from him (because blogging about your wedding can get really personal and I didn’t want to violate his privacy) I was in it to win it.

I’m getting a bit long winded here but I am going somewhere with this, so stay with me. What I noticed most about reading these personal blogs and lurking around on boards is how 2 major life events seemed to bring out the most judgment from the people around us. Those two events are marriage and becoming parents. Every blog I’ve read so far has talked about how badly people judge the type of wedding that particular person was having. If it was too traditional or not traditional enough, or too indie/DIY or how much money was spent (or the lack of money spent for that matter). And for the bride (and grooms), the judgment of others was a major stressor as they planned their nuptials. I even admit to having made a comment or two about folks and their wedding planning ideas, whether as a bridesmaid or as a wedding guest. Little did I know how stressful this process can be, until I got on the other side of the fence.

I read a blog the other day where the bride (now wife) expressed her disappointment with the fact that she had a horrible DJ and that one guest had the nerve to come up and tell her that she was leaving her reception because she was bored!!! Really??? Why would you tell someone that on their wedding day, when they already are full of anxiety?? Tacky much??

I have been somewhat fortunate that I haven’t gotten a lot of judgment from my family and friends and everyone has generally been supportive but I fully admit to having dreams nightmares about this wedding and wanting to have a special day, not just for me and Myron, but for my peeps and my family as well. That is very important to me. And so I have tried to remain centered on what matters the most, which is marrying Myron and having the love and support of the people who love US, opinions and judgments be damned.

Because at the end of the day, everyone is going to have an opinion and they are going to say what they are going to say.
Everyone also has an asshole too, don’t they??? And you know what they say about that. 😉

The Counselor Is In: Week 2

Last night, we attended the second session of pre-marital counseling at our church. In addition to the female counselor that I mentioned last week, we were joined by the male counselor (they have a man and a woman for balance) who is also a minister.
 
This session consisted of discussing the questions we were supposed to do for homework. There were 3 sets of questions, a relationship history,  a relationship inventory in which you were to evaluate your relationship as it currently is, and a set of questions dealing with your expectations for marriage and for your partner within a marriage.
 
We discussed good and bad points within our relationships, talked about why we wanted to marry our partners and our definitions of a good marriage. Of course, because the counseling is Christian and Biblical based the counselors stressed the need to have a God-centered marriage and the need to get professional counseling if we encounter serious problems in our marriage (it’s men that are more resistant to counseling than women). 
 
One of the questions in the relationship inventory was very PC in how it was asked but it basically dealt with pre-marital “relations” and how basically engaged couples shouldn’t be having them..LOL!!! But we will be getting more in depth about “relations” a little further along in our sessions and both counselors insisted that the discussions will be candid. 
 
I didn’t necessarily get the best impression after the initial counseling session but I felt better about the second round. I was wondering if we were sharing enough (without oversharing) because the other couple is quite chatty. But Myron had to gently remind me that we are who WE are and that was fine. (Thanks, babe!) So, I am ready to dig deep and get the most from the sessions that I possibly can. Any tips that I can take with me to make our marriage the most successful and strong that it can possibly be is worth it and very important to me.
 
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Following are some of the questions that were asked in the various inventories. You might want to jot down your answers. It’s definitely food for thought.
 
1) List 3 best/worst memories from your dating experience with your partner?
2) Name 3-4 things you like to do together for fun?
3) Where does God fit into your relationship? Do you feel you have spiritually hindered your partner in anyway?
4) What is your definition of marriage?
5) What do you bring to a marriage? What does your partner bring?
6) What are your expectations of marriage and of your partner in your marriage?

Make It Plain

I am a Gemini. While I don’t get all into the whole astrology, reading so heavily into your Zodiac sign mumbo-jumbo, I do feel that I display several traits that are attributed to this sign. I am friendly, very open, and gregarious. I also talk ALOT and believe in open communication…..with everyone else in my life, except the men I have happened to date. I have always managed to get that down pretty good in my friendships but never so much in my personal relationships with men. I seemed to have a habit of attracting men whose idea of communication skills (in particular as it related to conflict) was to do a total shutdown, sometimes for days. That, my dear readers, is not the business at all.
 
One of the things that I have been blessed with is a fiancé who is an excellent communicator. It’s vital to our relationship. No matter how difficult the conversation is (and we’ve had some difficult conversations already) he manages to get ME to open up and dig deep about topics concerning our relationship and our upcoming marriage.
 
One of the things that he keeps encouraging me about and that was IS a particularly bad habit of mine is to assume that he can read my mind. He keeps encouraging me to voice what I need from him. That can sometimes be difficult for me, in particular as I adjust from a single to a coupled mindset. But I’m working on it and over time it will get easier for me.
 
I said all that to say, in a rambly sort of way, don’t always assume the other person you are communicating with (be it your friend, your husband or your mama) understands the abstract recesses of YOUR brain.
 
If you have a problem, speak up and make it plain.
 
P.S. And while you’re at it, go read THIS.

The Counselor Is In

 
Last Thursday we went for the first week of 12 (!) weeks of pre-marital counseling. We are getting counseling at the church that I was baptized at and that Myron currently attends. Both sets of parents also attend church there but I left and attended another church once I became an adult.
 
Our counselor is a lady who has been certified as a Christian counselor but is on her third marriage (!!!!!) of 22 years. I kind of gave her a side eye on that but seeing how I haven’t been married at all, I decided to let her make it.
 
There is a another couple who started with us. They are a bit younger, in their late 20s and the bride is divorced with a young son. They had already filled in the first chapter of the workbook, making me and Myron look like slackers..LOL!! I hate overachievers!
 
The book we are using is called: “Preparing for Marriage God’s Way” by Dr. Wayne Mack. It’s a workbook style that you can write in and isn’t snazzy on pictures or anything. Click the link if you want to peruse the contents a bit. Methinks that being published in 1986, that they could use some updates to the reading material but oh well…*shrugs*
 
So my plan is to blog weekly on what topics are covered in the book and just give a brief overview of what the class was about. I won’t get very detailed because I am not gonna put all of our business out on the interwebs, but perhaps this will help some of the brides/grooms or singles who stumble accross this blog.
 
Our next class is this Thursday. I’ll try to run a post a few days after that.