Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hooray Marriage! The Book Closes on Year 8


As I again sit in a hotel room (for the 3rd year in a row) with no prospect of seeing my wife on our Anniversary, I again turn to my internet family to share and reflect on what she has meant to me over the last eight years. This year is especially poignant for us because we saw friends fall from the ranks of the married. So since I shared all my accumulated knowledge last year, I've only got a story and a recommendation this year. Indulge me if you will.

My Dad's consistent piece of advice when it came to women was "Jon, make sure you find a girl that's in your corner." Early on, I never thought this was exactly Yoda-like wisdom when he would say it, but as I got older, and the relationships became more complex, I quickly realized that my Father was laying on me the type of simple wisdom that one must pay their dues to understand. Having a "girl in your corner" did not mean the most sexually adventurous girl, or the girl who would bark like a dog while hopping on one leg like in Coming to America. It also didn't mean the girl who felt it was her duty to plan my life for me. When I started dating Nkechi Okoro, she had many "friends", and I felt I had no shot as I was an assistant second grade teacher making just enough to still live like a college student with my roomates who were all doing a fifth year because of their ridiculously difficult engineering majors. Nevertheless, we exchanged phone numbers, and soon were involved in a Turnpike Love that gave me the ability to navigate the NJ Turnpike with my eyes closed. One night at the close of one of our marathon phone conversations, I expressed that I wished we could see each other that weekend, knowing that we wouldn't. I was awakened by the phone three hours later

Me: "Hello"
Voice on the other end: "Did you still want to see me?"
Me: "Of course"
Voice on the other end: "Well, come down stairs and open the door"

At the moment I hung up the phone it was clear that this was the type of woman my Dad was talking about. The type of woman my roomates and I had dubbed a "Franchise Player". We were engaged a little over a year later, and August 10, 2002 remains one of the happiest days of my life. I often tell people that I know that I am capable of anything because of who I was able to marry. They usually laugh and think I'm just being charming, but I'm serious every time I say it. So with each passing year, much like an NBA franchise, I try to improve to keep the franchise player happy and avoid a LeBron-like exodus of my Franchise Player.

According to Divorce.com, the #1 reason marriages fail is because of financial problems, and as someone who's spouse makes more than him (sacrelige in some circles), I have to make sure I'm at least doing my part. My suggestion to my peers in the marriage game is this: THE FINANCIAL SUMMIT. Usually there's one party who handles the finances and comes up with the budgets, etc. I submit that the FINANCIAL SUMMIT should absolutely be necessary for couples so that there is equal participation in the financial planning of the house and so that ALL events and expenses are considered. Do we remodel the bathroom or kitchen? Do we go to this wedding or split? Where we going for the holidays? Vacation? Where's Lil Man going to school in the Fall? The longer you stay in the marriage game, the more grown up and important these decisions become, and they should not be left to the person with the perceived financial skillz (even if they do have multiple degrees in economics, finance, etc). So I highly recommend that old head and new couples alike do like the Mrs and I will do Sunday and set an appointment to sit down with notepads, calculators, and pencils and plan out the fiscal year so that you can celebrate those special moments as they should be celebrated.

5 comments:

  1. once again you hit the nail on the nose with your wisdom about marriage especially when it comes to finances. the hubby and I try to educate our married freinds about the same things. congrats on your 8th year anniversary and keep appreciating all that you have! we need more people to be inspiring about marriage and to share their experiences. - Dr. Jill

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interestingly, my husband and I, married nearly 23 years (known each other for more than 30 as I met him my freshman year at Penn...he was a junior!!)....anyway, we have an Annual Meeting each year either Thanksgiving weekend or the weekend after that. We set an agenda, prepare ahead of time, wear our official Annual Meeting footwear (slippers)and go through the agenda which typically consists of:
    1) old business: what did we say we were going to do last year, who was supposed to do it and was it done...(and why not, if not)
    2) new business: vacation planning for the following year, investments (how did we do, what's the strategy going forward, capital outlays expected, insurance/wills (up-to-date?), charitable donations (to whom, how much, what had we done already....)
    3) something like the 10 things we want to do in the next five years, or something corny like that which Jim would rather not do, but I insist
    4) Other....
    Sometimes it's a two day meeting as one of us hadn't prepared properly, or gets bored and gets on Facebook...or...

    Bottom line...we're in it for the long haul and while tht isn't particularly romantic, it's a great tradition.

    Congrats to you Nkechi on eight great years.
    Debby Perelmuter

    p.s. I did get to see your lovely wife on YOUR anniversary and she was wonderful as always!

    ReplyDelete
  3. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  4. 愛,拆開來是心和受兩個字。用心去接受對方的一切,用心去愛對方的所有。......................................................................

    ReplyDelete