Hey hey there, Married Lady! I'm in your boat. Ring on my finger, sharing life with one of my favorite people, and just trying to figure out all the ups and downs that come with being in a marriage.
The truth is, it's not always easy and I wish I had known about a lot of the great resources out there A LOT earlier in Nolan and I's relationship. So here's hoping that my hindsight can be your foresight and help you out along the way!
Anything I say reflects my own personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses and should not be construed as investment or relationship advice. The information and opinions presented are of a general nature only and do not take into account the particular needs or individual circumstances of you or your relationship. Past performance of any resource is not a guarantee of future success. Though I make every effort to ensure these resources are up to date, I cannot personally take responsibility for the actions of any vendors, businesses, or resources here.
Also, I am an affiliate for some of the resources on this page which means I might get a small commission if you use one of the links here. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything more (in fact, sometimes it costs you less because I have a special deal set up with them!) and I would never recommend something I didn't 100% believe in, affiliate links aside!
Writing in a blank journal can be intimidating, but that's why I love this beautiful journal. It guides you step-by-step with guided prompts from the day you met all the way through your 70th anniversary. What a treasure of a book to pour into together and then pass down!
I think it's so important to set goals together as a couple for both your life and marriage! This little guide is meant to be a companion for the Powersheets goalsetting yearly notebook, BUT could also be used on it's own to guide you and your sweetie in setting goals for the year.
When or if you decide to start a family together, I love this guided journal for documenting every step from pregnancy to when they turn 18. Each step is easy because of the guided prompts they use (and I love that they also have an Adoption Journal option, too!).
(by Lara Casey of Cultivate)
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Image by Laura Watson
I recently started using YNAB and I can't tell you how much I love it! Creating and then sticking to a budget can feel incredibly overwhelming but we have found it to be vital for managing our finances and planning for our future goals. For the most part YNAB is pretty intuitive and for the parts that aren't they have tons of free resources to help you out. I've also found their customer service to be so responsive and fantastic. They start you out with a free trial and then the service is only a few dollars a month,!
This is another great budgeting system that helps you keep track of your finances! I have used Mint in the past and liked it pretty well, but ultimately found YNAB (above) worked better for my particular brain! That being said, I have friends who swear by Mint and you just have to find what works for you! It's also free, which is wonderful.
If you and your sweetheart are completely clueless about money management, Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course might be a great place to start. It's an online class that walks you through his method of budgeting, getting out of debt, and planning for your future to create a strong financial foundation. I find his opinions on credit cards and savings to be a bit extreme, but if you are truly making your first foray into finances and have no idea where to start, his simple and straightforward principles are a great way to get started and then you can find what works best for you from there!
Hands down, the #1 book I recommend to any and every couple to read is The 5 Love Languages! This book has integrally shaped and changed Nolan and I's relationship for the better and improved our communication! Many times our unhappiness in relationships comes from our inability to express love to each other in a way that our partner UNDERSTANDS, but this book explains how your partner communicates and how to speak their language of love for a better marriage.
This is just like The 5 Love Languages (above) BUT it's specifically written for men. If your fella isn't a reader, I recommend this edition for him as it speaks more directly in terms that he'll relate to.
I've honestly never been a particularly emotional person, but Nolan makes me look like a big ball of feelings in comparison to how even-keeled and "chill" he is! This book examines how men DO have a lot of emotions inside (sometimes so deep they barely realize they are there) and they even want you to understand, but they just don't know how to express them in words.
When you and your partner know and respect each other's wants and needs it opens the door to communicate openly and love each other more freely. I love how this book walks you through how to determine and set healthy boundaries in your life and marriage.
Did you know one of the leading causes of divorce and contention in marriage is finances? When you and your sweetie aren’t on the same page money-wise, it can be absolutely terrible. Dave has taken 20 years of his financial expertise and combined it into a book that leads you through building a strong financial foundation, getting completely out of debt, and building a future. Even moreso, it’s broken into easy steps that are meant for any age or income level!
I love how Kel & Mel's shop has been SO intentionally curated! Their shop is full of little items intended to make you slow down and savor your relationship.
Anna Kay is a talented watercolor artist and I love the custom wedding portraits that she creates! She makes art pieces from one of your wedding day photos that will be treasured forever and would be perfect for any anniversary (particularly your first- traditionally known as the Paper Anniversary)!
Another talented artist, Love Notery does a series of fun interviews with you and your sweetheart and then writes your love story and turns it into a keepsake you can display and treasure! She is a joy to work with and does such an incredible job pulling out the details of your unique story.
If your sweetheart is hard to buy for, sometimes this website can really come in clutch with something unique and out of the box.
Emily is just a joy and I love following along with her life and marriage musings on her blog! She talks about everything from goalsetting to decor to raising kids and I love her heart and relatability.
If you haven't already started before, one of the best things you can do once you're married is start preparing for retirement. Please, please don't wait until you are in your thirties and fourties to start thinking about this! After all, you want to still be adventuring and loving life together once you're old and gray! It's important to consult your financial professional to determine the best company for you, but we have had a great experience having our IRAs and some investments through Betterment.
My favorite dates can easily be traced back to those where deep and meaningful conversation happened. A date we like to repeat every year or so? Going to a cozy coffee shop or a pretty picnic spot and working through the 36 Questions That Lead to Love. Even if you already know what they'll say, the conversation it creates is magical AND I'm always amazed by the subtle (or not so subtle) changes in our answers each time we do it!
If you have no time or no idea how to go about beginning a regular date night, a date subscription box could be a great idea for you! This is also a great option for those couples that want to do date nights, but truly love staying in and being homebodies!