Did you click on that link looking for date ideas? Or fun things to do on your own?
Good news! You will find that information here! However. I have cleverly disguised a Giant Life Lesson as a listicle and that lesson is:
Did you click on that link looking for date ideas? Or fun things to do on your own?
Good news! You will find that information here! However. I have cleverly disguised a Giant Life Lesson as a listicle and that lesson is:
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a Midwestern almost-thirty-year-old who loves to read, run, and cook new foods. I am a teacher by day and also love to travel whenever I can.
How did you meet your boyfriend?
I met him in college and was immediately attracted to him. He was a bit mysterious, but also fun, outgoing, and most of all thoughtful – he seemed to always be thinking a bit more than the next person, always appreciating the smallest things, and deeply enjoying life. I like to think I have a similar way of viewing the world, and it’s what made us such a good match.
We were friends initially, for several years, before we began dating. He grew up near me, but with a very different type of family. Whereas my family is relatively liberal and very accepting of anything my siblings and I want to do or try, his family was much more conservative.
What initially attracted you to him?
In addition to what I mentioned in the previous question, he was adventurous and outdoorsy, which has always been attractive to me in a partner. He was also very easy to talk to. He is much more in touch with his emotions than any other man I know.
Kenny and I had the We Want To Marry Each Other conversation five months into our relationship on a lumpy mattress in Mexico. I remember smiling into the darkness, listening to the ceiling fan click overhead and thinking “Oh! So this is what it feels like when your life changes!”
It was another year and a half before we actually married each other. I wanted to drive around America, Kenny wanted to get his feet under him at his dream job, and we both wanted to give his boys as much time as possible getting to know me. In that year and a half we spent a lot of time thinking about the kind of wedding we wanted and (much more importantly) the kind of marriage we wanted.
Like so many things, we knew what we didn’t want. We didn’t want a wedding that cost an arm and a leg. We didn’t want to send those obligatory invitations where neither the sender nor recipient is particularly sincere, but both are bound by familial and societal obligations. We didn’t want a bridal party or wedding favors or engagement photos or a wedding registry. We love it when other people do those things, but we didn’t want them for ourselves.
So, we simply didn’t do that stuff. Instead, we did things that were meaningful to us and created the wedding experience we wanted.
We got married on The North Shore of Lake Superior, a beautiful, rocky place we’ve both visited many, many times. On our drive up, we stopped at Toby’s, home to our favorite green vinyl booths and The World’s Best Cinnamon Rolls.
We spent the day before our wedding poking around Grand Marais, clamoring over rocks, hiking. We spotted a little bear cub and took it as a good sign. We drank wine and ate Trader Joe’s appetizers with our wedding guests (all five of them) and after they left, we spent an hour scribbling our way through this book.
On our wedding day, we slept in, drank mimosas, and made my favorite breakfast. We found a tiny, hidden beach and dipped our toes in the freezing water. I snuck away and read a few chapters from a favorite childhood book.
Kenny and boys got ready in our room and after all the shoe polishing and tie tying, Kenny gave the each of the boys a polished piece of Labradorite. Devoted Harry Potter fans, Kenny told the boys that the polished stones were similar to a Horcrux: they symbolized his never-ending, immortal love for them.
I got ready in my parents’ condo, doing my hair and makeup pretty much the same way I always do – because if there was ever a day to look like yourself, isn’t it your wedding day? I wore an $85 dress I bought from Asos with sandals from Marshall’s. My sweet grandma sent me an antique handkerchief with blue embroidery that read “With Love from Grandma Arleen.” I wrapped it around my bouquet of beautiful, weird, architectural non-flowers.
At 6 pm, Kenny and I joined our parents and the boys on a rocky outcropping and promised to have ridiculous adventures together until we die. We included the boys in the vows, trying to make them promise they’d never, ever question our rules or requests. (This was met with laughter.) Our lovely friend Meredith photographed our seven-minute ceremony and her boyfriend Bobby married us. I cried and sniffled through most of it but, like the pro she is, Meredith found other things to photograph while my nose was red.
Afterward, we dined at a nice restaurant nearby. We ordered off the menu, laughed and told stories and generally wished we were wearing clothes that were a bit more comfortable so we could eat more.
In lieu of a reception, we’re having extended family over for brunch and next summer, we’ll alienate our neighbors by throwing a big one-year anniversary party in our backyard. There, we’ll indulge in all the thematic centerpieces and custom cocktails and perfectly curated playlists that we didn’t do this year. You know I’ve already got a secret Pinterest board going.
Are you married? What was your wedding like? What did you love about it? What would you change if you could do it again? Tell me all about it in the comments!
P.S. In case you were wondering, I’m not changing my name because a) I’m lazy and b) my name is awesome. We’re not planning to further expand our family; two stepchildren is the right number of children for me 🙂
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi! You can call me Mindy – though that’s obviously not my real name. I am in my late twenties and have two school-age children. I own and run a small real estate team. I am an avid outdoor enthusiast. I run, rock climb, and jump out of planes from time to time. I live in Boise, Idaho and we work out of San Francisco.
I consider myself a fun loving and honest person and a good parent.
Growing up, how did you feel about relationships?
When I was a small child I thought my parents had a perfect relationship. I had older parents who were in their forties by the time I came around. As I got older, I realized that my parents struggled with money.
My mother was great with managing it and my father made it and had no problem spending it. We weren’t poor by any means, but my parents argued about money a lot.
My father was also an alcoholic and I remember a lot of nights where they slept apart. My parents divorced when I was 14, due to my father’s affair. My parents are back together now, but it is not what I would call a happy marriage.
I had a lot of relationships in high school and got married right after I graduated. He wasn’t motivated to work and I spend those three years pregnant and working to support our family. I always felt like I was one step away from never being able to pay the bills we had two girls over the course of a three-year marriage.
After my divorce, I had a string of partners that all wanted more from me than I was willing to give. I was proposed to three times during the seven years after my divorce. I can honestly say I was in love with two of them.
I sabotaged ruined the relationships because their lack of financial success made me nervous. I always felt like I needed to find someone who could make my life stable. I wanted a partner who had money and ambition. I didn’t ever want to feel like I was supporting someone again.
Can you tell us about your relationship with money?
My relationship with money is complicated. I’ve always been a saver and I’ve always afraid of what was around the corner. I had a job from the moment that I turned 15, but it never felt like enough.
I paid for my own cars and college. I am one of those people that always has money in boxes hidden around the house. I will admit that I have spent many hours on the bed counting that money when I was feeling stressed or insecure about a situation. Money has always been a security blanket; if I had it I wasn’t stressed. If I didn’t have any, I thought about it all the time.
What’s your husband like?
My husband is 15 years older than I am. He had one child but had never been married when we met. He has been working in the same field for 18 years. He works in as a director of operations for an international internet company.
He is smart, sensitive, analytical, funny, and controlling at times. He’s very attractive. He’s in great shape and cares about his body. We met on Match.com.
What was your financial situation like when you met your now-husband?
I was doing fine financially when we met. I was keeping my head above water but never felt like I was secure. I had been diagnosed with cancer before we met and I was dealing with the possibility of being financially shattered.
I was actively seeking someone that would at least be able to make me feel secure if my cancer got worse and I was unable to work. I wouldn’t date anyone that seemed to be struggling financially.
If you could break it down into percentages, how much of your decision to marry your husband was based on personal compatibility/affection and how much was based on financial stability?
I would say 80% security and 20% love/capability the day I moved in and I would say it was 60% love and 40% security the day we were married. As I type this, I am very much in love with my husband.
Is your husband aware that financial stability played into your decision to marry him? Are the people in your life aware of this?
My husband is very aware of finances. He knew from my dating profile that I wouldn’t even consider anyone who made under 150k a year. I am guessing he knew it was a factor that played a large role. We talked a lot about money when we were dating and I signed a prenup. He helps fund my business and keeps me on track.
We don’t share a bank account, but I do get an allowance and it’s enough that I have never had to ask for more. He understood why I was seeking security for myself and my girls.
Did you have any second thoughts on your wedding day? Have you had any second thoughts since?
I have never had a second thought about marrying him. The day I married him was the last day that I felt like my world could crumble at any moment.
How is your life different now that you’re married?
My life is a lot different. I used to login to my bank account on a daily basis checking balances. I couldn’t get my hair cut or do anything that I felt was a luxury.
I haven’t looked in my bank account in years because I know that he is taking care of it. We never have any money-related stress which is something a lot of married people fight about. I never worry if the mortgage payment is on time or if I am going to be able to buy the organic milk. I can take care of all the girls’ needs.
What are the benefits of your marriage? The drawbacks?
The benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks. My husband travels a lot and that’s hard. His work gives us a lot of flexibility but that also means that he’s away a lot. Since my father had affairs, I struggle with trust so spending so much time apart is hard for me.
My husband has specific ideas of how I should look, I need to keep up my body. He makes comments about my weight when I gain a few pounds. Mind you, I am 5’5 and 128 pounds right now; yesterday he asked me if it was time to stop snacking and start a juice fast or maybe add an extra day of cardio into my workouts. He can be very “his way or the highway.”
What would you say to people who don’t approve of your decision?
I think I would congratulate them for not letting money be a factor in their choices. I wish that it wasn’t so important to me, but it is and I am not going to be ashamed of that.
I would never have been happy without having the support that I wanted. It wouldn’t have mattered how in love I was, money would have been an issue for me.
I feel like there is the misconception about why some people marry for money. I didn’t want to buy everything in sight. I wanted my children to be able to go to college, play piano, take gymnastics.
I wanted to know that if I change careers or decided to stay home and raise children that would be a possibility. I didn’t want to go to Paris and buy Prada.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Mindy. Do you guys have any questions for her?
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m a not-quite-yet 30 year-old, West Coast girl who loves travel, language-learning, and good barbecue. I’m a massage therapist and I’m super interested in alternative medicine/healing.
You grew up as part of the Unification Church. For those of us who don’t know, what are its basic tenets
The UC is a religious movement that is part Christian/part Eastern religions (the founder is Korean). Some call it a cult. Marriage is a HUGE part of the UC doctrine, particularly international, inter-religious and intercultural marriages.
The belief is that through “mixed” marriages, the barriers and prejudices of society will break down. So, if two parents of traditionally enemy-nations marry and have kids, their kids will be able to love both of those cultures more easily because they have both within them.
Growing up, did you know that you would have an arranged marriage?
I always knew it was part of what we did in the Unification Church. I had friends that were very much opposed to having their spouses chosen for them. I on the other hand, was okay with it.
The marriages in the UC are not forced marriages. While parents do suggest spouses, the partners in the marriage do get a say in what they want and can always say no. One can still break it off at any time even after the “Blessing” (the UC marriage ceremony).
There are two ways that UC members are introduced to their partners: either through their parents in a parents’ matching or through being matched by the founder, Rev. Sun Myung Moon (although he passed away in 2012, so now parents’ matching is the predominant method). With time, the process has become more relaxed and different families take different approaches to how a matching takes place.
How did your parents (or the church) choose your husband for you?
I was matched by the founder. The belief is that Rev. Moon will choose someone who will help you grow the most as a person, which is usually through someone that is completely different from yourself.
UC members born into the church were brought up to not have expectations of what our spouse would be like in terms of looks, education level and nationality and that we should be able to love anyone as a child of God and as a spouse. Now of course, that’s a very high level of love to achieve, which most members that I know are still struggling to attain.
Can you tell us about the first time you met your husband?
The founder of the church announced a matching and Blessing, so members from around the world who were interested in attending, gathered in Cheong Pyeong, South Korea (which is like a Moonie Mecca of sorts). There were hundreds of people there hoping to receive the matching and Blessing by Rev. Moon.
Honestly, I can’t even remember my first exchanges with my husband anymore. I do remember thinking he was cute, but he was pretty shy around me those first few days (understandably so) even though he could speak English. (English isn’t his first language.)
After trying to get some sleep after the matching, I woke up the next day and couldn’t find him anywhere because there were so many people, everything from the night before felt like a dream. When we did manage to find each other again, we had a talk about whether or not we wanted to keep the matching–which obviously we did.
What was your wedding like?
Moonies are famous for their mass weddings. Some people say it seems impersonal, but it can be fun/comforting to share the day with your friends going through a similar experience. I didn’t know my spouse at the time, so it wasn’t so deeply personal for us as a couple, but as an individual I was committed to making the relationship work and I remember feeling happy.
Many UC members choose to have an additional ceremony/wedding for their family later on when they are ‘more in love’ and know each other better. Me and hubby chose not to, we had a legal marriage ceremony at city hall a few years later followed by coffee and cake.
What happened after the wedding?
They had some cheesy entertainment (Korean style) for us to watch and then we spent a few days getting to know each other. We volunteered at an orphanage together while in Korea and then a few days later we departed back to our countries. As I’m sure lots of people are curious, the wedding night/consummation of the marriage doesn’t take place the night of the Blessing. It’s really a personal decision for the couple.
We waited three years to get to know each other as friends first (partly due to the fact that we were living in two different countries!), but some couples’ relationships develop much faster.
At the time, I didn’t think it was that long, but looking back I realize that’s a long time to wait! We visited each other 9x (for periods of several weeks) over the next 3 years while we attended university in our home countries. After I graduated, I moved to be with him while he finished up his studies. We met each other’s families, wrote letters, Skyped, sent packages and did all the things normal LDRs require to keep them going.
You and your husband are still together after 8.5 years, even though you’re no longer members of the church. What lead you to leave the church? Did that decision affect your marriage at all?
It was little things not adding up in my head anymore. One might expect it to feel like your world being knocked off its axis, but honestly, the shift in thinking was a lot more subtle. I slowly started to allow myself to ask questions that I was afraid to ask before and to doubt things I thought I knew for certain.
There was something exciting about not having to know all the answers and I was a freer, happier person because of it. We never made any kind of proclamation or announcement to our families about us not being active members in the UC, but I think both of us questioning our faith made our relationship stronger and healthier. In some ways, I think it made us “own the decision” of wanting to be together—not for the church but because we wanted it.
How has your marriage changed and improved as time has passed?
Before I went to the Blessing, I prayed that above all else, I hoped my future spouse would be my best friend. Now whether or not a God-like being exists or even heard my prayer, I don’t know, but I have to say that my husband has been just that to me.
I value our relationship so much and sometimes I have to remind myself how crazy our meeting was! We would have never known each other if it wasn’t for that fateful day in Korea many years ago!
When you compare your marriage to other marriages that began in a more ‘traditional’ manner, do you see any major differences?
Maybe one of your readers can tell me whether or not they’ve experienced this in their more traditional marriage, because honestly, I’ve only done the arranged marriage version ;).
One major difference, as far as I can see, was that our relationship didn’t start off with any games. We just jumped right in talking about the big stuff—kids, faith, family, marriage, which country we might want to live in together—all within a matter of hours after meeting each other.
Now, of course, we’ve both changed a lot since that time, but generally we were committed to making the relationship work, so all the nitty-gritty and getting to know each other’s likes/dislikes, we discovered later on after we had already committed to the relationship.
Another difference that I seem to notice is that we had the support of both of our families from the get-go. Before his family ever met me, they welcomed me into their family with open arms.
Do the people in your life know how you two met?
We don’t advertise it, although I have told a few people. Generally though, I’ve noticed most people don’t really care how you met your significant other. I’ve only had a handful of people ask me, even with my husband and I being from different countries.
I don’t tend to tell them this version right away, though. It’s just too long, so I usually give a very watered-down version. I also still socialize with some others who have had an arranged marriage through the church, so obviously for them it’s not a big deal.
Has your meet-cute affected the way you view dating and ‘traditional’ marriage?
Growing up in such a conservative movement and then stepping away from it made me much more tolerant of others’ lifestyles and choices.
However, if we do have kids, I will probably encourage them to wait until their 20s to date, as I do think it’s a good idea to work on yourself before getting involved with another person.
What advice would you give to anyone in a relationship who’s trying to connect better with their partner?
As cliché as it sounds, don’t underestimate friendship in your relationship with your partner. Romance is nice, but a good friendship lasts longer.
Thanks so much for sharing your story!
Friends, you’d be surprised. In fact, I think you should consider dating someone who’s been through a divorce. Wait. Wait. I FULL ON RECOMMEND IT.
Here are my completely subjective and anecdote-based reasons that you should go out with that divorced cutie from OkCupid.
1. Divorced people are more likely to take relationships seriously
When you tell your 24-year-old boyfriend that you feel disrespected when he flirts with other girls, he might think you’re an uptight nag.
But a divorced dude know that flirting/trust/fidelity issues can crack the foundation of a marriage. Divorced people realize that the little, every day arguments can lead to larger, deeper issues. They’re more likely to take your concerns seriously.
2. Divorced people are more likely to talk about their feelings + needs
Because they (hopefully) went to therapy before, during, or after their divorce.
3. Divorced people are more likely to know what they’re looking for in a partner + what works for them
Less time devoted to relationships that aren’t going anywhere. Less time figuring out if you two are the right match. They’ve (hopefully) learned what does and doesn’t work for them and how to communicate those needs.
Of course, divorcees are just like any other group of people – huge, diverse, un-sterio-typeable- there are 1.2 million divorces in America every year. I’m sure there are thousands of douchy, inconsiderate, clueless divorced people who you should never date. But there are just as many smart, kind, amazing divorced people who are better for having been married.
As the second wife of a divorced guy, I’m particularly interested in the topic. So I asked five of my divorced friends what they learned from their first marriages.
Jessica and her current partner Nick
I have learned to pause and check in with my partner when I sense a silence on his end. Sometimes I find that I’m making decisions and forging ahead in life without consulting him and he feels left out or that his opinions aren’t important to me.
Just because you and your spouse are getting along does not mean you are communicating Click To Tweet In fact, it’s probably healthy to have a good, heated discussion bordering on (nonviolent/non-abusive) arguing every now and again. It forces you to do a bit of a reset, to focus on your priorities, and to re-learn what your spouse’s priorities are.
Even if you are getting along just fine, you need to check in with each other. See if there are any wrinkles that need ironing out.
Pick a night every once in a while, crack open a bottle of wine, and make sure there aren’t any grievances that need airing. Give each other a safe space to air those and listen to each other.
I completely disagree with the “don’t go to bed angry” piece of advice that people often dispense. You’re not going to die in your sleep. Go ahead, go to bed angry. Often times, people are arguing because they’re tired. They’re worked up about something and it’s snowballing in a major issue.
Go to sleep, and in the morning, the both of you will probably feel like asses and apologize to each other. Then you can talk calmly about what it was that upset you in the first place (and maybe have amazing morning make-up sex).
It’s fine to have a shared checking account for bills or savings account for your future together (nest egg, vacation fund, etc), but also have your own money, too.
Don’t share everything. You are still your own people with your own pasts, credit histories, and (possibly) separate futures! Decide how you want to share expenses/bills/savings and then keep your other money separate. This will actually spare you from some of the money arguments many couples have.
There is no such thing as “the one.” Not for anyone. There are seven billion people on Earth, and zero of them are a perfect 10 for you.
If you’ve found someone that’s a 9.2 for you (but dang, you really wish he had a retirement plan and liked cats!), round that person up to a 10 and count yourself lucky!
However, keep in mind that that means you CAN NOT get lazy and take that person for granted or allow yourself to be taken for granted.
David and his second wife Cleo
I really like increasing other people’s happiness – most especially that of the person I love – and lots of times that takes the form of doing things for them. Self-sacrifice is a habit worth cultivating, right?
However, it falls off the rails if you’re always the “no, whatever YOU want” person, or aren’t confident about your wants, your needs, and what you’d like to spend your time doing. Your partner wants you to be their partner, not their puppy.
Ask “how was your day” and really mean it. When your partner asks that question, don’t just summarize with “fine” – actually tell them what interested you, challenged you, annoyed you that day.
If something’s bothering the other person, they may not tell you, but you know when there’s just a hint of them being short with you, bummed, irritated, etc? It’s probably not your imagination and don’t get in the habit of just ignoring it or waiting for them to bring up the issue. Ask what’s up.
Be ready to hear an answer you might not like. Don’t get defensive. Don’t be too hasty to accept an “I don’t want to talk about it.”
There are cases where it actually is not a good time to talk about something. But if you’re in the habit of letting smaller moments like that slide, never to be resolved, they build up into a pile of either lost opportunities to grow closer/better. Or they get brought up later in seemingly-unrelated arguments when everyone is even less inclined to be charitable.
You want to feel wanted. Your partner does too. The only part you really have control over is how you demonstrate that to your honey, though – so do a bang-up job of that.
You need to upset the mundane brush-your-teeth-and-take-out-the-recycling-first habits every once in a while. Don’t let sex become something you only do once you’re in bed at night, after the usual routine.
Put your bills on auto-pay.
You won’t always feel exhilarated, and will probably even feel let down. You’ll annoy the shit out of each other sometimes. And that’s going to be the case even with the truest, longest-lasting love.
Do you feel like you need to hide something from your spouse (and I’m not talking surprise birthday party plans)? That should be a huge warning sign that you need to get honest with yourself (and them) about it. Get attuned.
Don’t waste time nurturing fond memories of Ones That Got Away. Make the most of delighting in the person you’re with now. The grass is greener where you water it.
Put your trust in another human and there’s a chance you’ll end up with heartbreak and disappointment. Do it anyway.
Kathleen, her second husband Jeremy and their little boy Fox
In my first marriage, I assumed that because we had “forever” that I could give my marriage the attention it needed to thrive later. So now I give my husband and our relationship daily consideration.
It’s easier to like each other when you’re giving each other orgasms regularly. Just saying.
In my first marriage chores and responsibilities were kind of all willy-nilly. There were no defined roles like there are in my marriage now.
I think part of that comes with just being young and figuring out how to be an adult. I will say in my marriage now, especially having a kid together, I’ve learned that dividing chores and being okay with how someone else does things is key.
I know that my husband isn’t great at making decisions but instead of getting resentful I recognize that decision-making is kind of my superpower and my job within our marriage. On the flip side, he’s really good at being tidy and organized but doesn’t get mad at me when my closet is a mess.
Kenny and his second wife – me!
During my first marriage I think I may have thought I was supposed to be perfect, and since I wasn’t and couldn’t be, I just made-believe, by ignoring and not dealing with things.
Communication is by far the most important component of any serious relationship. Of course, we need to listen and try to understand the other person, but at least as importantly, we need to be very clear ourselves, about our hopes, our expectations, our intentions, and what we really mean. Assumptions may actually be the root of marital evil.
Everyone should schedule meetings or check-ins, every month at least, to make sure nothing is going unmentioned.
For any marriage to work, you will probably have to understand yourself in ways you never imagined. Your partner will have to do the same.
There is no way one person can 'run' the communication in a marriage. Click To Tweet It may work in the short-term, but if you don’t have two people working consistently and fairly, it will fail. Marriage ends when one person stops trying.
Intimacy makes or breaks a marriage. You live with other people, you see movies with other people, you shop with other people, you share meals with other people. Intimacy is the only thing that sets your partnership apart from friendships and other relationships you have. Make space for it in spades.
Being on time is an incredibly loving act. And eliminating conversations about ins and outs of our day by using tools like lists and calendars are incredibly helpful in lessening the doldrums of a marriage and raising a family.
If you are getting married, for the love of gods don’t change your name. Trust me.
It’s essential to continue being yourself inside a marriage. And if you feel like you can’t be, follow your gut and get out. You never will. Your life is waiting on the other side.
What have you learned from your previous relationships? Do you date divorced people – and have you noticed a difference between The Divorced and The Never Marrieds?
P.S. If you have a habit of dating unsuitable people, this might help. And it’s free!