Episode # 033 – You’re HOW Old?

Sometimes age differences are a little creepy. We agree. But that didn’t stop us from marrying men older than us– especially not Marie. In today’s episode we’re talking about our age differences with our husbands and if it has ever created issues in our relationships and times when we’ve really noticed Oh, we really aren’t the same age.

And as a little treat, Melissa created a game for Marie to play– What’s The Age Difference? So you’ll have to tune in to hear her hilarious attempt at this game.

How To Build A Stronger Bond With Your Spouse

Awhile ago we made a podcast about hobbies our husbands had (because Marie and I discovered we had absolutely no hobbies.) But in that podcast, I shared stories about me trying to get in on all the fun Shawn was having without me when he was mountain biking. This resulted in lots of wrecking and a few bruises, but I had fun.

So this past weekend, I decided to try my hand at woodworking. Now, we aren’t doing anything major (and I highly doubt you can even call this woodworking) but he cut pieces of wood so we could create some home decor. And I didn’t just sit inside and wait for him to get done! I watched, I sanded the edges, and I helped him paint and stain it all. It really was a feat for me because I usually hate being a bystander in activities or having to do “piddly” jobs.

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But doing this project with Shawn really did mean a lot to me. Since he has been traveling most weeks, we usually don’t have much time to do little projects like this for his limited time home. We talk about them all the time– we should make a bed frame! Or let’s go thrifting or antiquing. But most of those ideas fall dead soon after we make them because we literally don’t have time to do them when Shawn is only home for 48 hours (give or take).

But this past week, he was able to stay home! He didn’t have to leave at 5am on Monday, I got to wake up to my mans for an entire week straight. I was excited. And I was even more excited when he decided that we’d start on one of <s>our</s> my fun DIY project ideas that I found on Etsy.

So we did it. And I had so much fun.

Like I said, I didn’t do much– I mostly watched him and asked for minor changes so my wallart-of-my-dreams could become reality, but that’s not the point. We were doing a little activity that made us slow down, take time to be with one another, and work as a team.

Shawn was able to be in his “element” and I was able to help. It might sound cheesy, but I really felt like I bonded with him. Even little goals and projects like this make me remember that we’re on the same team. They remind me that everything in our lives, everything we want to accomplish or create will always be better as a team effort.

We compliment one another, we bring different strengths to each project. And whether we’re working on the real estate business or putting together an Ikea chair, we’re always better doing it together.

I definitely think it strengthens our marriage to work on little projects like these together. We’re actively setting goals as a couple, and making sure that we’re communicating what the final project looks like to us– because you have to make sure all parties are on board when doing anything as a team.

So we definitely encourage couples to take the time to come up with little feats you’d like to accomplish together. Sometimes it’s as simple as doing laundry together or as scary as learning a new skill or hobby that neither of you have any experience with. Either way, it solidifies that bond between the two of you and can teach you trust, communication, and how to have fun again!

 

Episode # 032 – Feminism

This can be a tricky topic, and we’re very aware of that. But Melissa, and now Marie, are proponents of Feminism and what it stands for. We talk about what Feminism is to us, what our husbands think about it, and how it can play a role in our marriage.

Feminism has gotten a bad rap lately, and many women say they believe in the ideas behind it but don’t want to be associated with the term or movement. Marie was in that boat, too. Although we get where you’re coming from, we discuss how every group– religious, or not– all have their extremist. It doesn’t matter if it’s being vegan or being a crossfitter, there is always someone associated with the group that will “ruin” its name. That’s just the way it is. So that’s why Melissa is a big proponent of owning the title of Feminist, take back the meaning.

And although she doesn’t articulate what Feminism means to her that well, she’ll definitely take a shot at it in writing (because she’s a lot better at that than talking on the spot).

Continue reading Episode # 032 – Feminism

A Long Distance Marriage

When Shawn was interviewing for the job he has currently, they told him that it would include traveling. As an (almost) newlywed, he made it known that he didn’t want to constantly be on the road going from installation from installation at the drop of a hat. They agreed that he shouldn’t, and wouldn’t go through that– especially since he had a really awesome wife he didn’t want to be away from he was going to be newly married and in a new state.

They said they understood that marriage is important, especially in the beginning years. They’re formative and can really set the tone of the marriage. And our tone wasn’t going to be Lonely Melissa, that was for sure.

So they agreed to 20-30% travel out of a year and both sides were happy.

In the few short months Shawn has already been at this company, he saw a very regular trend among the other men in his department doing installs like him. Almost everyone was single.

And not just single, but divorced.

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He quickly learned that this wasn’t some weird coincidence among the project engineer group– the traveling had taken a toll on their marriages. It became easier to ignore their problems. Wives looked for love and affection elsewhere because their jet-lagged husbands felt like they  had none to give. Husbands let themselves go– becoming consumed with work. Communication was hard, phone calls were short, and everyone felt like they were getting the short end of the stick.

Shawn saw it deteriorate marriages and he was even more adamant that we wouldn’t go through that. He didn’t agree to it and he would make sure our connection and intimacy wasn’t put on the back burner for some job.

“Nothing is more important to me than this marriage.”

So every time traveling was brought up, he was the first one to remind his managers that he was hired for 20-30% travel. His direct boss even made a point to have a meeting with Shawn to calm his nerves, if you will. He made Shawn felt heard and respected; even reassured him that the 20-30% travel was still the deal.

He came home from work that day happy and reassured– and honestly, so was I. I was calmer and felt safe. I wasn’t going to have my husband stripped away for months at a time, we weren’t going to end up like the other couples. We were different!

My husband wasn’t going to be out on the road 80% of the year like the rest of them. Maybe it was because his great uncle owned the place or maybe it was really because they respected our newlywed-ness, who knows. Either way, though, I was happy because my only friend in the entire state wasn’t going to be leaving for weeks at a time.

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But within days he saw his projected traveling schedule for the rest of 2018, and I honestly thought there had to have  been a typo. They must have confused him with another Shawn because there’s no way they could promise to keep their promise of 20-30% travel with this schedule.

Starting March 26th, he was going to be gone for two months in New Hampshire.

Then, after about a month break, he’d head to China for another two months. And after another break, Japan for a few months. Then back to China. And I think a few weeks in New York were sprinkled in, too.

“I’m sorry, but for a bunch of engineers, they sure are sh*tty at math.” 

Now, when he travels domestic, he’s able to come home on the weekends. His traveling schedule looks like:

Leave Monday @ 5am and come back Friday at either 10am or 12pm. It’s not that bad when he’s still in the States. But international travel? Yeah, there aren’t any weekend privileges or “marital” visits, if you catch my drift.

(Disclaimer: And before anyone says it, we know we don’t have it that bad. We know that military families have it much worse– you have no idea if your spouse is alive sometimes. That’s hard and you’re stronger than I’ll ever be, but please do not diminish someone else’s pain because someone is going through something worse. Now that that’s done with.)

Doing long distance isn’t fun, and it’s especially not fun when you’re in a new city without friends. It”s especially not fun when you’re living in a hotel room, away from your family. It’s definitely not fun when you were promised something different.

And it’s really not fun to watch your husband break down, look at you with tears in his eyes, and admit that he’s scared that we’ll end up like everyone else. Scared that we’ll fall out of love, we’ll lose our connection, or everything will just fall to pieces. But I keep telling him we won’t, that we’re better than that.

I remind him, and myself, that we know what we have to do to make it work.

And now that we’re two weeks into our first two-month-install, I’ve noticed that that wasn’t far from the truth– we really are different. And maybe it’s because we are newlyweds, or we’re young, or we’re just unnaturally needy. Either way, we noticed that the other men, married or not, would pick on Shawn for calling me as soon as he could after a day installing. He’d FaceTime me before dinner if he had a chance, we’d FaceTime in the morning before breakfast if I woke up early enough. Throughout the day, we were always texting, calling on lunch if possible.

Even if we knew the call would only last for a few minutes, we still hopped on just to say hi. Just to hear him laugh, say I love you, and know he’s okay.

The other guys, though, teased him about it, and to my luck, Shawn was unphased.

“You’re making fun of me because I miss my wife? I think the joke’s on you, bud.” 

It didn’t stop him from calling and texting, and I honestly never felt more loved. He made sure time was still made for me, even when he had every excuse in the book to ignore my call.

And now, when I see him on the weekends, he is even more intentional about making sure we have quality time. He’s sure to fill my love plant, watering it with all the morning cuddles, random Hobby Lobby dates, and lunch with just the two of us.

And I make sure to scatter love notes throughout his luggage and backpack so he can find them throughout the week while he’s away.

We’re better now, more than ever, at making sure these love plants are fed because we understand that those marriages didn’t end because of travel, busy jobs, or demanding lifestyles. They ended because they made excuses for themselves– they let someone else take care of their spouse’s love plant.

And I’m not letting that happen to us and I know Shawn is with me on that.

This whole thing has me truly living for Fridays now. 

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Episode # 031 – Comparison Kills

Have you ever look at someone else’s relationship, family, closet, [insert your “thing” here] and thought to yourself “dang, they really have it made.”?

Today we’re talking about how comparison can really kill your relationship and happiness in one fatal swoop. We confess what we get jealous of, how it has taken tolls on our relationships, and how we have to remind ourselves that it’s all for show when it comes to the Gram, Facebook, and wherever else you can post those deceiving little pictures.

Episode # 029 – Exercise? Extra Fries.

Today’s episode is about exercising… or lack thereof. We tell you about what it’s like working out with your spouse, and how being a competitive can really put a damper on the bonding experience that some people have when working out with their loved ones. We also talk about how our men can, and have, made us feel like we needed to hit the gym– and I promise you won’t hate them for their reasoning. Or presentation of that fact (even if we did). And finally, we’ll share how being married, or a relationship in general, does not help in the accountability department. Especially if you’re married to Marie.

And as promised, we also included an at-home, no-equipment workout for all of our interested parties. And I included a video as a demonstration on how to do some of the moves if you’re unsure what they look like.

*And maybe later on, and if anyone would even be interested, I’ll include an “Intro To The Gym” video for all you ladies and gents that want to venture into the weight room but aren’t sure where to start or what to do. –Melissa (obviously)

Stay-At-Home-Spouse

When I was little, my mom and dad were always working. My grandma basically took care of me all-day, everyday, and that was my normal. Growing up, I always believed that both parents needed to be working. I mean, that’s just what they did. Moms didn’t stay at home anymore– they were out there working! I understood that in most families, they couldn’t get by on just one income. Everyone had to pull their weight, so getting a job was how you did that. And people that were able to be stay-at-home-moms were lucky. They could afford for her to be at home, taking care of the kids and the household. That was some 1%-er sh*t if I had ever seen it. It was also something that I’d never be able to be because, well, I’m always going to be middle class (that mindset has changed drastically since getting married to Shawn and getting on the same page).

Anyway. So once I got into college, I pretty much always had a job. I was paying my own bills and rent for the most part. There’s only so much you can afford with a part-time retail job, sadly. But, in my own head, I was pretty self-sufficient! I juggled school, work, and sorority life; I was an Adult™. Hell, one year I actually owed money on my taxes instead of getting money back! (I’m still not convinced that was bad accounting on my dad’s part, but that’s neither here nor there.)

And things didn’t change much once Shawn and I got engaged and were living in Michigan. I was in law school, so the amount of hours I could really work was cut in half– but I still had a job! All my money made from that paid for my gas to get to-and-from school, parking (when I was too tired to walk), and random lunches with friends. I wasn’t totally dependent on Shawn for money, and that’s what mattered! I still had “my purpose,” aka school. I wasn’t a bum, even though he was paying our mortgage, bills, and groceries. I was in school. Law school! Honestly, what more could he want from me?

But then we moved to Georgia and my spot in this dynamic has shifted. And I didn’t like it.

When we moved, it was in an awkward time, so I couldn’t get into a law school here. When we moved, we decided that we were going to take our real estate business seriously.
When we moved, I didn’t have a plan for myself.
When we moved… I was scared.
I didn’t feel like I had a purpose.
I didn’t feel like I brought anything to the proverbial table.

So what did I do? I tried to get a job! And oh, did I try. I spent days looking for any job on Indeed, Craigslist, and LinkedIn. I applied at Home Depot, Kroger, WalMart, and at every restaurant within a 5 mile radius. No job was too “lowly” for me.  But I was greeted with silence or disinterest. I’m not sure that there’s a word that can describe my mix of shock and devastation, but if there is please let me know. But yeah, that’s what I felt. I was confused– I mean, I had a great resume! I’m a team-player, personable, and motivated… and also desperate for any minimum-wage job in order to bide my time until law school kicks back up again. I needed a job or a school schedule or anything to feel like I was contributing to my team. It felt like I was sitting on the sidelines while Shawn did all the work, and he even pointed it out a few times (ouch– what a douche.)

But we both quickly realized that with my newfound time on my hands, I was able to channel a full-time work-week into wholesaling (and The Sister Wives Podcast… but mostly wholesaling), and things started to look up for me. And us.

But, that still isn’t the point I’m trying to make. Regardless of having wholesaling or a blog/podcast with my awesome big sister, my self-worth didn’t rely on those things. It also doesn’t rely on having a job that brings in peanuts, textbooks that could break my back, or a small business we’re getting off the ground. My worth (and yours) doesn’t come at a per-hour value. We all bring something to the table. We all have something to offer, even if it brings in income or not.

Without me staying at home, Shawn and I wouldn’t have nearly enough time to cook lunch and dinner every day. We wouldn’t be able to see one another as much as we do. We wouldn’t have clean and folded clothes in a timely manner. Our apartment wouldn’t be half as clean. Tater wouldn’t get loved on and exercised every single day. Our vehicles would go months overdue for oil changes without someone being on-top of it and available to make the appointments. Unnoticed things that help your household run like a well-oiled machine are probably chugging along because of you: a stay-at-home-spouse/wife/dad/person.

So if you don’t hear it enough– thank you. Your value to your team is immeasurable.