Newlywed Life | Surprises of Traveling with your Spouse

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

Whether it’s traveling for your honeymoon, a summertime vacation or holiday, sharing life as a “party of two” may eventually yield opportunities to pack a bag, load the car, board the plane, and take a trip. 

Unlike sharing a home or going on a date, traveling with your spouse may be a catalyst for surprising new conversations about values, opinions and preferences. 

A husband and wife bring experiences from their respective childhood travels into their adult preferences, including how to spend time and money. Some couples may not realize how many expectations each partner brings into a vacation until they make opposing suggestions. 

The opportunity to travel is an incredible fortune. There are so many different ways to take a vacation: backpacking or luggage-in-tow, culturally immersive or relaxing, budget or high-end, clean or rugged, foreign or domestic, self-guided or professionally-guided, adventurous or cultural, ethnic food or familiar food, planned or spontaneous. 

Although you and your spouse love each other’s company and are in a groove with sharing chores and space around your home, time on vacation is completely different. In reality, vacation is often as a desirable “break” from routine norms. 

Discussing a budget is typically part of the initial plan for taking a trip. Beyond a dollar amount, the budget conversation involves how and where you will spend money. 

How we spend money communicates what we value. Do you value a nice hotel with all of the amenities or would you opt to allocate funds toward a private tour at an art museum? These preferences reveal and determine where you and your spouse agree to prioritize spending in accordance with your values. 

Where we spend our time also communicates what we value. It is impossible to eat at every restaurant, see every tourist attraction, and participate in every possible activity during one vacation. Husbands and wives must share decisions about what is realistic and desirable within the constraints of time on vacation. 

Like any experience in married life, we are called to die to self as an act of love for the other. Does this mean we are called to plan a vacation solely according to our spouse’s preferences? Absolutely not. 

Marriage calls two individuals into deeper intimacy. Surrendering your desires for your spouse’s preferences is an act of love. However, being honest and vulnerable about your personal preferences is also an act of love because, by sharing this part of yourself, you invite your spouse to see, know, and love you.

Maintaining a flexible and marriage-centered attitude in these conversations about potentially conflicting opinions will guide couples to make decisions with shared ownership and joy. Without a doubt, travel is an opportunity to learn about your spouse, yourself, and the values you desire to fulfill in your family. 

We would love to hear: do you and your spouse have similar opinions about travel and vacation? What areas have prompted conversations and compromise? Share your reflections with our community on Instagram and Facebook.


About the Author: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. Stephanie’s perfect day would include a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Surrendering Infertility to a Loving, Creative God

ERIN BUCHMANN

 

When my husband and I were engaged, we looked forward to someday raising a family. We did have a few conversations about that Big Unknown: what if we’re unable to have kids?

But we--especially I--didn’t consider it to be a real possibility, or even necessarily a totally negative one. “Of course we’ll be open to life and try to have a family, but if kids aren’t part of God’s plan for us, we’ll be fine with that,” I thought. “Besides, then I’d be able to continue with my career. That would be nice.”

Now happily married and having discerned together that the time is right to try to conceive, months start to pass by. Despite our careful NFP charting and frequent visits with our gynecologist, we’ve not been able to.

 Frustration set in, and emotions ran the gamut. Being unable to conceive when it suddenly seems like every other couple around is either expecting or juggling a handful of kids is really, really hard. 

The words of a hymn my childhood parish sang jump to my mind with fresh relevance: “The kingdom of God is challenge and choice.” The presenting challenge: physical infertility.

 With regard to how we approach this challenge, God gives us a choice: do we let ourselves fall into a sinful, selfish attitude of impatience or anger toward him, presuming to believe our wedding vows somehow entitle us to a child? Or do we instead imitate Our Lady’s response of unhesitating trust in God’s plan: Fiat, let it be done unto me according to your word?

Just as God had a unique, perfect plan for Mary’s fertility--one she had almost certainly not foreseen a moment before the Annunciation!--he also has a plan for yours.

 Your seasons of physical fertility and infertility are willed by him for the sanctification of the world and the salvation of souls. In my own experience, this time of physical infertility has actually been incredibly spiritually fertile.

As Christ has been helping me carry this cross, He has been moving my heart in new ways. He has been planting gardens in my heart in places I didn’t know there were stones. He has been immersing me deeper into the mystery of his love as he and I and my husband live out that love in our marriage.

Where did his gardening work begin? With the label of “infertile.” In my mind, our being unable to conceive at this point in our marriage meant we were never going to have children. Further, as it appeared from our NFP charting that my body was the reason for our unsuccessful attempts at achieving a pregnancy, I saw myself as broken. Having had a rocky relationship with my body before, this feeling of brokenness was particularly poignant--and painful.

As I was praying (and crying, to be honest) after receiving communion during one particularly difficult Sunday Mass filled with many families, I heard Christ’s voice speak to my heart: “Is my life inside your body enough for you?”

When one is in a state of grace, Christ’s life is present in that soul. But when we receive him in the Eucharist, Christ comes to dwell physically inside our bodies also. My body is most certainly not broken, for the Most Precious Body of the creator of the universe lives safely inside me.

 Christ’s transformative work on my heart has continued further. Although my body is not broken, medical help does offer assistance in restoring to the female body the ability to conceive a child and then sustain that pregnancy.

My husband and I began seeing a Catholic gynecologist during our engagement, when we noticed our marriage-prep NFP charting wasn’t looking like the examples in the textbook. When we found we weren’t able to conceive after we married, our doctor prescribed medication intended to normalize my hormone levels—and I resented taking those two little pills.

 The Catechism teaches “spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord’s Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity” (CCC 2379). I researched the jelly out of those two medications and found them totally within the lines of moral legitimacy. But I still begrudged taking them.

I asked my husband for his thoughts on the whole matter, including the Catechism’s perspective: “Honey, what do you think? Does ‘exhausting legitimate medical procedures’ mean I am morally obligated to keep taking those pills until I reach menopause?!”

My husband paused and thought for a time. I waited.

“I don’t think it’s morally wrong to eventually stop taking the pills, if time has confirmed they aren’t helping,” he began, “but we’re not there yet. Not enough time has passed for us to reach conclusions like that. For now, I do think a decision not to take them would say something about your openness to pregnancy. Is taking two pills really too much of a burden for you, if they may be helping your body function as God intends it to?”

That brought all my defensiveness crashing down. Here, Christ brought another tangled piece of my heart into his healing light.

I realized taking those pills is one way I am called to work with God and my husband to make our marriage one truly open to the arrival of children. This is, concretely, one way I can assent to my role as a co-creator with them.

My daily “yes” to taking the medications can embody, in a little way, my continual surrender of my desire for a flawless body, my ambitions for my career, and my fear of the unknowns that would accompany motherhood--all for the greater good of fostering a marriage that is fully open to the Lord’s plans, whatever they might be. Fiat, let it be done unto me.

Personally, this season of infertility has been a blessing in disguise. Christ has taught me in so many new ways what it truly means to be a wife and a mother.

 As a religious sister once shared on a middle school retreat, God intends each and every woman he creates to be a MOM: a Master Of Magnanimity. We are called to be generous of mind and heart, willing to endure hardship and discomfort in order that great things might be accomplished through us.

For me, this has meant a daily surrender of my desires and fears while coming to a deeper acceptance of my body exactly how God has made it.

The lessons Christ wishes to teach you during this season might be different, but through all the challenges and choices, never doubt that he has amazing plans and the perfect timeline in mind for your fertility. Our loving, creative God will never be outdone in generosity. Never give up hoping in, trusting, and walking with him.


About the Author: Erin Buchmann enjoys daily Mass, outdoor adventures, crossword puzzles and Ben & Jerry's. She and her husband reside in Virginia but dream of the day they'll move back to the Midwest.

Actively Listening to your Spouse

CARISSA PLUTA

 

Communication does not merely involve verbalizing our own thoughts and feelings, but listening to those of our spouse. 

PHOTOGRAPHY:    AN ENDLESS PURSUIT

PHOTOGRAPHY: AN ENDLESS PURSUIT

Listening well helps couples communicate more effectively, and ultimately deepens intimacy between the individuals. But it can be difficult to do, especially when discussing a sensitive subject.  

Here’s how to make listening a less passive (and more fruitful) process.

Pay attention

This first tip should go without saying, but you would be surprised at how often we listen to our spouse without giving them our full attention. 

Put down your phone, close your laptop, or turn off the television. Even if you aren’t looking directly at your various devices, it can be hard to listen when distractions lie just within arms reach. 

Watch your body language

Not only does our body communicate messages to the people we interact with, but it also affects how we perceive a situation and receive others. 

If it is a heated topic, don’t scowl, roll your eyes, or cross your arms. These bodily cues communicate a negative message to our spouse, and can even influence us in a harmful way, hardening our hearts and preventing us from listening with compassion.

Sit upright, face your spouse and look him in the eyes. This will help you pay more attention to what is being said, and will show your husband that you hear him. 

Don’t interrupt

When we aren’t actively listening, our mind begins to craft our response or argument before the other person finishes speaking. This can lead to us to jump into the conversation and interject with our own thoughts

Don’t dominate the conversation and don’t interrupt, even with well-meaning advice. You aren’t listening if you are speaking, so be patient and honor them by giving them a chance to express their thoughts and feelings. 

Reflect and rephrase

When they are done speaking, help your significant other know that you understood what they said by restating their point. Avoid jumping to conclusions. 

If you aren’t sure what they said or what they meant, ask for clarification. Make sure you listen and then respond appropriately. 

Be Empathetic

Try to understand where your spouse is coming from, especially if he shares a problem, concern, or difficulty. Validate their feelings; even if you don’t totally agree, look for some truth in their words. 

Sometimes your spouse just needs a listening ear. So seek first to understand your spouse, before offering advice. 


About the Author: Carissa Pluta is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. She is the author of the blog The Myth Retold. Read more

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How to Avoid Fights about Money

CARISSA PLUTA

 

Much stress and many arguments in a marriage often result over money.

In fact, studies have shown that money is the number one issue couples fight about. But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some ways to help you and your spouse avoid those dreaded money fights.

Talk about your financial history

Many marriage prep programs include discussion on finances but they don’t always dive as deep as they should. You and your partner should not only talk about how much debt you might be bringing to a marriage, but also about each individual’s “money mindset.”

How was money talked about in your home growing up? How do you feel about how it was talked about? Are you a spender or a saver?

Getting to the root of your money mindset can help them better understand their significant other, and help you as a couple to make adjustments.

Share your expectations

Many arguments in marriage result because of misunderstandings. If the couple does not clearly communicate their expectations when it comes to finances, it will likely result in an argument.

Will you have a joint bank account when you get married? Will you need to discuss with one another before making large purchases?

Sharing your expectations when it comes to money with your spouse or fiancé can help eliminate any confusion between the individual philosophies. It also allows the couple to have more meaningful conversations about finances, that will help avoid potential future arguments.

Set financial goals together

When my husband and I got married, we had several large student loans that we needed to pay off so getting out of debt became our major financial focus. But as we near the end of our student loans, we have shifted our focus on saving for the future.

What do you hope to accomplish in the realm of personal finances? Do you want to get out of debt? Do you want to buy a house? Save for your kids to go to college? Discuss your hopes and dreams with your significant other.

Laying out your desires will motivate you and your spouse to achieve them and help you create a more organized plan to meet these goals.

Create a budget and stick to it!

Whether you are trying to get out of debt or trying to save, making a budget with your partner can help.

After calculating your monthly income, create a budget that reflects your goals and family’s vision. How much will you save? How much will you tithe? Will you put aside money for a date night out or for a child’s birthday?

Be sure to revisit this budget monthly and adjust it to meet your family’s needs. A monthly finance meeting can help keep communication about money between spouses open, honest, and stress-free.


About the Author: Carissa Pluta is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. She is the author of the blog The Myth Retold. Read more

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Marriage Holds Us Together When We Fall Apart

MARIAH MAZA

 

Marriage is demanding. It is not just a label for a relationship, but a lifelong vocation. It is the cultivation of a family and the establishment of an intimate domestic church, filled with the souls of your closest loved ones. And when you factor in everyday life, human imperfection, and human wounds, marriage can be more than demanding. Marriage can be hard.

PHOTOGRAPHY:    AN ENDLESS PURSUIT

PHOTOGRAPHY: AN ENDLESS PURSUIT

There have been times in my married life when relations between my husband and I didn’t reflect the beaming joy of our wedding photos. When for days, we got increasingly on each other’s nerves, spoke out of anger, and I watched the mutual hurt and misery pile on top of each other.

In those times, I often thought to myself, “Marriage is making me miserable.” And the age-old question would bounce around in my mind, taunting me: “How is it possible to have a happy marriage, anyway?”

The more I prayed desperately to the Lord, giving him my marriage and all its imperfections, he helped me to realize two things. Growing a happy marriage had everything to do with that recurring thought I had in times of distress: marriage is making me miserable. And the second revelation? My way of thinking was totally backwards.

Beautiful, newlywed wife, marriage isn’t making you miserable. Human selfishness is.

The Catechism tells us in paragraph 1601 that marriage is “by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses." This means that by its very nature, marriage is designed by God to form you into a saint and lead you, hand-in-hand with your spouse, on a path to Heaven.

The sacrament of marriage is always good, always beautiful, always full of grace, and always sacred. What is good, beautiful, graceful, and sacred does not breed misery. And one night in our tiny one bedroom, one bathroom apartment, after another tiring day of not getting along, this truth came to rest on my weary, wounded heart. It didn’t make the problems disappear, but a profound, relieving sense of peace took over.

I realized that marriage was not the thing tearing us apart. In fact, it was the only sacred, indissoluble bond still holding my husband and I together when we fell apart. Our “one flesh” union is not just poetic Scripture, it is a sacramental reality that persists even when emotions and human imperfections make us feel distant and broken.

The Church already knows this. Marriage “has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation“ (CCC 1606). But this “discord,” as I had to learn, does not come from marriage itself. “The disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin” (CCC 1607). But how is it healed? “Man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them. Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them "in the beginning." (CCC 1608).

And so, instead of continuing to look at marriage and all its demands as the enemy, I began to see it and its divine Designer as my source of hope. There is an ocean of grace in this sacrament. Graces specially reserved by God for you and your beloved on the day you enter into the married state. I reflected on how often I had neglected these graces, when I could have begged God in his mercy to rain them down upon us in times of crisis. 

I also reflected on my own sin and selfishness that had helped sow the seeds of discord between my husband and I. It turns out a “happy” marriage can begin to grow when spouses stop counting the cost of loving each other. When instead of brooding in the disappointment of failed expectations, you let go of your own desires. When instead of waiting to be shown love by your beloved, you die to yourself and do something considerate for them, and delight in the act.

If all that seems too difficult to achieve; if daily death to self seems too high a calling, remember again the grace and the purpose of the sacrament: “Marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one's own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving” (CCC 1609). 

I am far from reaching these ideals, from total freedom from my self-absorption, and there are still many times when I cling to my own expectations of what my marriage “should be.” In short, I will spend my lifetime learning to grow in marital virtue. But I also remember God’s mercy. And I praise him for a husband who shows me more often than not what it means to forgive all hurt and choose joy for the good of his wife. He is like Christ, who is the source of all marital grace.

“Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ," and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb” (CCC 1642).

Here at Spoken Bride, we desire to make it clear: marriages that suffer addictions, abuse, or other grave forms of brokenness need prayer and the intervention of counseling, community support, and other resources. Affected spouses in these situations do not suffer because of selfishness, but from profound emotional and mental distress. They deserve our aid, compassion, and understanding.


About the Author: Mariah Maza is Spoken Bride’s Features Editor. She is the co-founder of Joans in the Desert, a blog for bookish and creative Catholic women. Read more

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What are the Non-Negotiables in Your Relationship?

STEPHANIE CALIS

 

Do you and your fiancé or spouse ever experience a desire for order and ritual within your relationship?

As someone who resists the feeling of being boxed into any one identity or image, and who struggles with personal accountability in schedules and routines, I used to think living by a set of particular daily practices or principles--in my mind, a set of “rules”--were a limitation.

After seasons of struggling with purpose, intentionality, and motivation, I’ve begun to realize that incorporating an appropriate degree of order into my daily life and my marriage aren’t limiting: in reality, they create a greater sense of freedom.

Freedom, for my husband and I, has felt tangibly, practically real in the experiences of not feeling enslaved to household responsibilities or to self-focused desires. It’s felt like our time can be used well and for the service of each other and our family. Our growth in this area is the fruit of a recent discussion in which we talked about our individual and family priorities; what we deemed “non-negotiables” in our life together.

Read the Spoken Bride team’s experiences with and tips for designating household responsibilities with your spouse. 

The non-negotiables my husband and I identified for our marriage are: family dinner, daily walks together with our children, going to bed at or close to the same time as each other, and providing each other with time alone for prayer (the daily readings, Holy Hours or daily Mass) and renewal throughout the week (for my husband, it’s a weekly hockey league he plays in with his brothers, and for me, it’s time for journaling and running errands on my own).

I encourage you and your beloved to communicate about your own non-negotiables, whether you’re in the state of anticipating your future marriage, whether you’re adjusting to the new habits and closeness of newlywed life, or whether, like me, you’ve been married several years and are eager to refocus on your priorities as a couple. Recognizing one another’s love languages can provide great context for identifying your needs. 

Here, suggested starting points for creating your own list. You might create a list divided into different areas of your life, as cited below, or into daily, weekly, and monthly priorities.

Spiritual

Identify concrete times and ways to pray together. Consider incorporating daily prayers like the Rosary or Liturgy of the Hours, committing to confession, Adoration, and/or daily Mass several times per month, celebrating particular days in the liturgical year, or a establishing a continual practice of reading and discussing the same spiritual book.

Find spiritual reading recommendations--including Theology, literature, and books on love and marriage--here.

Physical

Exercise and physical activity promote discipline and healthy ambition in all areas of your life. If working out--individually or together--is a priority for you, include it in your non-negotiables.

What’s more, in our creation as full persons, body and soul, the physical extends beyond exercise and looks to the relational. Discuss your outlook and needs regarding physical touch with your beloved, and determine ways appropriate to your relationship (whether engaged or married) to express affection. My husband and I, for instance, try to sit down on the couch together to chat and cuddle after our kids go to bed, before we begin our evening chores or leisure. I cherish the time spent reconnecting.

Read reflections on how a regular running habit helped one of our brides prepare emotionally, spiritually, and physically for marriage. 

Service

Are there particular responsibilities and sacrifices you can take on for the good of each other? Particularly for those whose love language is acts of service, daily assistance with chores and, God willing, family life, can be a meaningful non-negotiable that minimizes overwhelm and provides opportunities for sacrificial love. Your non-negotiables list might include matters like a nightly tidying up or making the bed in the morning.

Consider, as well, if service to your community--through weekly or monthly commitments to ministry, corporal works of mercy, volunteer work, or helping family and friends--is a high priority for your relationship.

Leisure

Identify ways you and your beloved can use your free time for both personal renewal and for nurturing your relationship. Depending on your individual temperaments and state in life, leisure preferences can widely vary, and are worth communicating about honestly.

Discuss ways to embrace leisure time in ways that leave the both of you feeling restored and close to one another: consider weekly or monthly date nights, designated times of day where your phones stay in another room, or pursuing shared hobbies.

Tired of the endless Netflix scroll? Read 8 inspired, non-TV ideas for your quality time

Although my husband and I aren’t perfect at meeting our daily, weekly, and monthly non-negotiables, simply having identified and committing to them has brought a deeper sense of purpose, intention, and yes, freedom, to our life, particularly in our season of raising a young family. We’d love to hear yours, as well. Share your non-negotiables (whether official or unofficial) in the comments and on Spoken Bride’s social media.


About the Author: Stephanie Calis is Spoken Bride's Editor in Chief and Co-Founder. She is the author of INVITED: The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner (Pauline, 2016). Read more

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Editors Share | Household Responsibilities

It’s our privilege to be invited into your story and vocation. In gratitude, we love sharing ours with you, as well. Today, the team responds to a reader question about tips for and experiences with determining each spouse’s role in household responsibilities.

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Carissa Pluta, Editor at Large

I feel like my husband and I were lucky to fall into a pretty natural pattern. A lot of chores we do are things that either we like to do or that made the most sense for us. My husband Ben loves to cook, and I like doing dishes, so he cooks and I clean up when it’s done. Or he does the grocery shopping while he’s out, and I do laundry, vacuuming, and other general chores when I’m home during the day.




 

Andi Compton, Business Director

We’ve had a lot of trial and error. For money matters, my husband handles the long term (investing, retirement savings), while I handle the short term (designating our monthly spending areas and managing our budget).

We both hate dishes, so we try to do five minutes each and then swap. I do the laundry — which he had to teach me after our honeymoon! — and delegate chores to my husband or our kids as needed. He likes to cook, so he does it whenever he can. I prefer cleaning bathrooms over cooking.

It’s all about what works at the time — having children has made us reevaluate our responsibilities often. Seasons change, for sure.

 

Stephanie Fries, Associate Editor

Our delegation of household chores reflects the combination of both our values and the logistics of our lives. We prioritize time together, a clean and orderly house, and eating dinner at home on weeknights. Since my husband works long hours and frequently travels for his job and I spend most time at home (with occasional freelance work), I take on most of the domestic responsibilities.

My thought process is if he’s working, I’m also working — even though the responsibilities and “profit” of our work look very different. But to both of our benefit, the work stops when my husband comes home and we can relax together. For matters where collaboration is essential or preferred — such as buying furniture, setting a budget, studying for a work qualification or hosting friends for an evening — we work together to fulfill the tasks at hand.

 

Jiza Zito, Co-Founder & Creative Director

With the travel-heavy nature of my husband’s career, I handle almost everything on the home front. On the same token, he grew up in a very traditional household, and we’ve tended to operate similarly. He does chores if and when I ask; though it might sound patriarchal, it’s the best way we maintain order.

 

Mariah Maza, Features Editor

I do most of our housework, but sometimes my husband will ask if there’s a chore I’d like him to do. Most of the time, it’s the dishes!

I’ve gotten into the habit of spending the first part of every morning picking up from the night before, and I always make the bed (growing up, I almost never made my bed, and now I can’t function without doing it — a quirky grace of marriage).

Last Christmas, my husband gifted me a Bluetooth headset so I could listen to podcasts hands-free while doing chores, which just shows his practical but loving ability to notice the little things.

Our method of divvying up household responsibilities works for us because I am such an organization-oriented personality, and chores can actually function as a stress reliever. To be honest, we never talked much about daily workloads before our wedding day; it just happened like that after getting married. I’m sure once we have kids I’ll need extra help more often, but I remind myself in the meantime that the stereotypical “wife handling most of the housework” is a perfectly okay way to run your household, and it gives me more opportunities to actively serve my spouse and offer little daily tasks to the Lord. After all, picking up each other’s clothes off the floor everyday is a small road to sanctity!

 

Mary Wilmot, Social Media Manager

I do all of our family’s laundry, and my husband does dishes most of the time--though I’ve been doing them more lately, as that’s a time when my he can spend time with the kids out of the house while I have time to myself. He cooks on evenings when he gets home first — I’m so grateful for his willingness to cook and clean! He is definitely the more organized one of us, so it helps hold me to a better standard.

 

Stephanie Calis, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief

Generally, my husband and I each do the chores we mind the least; I usually do laundry, and he usually does dishes. I cook most nights although he’s good at it and doesn’t mind when I ask for a break. He handles most of our financial matters.

I don’t know if we ever formally talked about it, but I’ve always liked that with us, it’s never been about particular roles for each spouse or about refusing to do tasks outside our typical “areas.” Instead, we simply try to do things without complaint and help each other when one of us is unable to do a particular job — we see it as more important that a task gets done than who does it.

Organization is an area where we differ more. I like to try and tidy up often during the day, whereas it’s less a priority for him. I think because I spend more time at home, it’s more important to me to get the mess out of the way. We try to bring up what’s important to us in household matters — clutter, scheduling appointments, grocery shopping — with charity and to give each other the benefit of the doubt when we fall short. Often, we’ve discovered that what seems like a deficiency in the other is actually rooted in a miscommunication of our expectations.

 

Danielle Rother, Pinterest Manager

Splitting up household chores has not always been easy for us, and at other times it has. For example, I enjoy making the bed — plus I’m usually the last one to wake up in the morning — so it makes sense that I take on the responsibility of making the bed everyday. My husband has an easier time using the vacuum to get around furniture and small corners, so that’s a chore he has chosen to do every week for our household. 

While some chores came natural to us at the beginning, there are many chores that have not had the same result and it has caused quite a bit of tension between us, at times. 

For newlyweds household responsibilities can be difficult for many couples to figure out together. After over a year and a half of marriage we are still learning a lot about each other and how to navigate these responsibilities in our daily life — and that’s okay! Communication is a huge part of running a household. I’ve learned whenever there has been a household problem it is usually not about the chore itself, but how one is communicating their expectations to the other in a particular situation. Learning effective communication strategies can make household responsibilities go over more smoothly and it creates the opportunity for you to understand your spouse and their needs better.