Friday, March 6, 2015

The Keys to Making Our Marriage Work

Lately, I've found myself so completely consumed with work and tending to the tot that I've begun to lose focus on another very important aspect of my life, my marriage. Monday through Friday Jake and I are both consumed by our separate yet equally chaotic work schedules. Add in the daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, paying bills (and all of the other fun stuff that no one ever wants to do) and our typical conversations usually go something like this:

I have to work late. Can you pick up Taylor?
Sure. Have you seen Penny (Tay's baby doll)
I think I saw her behind the couch. Can you wipe Taylor's nose?
What do you want for dinner? Spaghetti or eggs?
It's whatever. Crap, we're out of milk. Can you run to the store?
I guess. What's that smell? Did you fart? Did Charlie fart? 
No, Taylor pooped.

Seriously, we can't even have a conversation that doesn't involve poop! Aside from our rousing discussions, we don't have much time or energy left for anything else. And it royally sucks. We see each other on a daily basis yet rarely get to spend any quality time together. On occasion, we'll sneak off and have lunch dates but most of that time is spent rushing to a restaurant, rushing to eat our food, and then rushing back to the office. Sometimes we manage to get in a conversation or two, but it usually consists of one of us (Jake) complaining about work. Awesome. And since Taylor is at all daycare all week, we like to spend our weekends doing things as a family because that's really the only time we get to see her. Once she goes to bed on Friday and Saturday nights, we attempt to spend time together but that usually results in me falling asleep on the couch while Jake plays on his phone or watches a dumb movie on Netflix (although I don't really know what he does because I'm sleeping).

We're working on making more time for each other and now that the tot is older it's easier to leave her for a couple of hours without a massive amount of guilt hanging over my head. The time that we do manage to spend alone is always so exciting and full of laughter, almost like a first date. Honestly, it makes me fall in love with him all over again. Sappy, I know - but still true. I'm hilarious and he's completely fearless, so together we make quite the pair. And if you know anything about the two of us, you know that we are completely nontraditional when it comes to all things relationship. We didn't think twice about eloping in Jamaica and we don't bat an eye when people question the quirky ways we run our household. We know what works for us and we aren't willing to sacrifice that for tradition or society.

On that note, I'll let you in on the secrets that make our relationship work. Now, I realize that I am not the easiest person to live with and while my "tendencies" have caused a number of arguments throughout the years, Jake has dealt with my obsessiveness in a way that only a saint could. My Type A personality demands that things be done a certain way and although my super chill husband will never come close to understanding why, we have finally come to terms on the things that we can compromise on and the things that we will never, ever see eye to on (no matter how many reasons I give him).

So here you have it, the three components that keep our marriage afloat:

1. Separate Finances - We use the same bank and have a joint savings account, but we each have our own checking account. My paychecks go into my account and his paychecks go into his. Our bills are divided based on our income (he makes more so he pays more) and we spend freely without worrying what the other person thinks. When we first started living together, we spent so much time arguing over money and expenses but now that our finances are separate we spend as we please and rarely fight over money. Seriously, it's one of the smartest things we have ever done.

2. Separate Bathrooms - Boys are gross. They just are. And I'm pretty sure it's something in their DNA because even after ten years of coaxing Jake to pick up his crap, he still randomly leaves it all over the house. I can stand picking up shoes and hats from the living room, but I cannot stand cleaning a bathroom that has been used by a guy. I'm not sure why it's so hard to pee into the toilet standing up, but it must be because they can't seem to hit the inside for the life of them. And those little black whiskers that cover the entire sink post-shave are absolutely disgusting. No, no, NO. I won't do it. Our house has three bathrooms - one for me, one for Jake, and one for guests. Taylor shares my bathroom, but I'm already starting to question how long she's going to stay.

3. Separate Laundry - It only took Jake shrinking one of my favorite shirts before we decided to do our own laundry. Don't worry, I still do more than my fair share (including Taylor's), but his clothes are his own territory. It all started once I actually saw his operation. He literally opens his hamper, grabs an arm load and throws it all in the washer - whites, darks, colors, and towels all in one load. It eats me to my core. Since my office dress code is business casual, my laundry is a bit more complex and time consuming. I actually sort my clothes, wash them on different settings according to load, and then air dry 75% of my wardrobe. Jake prefers to just shrink his clothes and then buy new. But I'm not a millionaire so I have to actually take care of my clothes. Then again, Target t-shirts are slightly more affordable than Express dress pants.

While our marriage also consist of things like love, trust, and honesty (and while those things are important), these three items are the foundation upon which our relationship currently sits. They might seem silly or senseless to you, but go a month wearing shrunken clothes, washing your face in a dirty sink, or trying to pay bills with an unbalanced checkbook and let me know how well you sleep at night. This chick just can't handle it.