Babies Don’t Fix Broken Marriages

I don’t have any children, so for those that do, feel free to add in your opinions. I normally avoid having opinions on parenting and such; I feel that until I have experienced it I can’t really form a valid opinion. However, I do feel that I can {somewhat} confidently express my opinion that babies don’t fix broken marriages.

It seems like at least once a year I see a young couple (one that I know is having marital problems), “fixes” their issues and then immediately plans to get pregnant (and normally does).

I can perhaps understand the logic there: you have made it through a tough time with your spouse (infidelity, abuse, lying, etc.) and you feel that you have made it to the other side; feeling even closer to your partner than before. What not solidify this happy time and your newly committed marriage with a baby? Babies make everyone happy! {reading this back to myself, it sounds very sarcastic. However, as an editors note, it was not meant that way!}

Maybe I’m a pessimist…but my logic would go a little differently. “We were just at the verge of divorce. Let’s see if we can keep up a healthy marriage for another few years before we add in even more stress to such a fragile foundation”

It saddens me when I see couples “fixing” their bad relationships with a baby…because I’ve seen it fail. A child adds even more stress into a marriage, and if it’s already cracked, it’s just going to crumble under the pressure.

If anyone reading this has had a different experience, then I’m sincerely happy for you. But sadly, I don’t think it’s something that typically works out well for most people.

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“It’s MY wedding day, I’ll do what I want”

Are weddings for the bride and groom…or for the family?

It seems like every time I see somebody on Facebook posting about wedding planning drama, it normally included either the original poster, or another person on the tread, stating “the wedding is about the bride and groom, do what YOU want and forget everyone else’s opinions”.

Whenever I see this, I can’t help but think about how selfish that sounds.

Considering how many people say it, I have a feeling that I am in the minority…but I’ll share my thoughts on it anyway.

First off, I am very much a “people pleaser” so the idea of me asking everyone to eat raw vegan food at my wedding because that is what I like, actually causes me some anxiety. The bride and the groom are just two people, therefore my natural inclination is to cater to the majority and try to make the most people happy….even if it is “my day”. (I would of course advocate staying within your comfort zone. If you and your future spouse completely abstain from alcohol, then have a dry wedding).

Expanding on the whole idea that the bride and groom are just two people in the world of weddings, lets talk about the family.

Yes, this is “your day”. The day you become man and wife.

But it’s also the day that two families are coming together. The day that your parents have been looking forward too for long before you were planning your pretend wedding at 12 years old.

Along with being a people pleaser, I am also very family oriented. I am close with my parents and my siblings, their opinions are important to me. I had all of my siblings and my husband’s siblings in our bridal party (there were so many that we only had one person who wasn’t family) and my step-father officiated the ceremony.

For me, the day would not be as special without their attendance, and more importantly, their excitement/happiness.

What do you think? Should you do what you want on your wedding day and forget everyone else’s opinions? Or should you take into considerations the views of your family and friends?

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Happy Holidays, not Merry Christmas

On Friday I went to the Holiday Party hosted by my work. The Friday before that, Jeremy’s work had his Christmas Party.

If you just read that sentence and thought that both of those parties were the same….keep reading. I have a point.

I work at a Jewish agency.

Our Holiday party consisted of saying the HaMotzi before breaking bread and eating a kosher lunch. The centerpieces were Menorahs and we lit the fourth candle at sundown while reciting the traditional blessing.

I would like to point out here that I am not Jewish. I ate my bread before I knew what a HaMotzi was and I awkwardly stayed silent during the Chanukah blessing (which was recited from memory in Hebrew by my fellow Jewish co-workers)

But I loved feeling like an outsider. Because it highlights what minorities feel all the time living in our Christian based country.

While we don’t have an official religion, Christian holidays are clearly the front runner in American society.

Christmas is everywhere. It’s on TV and the radio. It’s at the mall and decorating the houses in the neighborhoods. Christmas is a federal holiday and most work parties are Christmas parties.

I am by no means saying that we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas or that it isn’t a wonderful holiday.

But take a moment to think about how it feels to be a minority that doesn’t celebrate Christmas. I can tell you from my experience as a non-Jew in a Jewish dominate work culture…it’s not exactly comfortable.

So the next time you want to spread holiday cheer, make the effort to use the word Holiday instead of Christmas. Because it’s not the same thing to everyone. Just that one little change in word can go a long way in making someone feel more included in our world.

Overworked or Working Hard?

Lately I’ve been frustrated with the lack of work/home balance I seem to be seeing everywhere in this American culture.

The idea that you have to work extra hours in order to show that you value your career and want to move up is, to me, incorrect and ridiculous.

I work a 40 hour a week job. I am an hourly employee so I have to make sure I do all my work in those 40 hours. For my supervisors and colleagues who are salaried, there is an expectation that they will work as much as they need to in order to get the job done. They often answer emails on the weekend, do notes at home and attend work events in the evening on top of a full day of work.

To me, that should not be rewarded as having a “good work ethic”. Consequently, those who only work the 40 hours they are paid for should not be penalized and demoted because they aren’t “dedicated to their job”.

Maybe our society should look instead at positions that require so much work and adjust them accordingly. Hire more people to do that job. Adjust the job description.

But that would require that American’s place a value on something other than work.

My husband and I debated this topic last night. He does not completely agree with me…

He feels that working extra shows commitment to the mission/goal. Rather than leaving in the middle of a task because they are done with their shift, people who stay extra care about the final product and are invested in the company/outcome. Those are the people who get promoted.

I, on the other hand, think that people who can complete their work in the time given show time management and responsibility. Those are the people I want to promote. Additionally, if the people that I am supervising have to stay extra to finish their tasks (and they have proven to have good time management and work ethic) then I need to look at myself as a supervisor and adjust the work I am assigning…not blame them for not being “dedicated” enough overwork themselves.

I think that our society has put such a value on work that it has come to a point where other parts of life are less valued and respected.

The idea that I don’t want to stay late to finish my notes does not mean that I don’t love and value my job, I just value my family as well.

As nicely summarized by an article on Thought Catalog: overworking is not success; it is not the same thing as working hard or paying your dues.

Agree? Disagree?

You are the “life” in my “life story”….?

I’ve had this post as a draft for the last few months, not feeling that it was polished enough to post. It’s a sensitive topic that requires precise wording, and I’m not sure if I’ve captured it right (so don’t be too harsh with your feedback!). But in the last few weeks, life seems to be pointing me back to this topic….so I’m giving it another try.

When I first got married, my husband was my life; as is probably true for most newlyweds.

Recently, I’ve been noticing that it seems to not be a newlywed thing, but a woman thing.

A friend of mine was offered a great work opportunity. Upon finding out that it would cut into her scheduled date nights with her boyfriend, she asked him how he felt about her taking the position and missing out on that time together.

I don’t judge her for asking, I did the exact same thing when Jeremy and I first got married (see my pervious post about passing on study abroad opportunities in college)

Now I look back on those times, and on my friends current situation, with frustration. Frustration that women are so relationship focused that our careers come second to men.

Being considerate of others feelings is a wonderful thing. Working on your relationship is a great priority to have.  But at what point does it become a detriment to our own success?

This topic came up with my friend, and then again a few days later when I was meeting some new wives on base.

I was discussing with some other wives the question of if they stay with their spouses until the final good-bye of deployment; when they get on the bus and drive away.

I shared that at my husband’s first deployment I stayed until he left, but at this second, I dropped him off and then went home…because I had to work very early in the morning and he wasn’t going to depart until 2 or 3 in the morning.

A spouse commented that “I should have called into work”

This comment stuck with me, because it so clearly echoed the conversation I had with my friend just days before.

I’m not saying that I don’t treasure those last moments with my husband before he leaves for deployment. There is nothing wrong with trying to rearrange my schedule to be there for him. He would do the same for me; and he has, when he asked for permission to come home from a training mission for the day so he could be at my graduation.

But the idea that I should call into work, that it’s selfish to not sacrifice my career for time with him, chafes me. The idea that I shouldn’t work evenings, because I don’t want to miss out on time with him before he deploys. The idea that my friend should base her decision on taking a new work opportunity on her boyfriends schedule.

The idea that my time and my goals as a woman are less important than my partners.

There was a time in my life when spending time with my husband was the most important thing to me; above my friends, my own hobbies and interest and my job.

Maybe my friend is still at that place. Maybe some women never leave that place (and that works for them). Maybe our culture and expectations of women, work and relationships will never evolve.

But for me, that’s a place that I’ve left behind. My husband and my marriage is still one of the most important things to me, but it’s balance with the other parts of my life that I value; it’s no longer the sole focus of my life.

I heard a quote in a movie trailer recently (I can’t remember the movie now) from the female lead to her male partner: “you are the life in my ‘life story'”

At first, I thought that was romantic (which goes to show how much our culture has impacted my views of women and relationships). But then I realized how messed up that quote really is.

I am the life in my life story: my marriage, my career, my family, my friends

Violence is Never Okay…Or Is It?

This photo has been circulating in my newsfeed for the last few days. 

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Not only do I find it repulsive, in and of itself, the responses that I’ve seen in the comments from my friends and others, is even more disappointing.

I personally believe that physical violence against another person is never okay (unless it is self-defense). Apparently, I am the only one that believes this based on the comments I’ve seen:

“Good for her!”

“Get him, girl!” 

“I would do the same”

“He cheated, he deserves whatever she dishes out”

“Don’t cheat and shit like this wont happen. Atta Girl.”

I find this issue wrong on so many levels.

First, let’s take it back old school; “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Regardless of the fact that someone hurts you on an emotional level, it does not give anyone the right to psychically abuse someone to “get even” or “give them what they deserve”. 

How is not beating someone now “taking the moral high ground” (as I was informed when I stated that the woman’s actions were wrong). Shouldn’t that be a basic human right; to not get assaulted? 

At what point did it become okay for people to take the “law” (I use the word loosely because technically the man didn’t even break any laws) in to their own hands? To be the judge and jury and decide that another person “deserves” (that word pisses me off to an extreme) to be brutally beat with a golf club. 

Second, can we speak about double standards? If this was a man beating his cheating wife, I think people would more likely be outraged then find it comical. 

As another poster commented on the same issue: “interesting to see how many women think domestic violence is funny”

I bet it wouldn’t be so funny if it was the other way around. 

When did being a “strong woman” come to mean hurting men? 

We may not be able to choose what situation another person puts us in, but we do choose how we handle that situation. What does that say about our society that we are celebrating the choice of violence and revenge? 

*getting off my soap box now….*

It’s okay to vacation without your spouse?

I’ve previously mentioned my planned solo trip to NY in September, and my feelings about traveling without my husband.

I also recently started talking with my good friend about making a trip together out of the county, either Europe or Greece.

The same day that we were researching vacation deals, a girl I know posted on FB about being upset that her husband wanted to go on a vacation to Mexico that his buddies invited him on (a dudes only trip). She asked for others opinions; if she has the right to be upset or not.

I was VERY surprised by the comments:

Honestly, he shouldn’t want to go anywhere and have fun without you there.

when you’re single is when you do solo vaca!! married it’s time to do it together

were married I would not want to go experience a beautiful place without him there to share it with. I’d hope he’d feel the same. We got married to share our lives together, it wouldn’t feel right otherwise.

It honestly never occurred to me to NOT go on vacation with my girlfriends and to enjoy that vacation.

Just because I’m married doesn’t mean that everything in my life has to include my husband. That I can’t enjoy anything without him by my side.

Aside from the fact that I think it’s kind of unhealthy to do absolutely everything with your spouse, my husband and I have different interests.

He has 0 interest in going to Europe or Greece. Neither is his idea of a fun vacation.

So my options are to a) deny myself a vacation/experience that I want b) make him go with me and have him be miserable and therefore suck all the of the fun out of the trip or c) go on the vacation/do the activity with someone else

I pick C, every time.

Sometimes I feel like people become so enmeshed in their relationships that they forget that they are their own person too.

I once had a girl tell me that she denied herself drinking Dr. Pepper (which she loves) while her husband was deployed because she didn’t want to enjoy it without him, since it was something he liked too.

That just sounds depressing to me.

I would never want my husband to purposely make himself unhappy; to deny himself something that he enjoys.

Why would I think he would want that for me?

I am my own person. He is his own person. Somethings we enjoy doing together, and I love to have him by my side. Sometimes we do things separately, either because one of us doesn’t want to do the activity, or because one of us has to miss it for other reasons (work, deployment, etc.) In either case, we are happy that the other person is getting to enjoy that experience, regardless of if we are there or not.

It makes me happy when Jeremy is happy, whether I am with him during that happiness or not.

What do you think? Would you take a vacation without your spouse? Would you be upset if he wanted to go on a trip without you?

Getting Married Quickly – not a good idea?

I’ve been seeing this photo a few places online over the last few days; always sparking some kind of debate

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The responses are what you would expect:

Women citing that they got married after (some time less than a year) and they have been married for (10+ years).

The other half of the women saying that they aren’t married yet, and they are waiting 2+ years to tie the knot and/or they waited 2+ years to get married and that as a result their marriage is better/deeper/stronger/etc.

To summarize, everyone thinks that their decision was the right one and the other side was wrong.

Everyone but me.

I got married after knowing my husband for 9 months.

I’m still very happily married (over 5 years)

I DO NOT recommend getting married as quickly as I did.

Let me first make it clear that I don’t regret my choice to marry quickly. I love my husband very much and I am so happy with how my life has turned out.

But I will be the first to say that I did not know Jeremy completely or fully when we got married. After knowing each other for 9 months we had just scratched the surface.

I hadn’t seen him interact with his mother. I hadn’t seen how he would treat a sick animal. I hadn’t seen him sleep deprived or angry.

I only knew part of who he is, and I liked what I had discovered enough to promise my future to him.

I got lucky that the rest of him was just as amazing as the parts that I knew when we said “I do”

Our marriage has taken work, of course, it’s not all luck. But luck certainly payed a big part of it.

I am lucky that he is the kind of man who has infinite patience with his mentally ill mother. I am lucky that he cleans up our puppy’s trow up at 2am without a single complaint. I am lucky that he never yells, insults or curses at me when he is angry, no matter how sleep deprived he is.

I am luck that he is a better man that who I thought he was when we got married.

People are complex. To this day there are still things that I am learning about myself. So while you may be a lucky couple that ends up with 50+ years of happy marriage after getting hitched after 2 months. I think the chances of long term success are much higher if you take the time to truly get to know the person you will be stuck with for the rest of your life.

Marriage is Just the Beginning

Now that I’m in my mid-20’s, and most of my friends are the same age or a few years older, I’ve noticed that some of my single friends seem jealous that I am married.

This is a huge turn around from the first 5 years of my marriage, where all my single friends thought I was crazy and giving up my life to get married so young.

I attribute the shift in attitude to the societal pressure to settle down and get married that most women feel once they hit around 25/26. At that point, they are done with college and likely a few years into their career, which means that the priority should now shift to relationships; finding the right man, settling down and getting ready to have a few kids once they hit 30.

I’ve find that I feel very odd about the jealousy; because they are jealous of my marital status, not my marriage.

As my friends, they of course care that I am happily married, but the jealousy isn’t about my happiness with my husband, it’s about the fact that I have a husband.

They think that I have “won”; I’ve crossed the finish line of life…I am married.

I wish that I could make them see that marriage isn’t the finish line; it’s the start of a whole other race.

Getting married isn’t the destination; it’s just the start of a new adventure.

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My Adventure

“I’m leaving on a jet plane….”

Well, not quite yet; but in September.

I’ve bought my tickets and I will be traveling across the country (literally) to Boston/Connecticut/New York! I’ve never been the East Coast before, the further east I’ve been is Florida.

I had a moment a few months ago, where I realized that my marriage was holding me back from life. Specifically, from traveling and exploring on my own terms.

I remember in college (either right before or right after I got married) my BFF took a spontaneous trip to Ireland over Spring Break and tried very hard to convince me to go with her. I decided not to, not wanting to spend money or be apart from Jeremy.

Now, I wish so badly that I had gone.

I wish that I had studied abroad in college, taken an internship in another state or country, volunteered for Habitat for Humanity; done something other than work, got to class and stay home with Jeremy.

Yes, I was being responsible with my money and working instead of spending it on traveling. But I also let my new marriage hold me back from taking my own adventures; from exploring the world outside of my little family.

I love my husband, and I love being married. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t have my own life; my own adventures.

I don’t regret my choices in the past, because they led me to where I am now, and I am so incredibly happy. But I CAN learn from my past and make changes.

So I’m taking advantage of having a four day weekend for Rash Hashanah, and I’m going to a city I’ve always wanted to visit. I’m meeting up with my BFF from Grad School (who moved back home to CT) and my military spouse BFF who will conveniently visiting her family in NY while I am in town.

I’m taking this trip for me; without my husband.

Jeremy has little interest in NY or any big city, whereas I love touristy and historical stuff.

I LOVE traveling with Jeremy. We’ve made some great memories in our cross country trips together on the military’s time.

But I have interest that Jeremy doesn’t share; and there is nothing wrong with that.

So here is too a my great adventure. See you in September, East Coast!