8 Tips on How to Talk to Your Spouse about Your Finances

A kindhearted woman gains honor,
    but ruthless men gain only wealth.”

Proverbs 11:16

 

I was really nervous about posting today’s blog; talking finances is up there with religion and politics, it is such an aggressive topic. With that being said I feel that I do have a lot to offer on the subject with all my personal trials and errors. When I first met and married my love the Scientist, I was coming into the marriage with literally nothing. I spent every last dime I had on my wedding. No job, penniless, and a hot mess when it came to budgets etc.  I wasn’t exactly prime pickings. The Scientist still loves me besides my insecurities and we work hard every day to make our one income family work.

Me & My Husband
Me & My Husband

Through our journey together that started two years ago, we are constantly learning on how to grow our marriage, how to become one and be on the same page. We have dreams for our family that in order for them to come true, we would have to be out of debt and have a hefty savings account. We also want to be able to do that and still be married after we achieve those goals. I know a lot of couples who have trouble with their finances and it becomes an issue in their marriages. That is not something that the Scientist and I want. We want to be successful but we also want a marriage that is strong and that can withstand any trial. So when we started out we knew that when it came to budgets and living frugally to achieve our dreams; we would have to figure out a way to communicate without tearing each other down. I have included eight tips on how to communicate and navigate through the big finance and budget talk.

  1. Forgive and then pray I actually got this from my priest Father Eugene. You have to forgive each other for any past that is hurting your finances and communication. Then pray that you will speak kindly and have an understanding heart. It’s not always easy to forgive but it is well worth it, I promise.
  2. Schedule uninterrupted time to discuss your budget and finances. We like to make it a working date night. I put together a nice cheese and meat plate, with some wine! It really takes the edge off of budgeting.
  3. NO name calling, judgments, yelling, physical violence, or any type of aggressive behavior.
  4. Listen to each other without judgments, preconceived notions, and with an open heart. Listening with compassion is the best thing to do, it shows that you respect your spouse and really are trying to understand their viewpoint.
  5. Talk with loving words and tone. This is huge because most miscommunication begins with tone. Try to be aware of your facial expressions and the way your words are sounding.
  6. Don’t leave until you have a plan established to conquer your goals. If you need to take a break or breathe for 10 minutes that’s fine. Remember that you set aside this time to talk about your budget and come up with a realistic plan that will work for the both of you; go back after your break to finish.
  7. Pray for each other, your goals, your plans, and your marriage. When you have a game plan intact take a moment to give thanks to God and ask for his help in assuring your plans go the way they need to. Praying together really helps bring back your center and love for each other, it helps smooth out any hard feelings you may have.
  8. Spend the next 5 to 10 minutes after you are done to do something loving towards each other. Say Three things that you love about your spouse go into details.

Finances & Money

I will go into detail how The Scientist and I budget, set goals, meal plan, and cut money waste at another time.  Learning to communicate is the number one reasons marriages break or become stronger. We felt that working on our communication was the biggest trial that we have because if there is no communication there is no growing. When you don’t grow in your marriage, if you don’t feed it what it needs, your marriage will die. Hopefully, these tips will help you better communicate with your spouse when you talk about finance, budgeting, or any hard conversations that you may encounter. Print it out Our Budget Talk Guidelines for future talks! Remember to be loving in your actions and be the best you can at the moment.

Love,

Rachel

 

5 Ways to Celebrate Advent & the Christmas Season

Advent and Christmas is here and all is calm in my household. This is my favorite time of the year, the waiting, the anticipation, and the solemn focus on our Lord and Savior. The advent and Christmas season is always a growing process for me. I had such different ideas from a child, to a teenager, to a young adult, to my late 20’s, until today. Each Year I seem to add and grow my outlook on the Advent and Christmas Season. I love to prepare for the biggest birthday party in the world. I decorate, bake, shop, visit family and friends all for the coming of Our Lord. During the season I love to do all my favorite activities, here are my top 5.

My Advent Wreath
  1. Advent Baskets

Advent Baskets could be filled with a number of things depending the ages of your household. We keep the basket out all season long so that we can share and have joy waiting for our Savior to come and celebrate when he is here. I have a mixture of games, Paper Doll Nativity Sets, Color Sheets, Prayer Journals, Holy Stationery, and Advent Books.

                Games

Nativity Bingo

Christmas Dominoes

Advent Pear Tree to Pear Tree, same rules as Apples to Apples (download the Pear Tree to Pear Tree Nouns here and the Pear Tree to Pear Tree Adjectives here to play at home)


                Paper Doll Nativity and Activity Sets

I actually just Googled it, printed it out, cut it out, and have all the pieces in an envelope for the kids.

               Coloring Sheets

As a teen and adult I still love to color and create. You can get a ton of awesome coloring sheets online.

               Rosary and Prayer Journals

We love to do a family Rosary, we like to take prayer requests and write them down in our prayer journals.  We keep these prayer journals out so when we have quiet time we have them at our fingertips. We also like to reflect and writing it out helps sorts out your requests to God and your feelings.

               Bible Verse Stationery

I like to use these to write letters to others. Letters bring encouragement and heartfelt prayers, good wishes, and are a statement of love. So when I have free time I will sit down and get out my list of people that I would love to correspond with. This is also great for kids no matter the age, to communicate in a way that is not tech heavy.  Get your Bible Stationery Luke 2 10 here now!

                Books

There are tons out there I just get free eBooks or even go to the library and pick them out. What a great way to spend time with the family then to read a book out loud.

  1. Hot Chocolate Bar Bible Study

I put together a Hot Chocolate Bar that is easy to put out and to clean up after. I get individual packets of hot Chocolate, marshmallows, peppermints, and caramel to put in bowls. We like to read the birth of Jesus through the book of Luke. So everyone will get their hot chocolate, discuss and read through the birth of our Savior.

  1. Watching Christian Christmas Movies

We watch a mixture of both Christian and NON Christian Christmas movies. We love holiday movies and there are an abundance of them. We like to go to the Library and rent them for free!!

  1. Make a treat box for a neighbor or someone who might need cheer.

We like to bake or write a letter to someone we know that is having a hard time. You don’t have to spend money to bring cheer and joy to someone.

  1. No Cell Phones after a certain time to spend time as a family.

This gets really hard for our families. Cell phones, iPad, and game systems are all the rage. We noticed that when we put our phones down; we tend to focus on each other more. Our marriage needs that time to help make our relationship strong. It is also giving us opportunities to make memorable moments. Some of the activities we like to do are puzzles, crosswords, talk, pray, listen to music, and craft.

Favorite Ornament

 

What are your favorite things to do this Advent and Christmas Season? Leave us a comment and subscribe!!! If you missed Kristi’s take on keeping Advent holy, check it out here.

Rachel

Grateful. Intentional. Advent.

I love my husband. I know that as a newlywed and wife in general, that sentence should always be able to roll off my tongue without a drip of sarcasm or irony. But in this season of Advent—the season of hope, joy, faith, and peace—I am reflecting on the blessings that I’ve been given this year.

I met my husband, got engaged, married him, took a super-fun family vacation, learned that my best friend is a bad ass in every sense of the word, saw my husband through the lens of his closest friends and family, and witnessed people come together for an unforeseen tragedy—in some cases the people didn’t even know those whom the tragedy befell.

Hail Marry's Kristi & Superman
Me and the Hubby

The world grieved the losses of talent through the deaths of countless actors and musicians such as Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, Kenny Baker, and Gary Marshall, to name a few. I also lost my last living grandparent just after she celebrated her 94th birthday and in the early fall, the sudden loss of a cousin, without any warning.

I know that many on my Facebook feed are ready for this year to end. It hasn’t been a great one for the United States. The entertainment industry has been decimated and we saw the ugliest election in my lifetime. Yet, in the midst of 2016’s wake, I can still honestly say:  I am so grateful for 2016.

I am grateful that my husband and my daughter and I are making new family traditions. I am grateful that my small nuclear family has expanded and that my extended family has more than doubled through my in-laws.

Advent Is

In this Advent season (and the upcoming Christmas season), it’s easy to get caught up in everything the world tells us to. The world tells us that we’re supposed to sing gimmicky song after gimmicky song (I see you, ”I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and “Dominick the Donkey”) and buy cheap trinkets that will not only NOT hold our loved one’s attentions more than 15 seconds, but may not even last that long to begin with.

We’re supposed to decorate our homes for Christmas before Thanksgiving, start listening to Christmas music on November 1, and leave our family behind at the dining room table so that we can get in line to grab the hottest technology piece on the market (which is already outdated and will be replaced by Super Bowl Sunday). It’s about having gifts. All the gifts. It’s a season of keeping up with Joneses.

In the Catholic world, we know better.

We know that Advent is a season of waiting. We’re patiently awaiting the coming of the Messiah. God’s gift to us. His one holy begotten son. It’s easy to get caught up in the world. But we’d like to challenge you to not be of the world. You are of Jesus, living in the world.

Our homemade ornament garland is so simplistic!

Here are my top five tips on making Advent a reflective, holy season in your own domestic church.

  1. Simplicity

I love Christmas decorations. I love the lights. I love the Nativity scenes. I love garlands and bows and banisters, yard art, those little projections on a house simulating snow. I love it all. Loving all things Christmas is almost hereditary in my family, and it’s a dominant gene. Therefore, I always decorate the house and put up the tree in Advent, well before Christmas. But this year, we decided to be a little more simplistic. We have a tree, homemade garland on our mantle (and stockings!), and a lovely sign that has a silhouette of the Nativity on wood that says “Oh Holy Night.” We also have multiple Nativity scenes throughout our home and a Christmas village. Not every wall needed adornments. Some years, it’s looked like Christmas threw up all over our house. We chose instead to focus this year on small, intentional decorations that reflect our personality, the fact that we’re celebrating Jesus, and that add to the homey feel of our home.

  1. Celebrate as a Catholic

We have an Advent wreath that was the easiest DIY of all time. It’s a small wreath from the Dollar Tree. Inside the wreath are four small glass votive candle holders holding three purple candles and one pink candle (all from Wal-Mart). As a little extra for this year, in the center of the wreath is a lovely statue of a pregnant Virgin Mary. It was my Mother’s Day present this year, and it really helps us to focus on what Advent is all about. On Christmas Day, we’ll replace the statue with a white candle (also in a small glass votive candle holder). We light the appropriate candles on the appropriate Sunday and say a prayer. On December 5, we leave a shoe out and wake up to small gifts, reminding us of the kindness of St. Nicholas (whose feast day is December 6). December 8, we go to Mass as a family. On December 13, the feast day of St. Lucy (one of my daughter’s favorites), we drive around looking for lights.

  1. Repurpose Secular Items

“The tree is a pagan thing!” they scream. Maybe. But, in the words of my friend Brittany, “God made the trees before they were used as a pagan thing.” She has a good point. The Christmas tree is an example of God’s creation, as are we. Its branches, which form a triangle, are almost like an arrow, pointing us toward Heaven. It is an evergreen and is called such because it is always green. This reminds us of life eternal. See? Since God is in everything, it’s not a stretch to see his son in everything. Wreaths are round (eternal, unending) and also made from evergreens. Stars on the tree? Heaven. Angels? They announced Jesus’ presence to Mary, shepherds, and the three kings. Christmas lights and fire? Jesus is the light. Use known objects in the world to teach the truth to your family.

  1. Remember Those in Need

This post began with me talking about being grateful for this year. We’ve been totally blessed in my family. I imagine many of you have been as well. Not everyone has, though. I want to give back to those who need it the most. In preparation for the aftermath of Christmas presents, my daughter went through her things. She decided to donate five Build-A-Bears to a local children’s hospital. She wants to donate her Disney Princess castle to a little girl who wants a dollhouse. She donated 37 new toys to her school’s Toys for Tots drive. We selected three children and three seniors from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  I donated to a homeless family. We are always called to be the light of Christ to others. Especially in this season, when it’s all about materialism and the gimme-gimmes, it’s nice to be the odd family out and remember what Christ preached. It’s nice to remember what made St. Nicholas the world-wide symbol for holiday giving. It’s nice to be Jesus to the least of these.

5. Pray

Advent is a great time to rekindle a prayer life if yours is not where you’d like it. I think of the Blessed Mother, pregnant, not really sure how her fiancée is going to feel about it, knowing that she’s bearing the begotten son of God (which would be enough to stress anyone out) and then TRAVELING ON FOOT to serve her pregnant cousin. Was she stressing out on the road? Was she having the crisis that I’m sure I’d have had? No. She prayed. The Magnificat is a beautiful prayer and it has a special place in my heart. We could all look to Mary’s example of how to deal with the things life throws your way that you aren’t expecting. Especially with the stress the holidays often bring, be like Mary. Pray.

I hope your Advent is an amazing journey of family, memories, prayer, and the true spirit of Jesus. Look for Rachel’s top five tips on keeping Advent holy soon!

Happy Advent!

Kristi

This post is part of the Siena Sisters’ CWBN Blog Hop.  You can read other posts by clicking here.

HailMarry: A Blog about Catholic Marriage

Welcome to the Hail Marry blog where we hope to share our experiences on our journeys, including topics like marriage and family (and everything in between!) with a side of laughter.

 

KRISTI

“Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

This verse always sticks out for me. I’m a newlywed wife (yay marriage!) and mom to a kindhearted daughter.

I am a Texan by birth and breeding and I love the smell of rain in the summer, firewood burning, and the combination of books and coffee (oh yeah, I’m talking to you, Barnes and Noble!). When I’m not hanging out with my family or blogging here with my bestie, Rachel, I’m probably being an office manager extraordinaire at work.

My goal for this blog is to build a community of people who can live out this vocation of wife and mother together through challenges and inspirations.

 

RACHEL

 “Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition which is precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

I’m Rachel, and this verse is my personal motto.

When I got the opportunity to start this blog with my best friend Kristi, I didn’t hesitate to jump in. I love being married and spending my life the past two years with my Husband. I want to honor him everyday with my heart, words, and the way I represent myself.

This Blog is something that has been on my heart for awhile now. I see the need in young Catholics beginning in marriage and struggling with the first couple of years learning to be the wives and husbands that we all  strive to be. I wanted a place where all of us can come to learn, pray, and be with God on our amazing journeys with our beloveds.

This is us celebrating Kristi’s engagement to her hubby.