I got married two months ago. For a while, married bliss felt no different from our previous life for we had been living together for two years already prior. However, a recent conversation made me realize how marriage brings about a new balance between the couple, especially in terms of communication and financial management.
After the wedding, life went back to normal but there were more administration to work out, from trivial things like who would take the dog to the vet, or when my husband would need to go on a business trip, and when we would do grocery shopping, to more important matters as our insurance plans and budgeting to build a family.
Many people had asked us where we were going for our honeymoon but we had not really thought about it or planned for it.
So we went about our life, taking care of matters as they came up. My husband’s work got busier and different things also took up our social calendars. We lived under the same roof as man and wife but hardly spoke. Issues that needed resolving accumulated. A few weeks ago, I chucked a tantrum and complained we did not have time to sort out household issues. I also got frustrated we could not go for a holiday.
After I (finally!) calmed down, we talked it out as our pre-marital counseling had taught us. Instead of focusing on our emotions, we laid out our issues and why we both felt frustrated and exhausted. We made a few decisions to help ourselves balance our time, communication and finance:
- Weekly “Admin Night”
First off, we both carved out a time every week to go over administrative issues.
I like to deal with things as they go along. My husband sometimes cannot focus when his mind is on his work. So our agreement was for me to stop petitioning with every single thing, but save them for our Admin Nights, whereas my husband would give our discussion full and undivided attention during this time. These evenings are dedicated to resolving issues and going through our schedules for the upcoming weeks.
- Sticking to a budget
Previously, we maintained our separate finances. We started pooling in our resources ever since we got engaged, so that it practically was one account for both of us.
Because I could not work, we are spending our savings and his income. After the wedding, our savings dwindled down by a portion. We are not sure when I could go back to work and earn income. It was a change from my life before, when I could buy shoes whenever I wanted to without thinking twice. So, we noted down what we thought was important and necessary expenditure, such as insurance plans, rent, food. We had jointly agreed that unnecessary items had to be left aside so we can save money and manage our expenditure. So no travelling for a while, and it is a compromise we agreed to so I have stopped complaining.
- Dividing up household work
We also decided to separate our duties and responsibilities around the house.
I used to be in the finance industry and a manager, so naturally I took up managing our finances, arranging and organizing itineraries. My husband is usually too tired to think after work, do he did the no-brain-required tasks such as taking the dog out. I would cook, he would clean the dishes. Simple as that, but delineating tasks made it clearer and we both could take discretions to make decisions without having to discuss everything
- Weekly “Date Night”
This is something a lot of couples know: to commit to a time to spend with each other.
As we settle into routines, having a specific time where it is just for the two of us to do something together, even to cook a meal together and watch DVDs is paramount to sustaining the relationship. We made a mistake of thinking: now we are married, all will be fine.
On the contrary, marriage requires the same, if not more effort, to maintain. Knowing we will spend quality time with each other gives us the balance from our individual lives. This is especially crucial for my husband’s life was more standard with a corporate job whilst my focus is on health and could be more flexible. There is something to look forward to.
These 4 things are helping us form a basis for a stronger relationship. It took some adjustments to shift from living individual and separate lives under the same roof, to living one life together as one unit and partnership, whilst maintaining our independent activities.
Previously, we were our own priorities. Now, the couple as a unit is the priority. It is a new balance to maintain for better communication and financial management between the couple.
We are still working on it, and slowly we will find a rhythm for the new life we will build together.