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Life

in

Harmony magazine


PROTECTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP HOW TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

THE BIG MMMM! THE F WORD...FAMILY

PLAY TIME!

GUIDANCE


am a college student, I work twenty five hours a week, take a full class load, and have been married for just over a year. My life has been very rewarding thus far, I have a great education, I work hard and I have been blessed with a fantastic relationship with my husband. On one hand, I will admit there have been trials and difficult times; on the other, through those trials we have grown not only as individuals but also as a couple. With the daily grind of school, work, and homework, it’s often difficult to fit the occasional “fun� day in, let alone a shower. Being married is a tough job, one that not only requires you as an individual to work at, but both partners. Life in Harmony Magazine is a resource I want to share with other couples my age. I want this to be a useful tool for couples to help each person realize and understand not only more about his or herself as an individual, but also, more about how to be a strong, fun, responsible, and romantic, couple. My hope is that this magazine will provide important information that you as a reader, can use to strengthen your relationship with your spouse. It is my vision to give you the information needed to create that delicate balance necessary for college, marriage, in-laws, sex, finances and every other aspect of life to be in harmony with each other and the world you live in.


ith school, work, homework, kids, and a busy social schedule, you may not feel like you have time, money or energy to take care of all the important pieces of your daily life. Truth be told, sometimes you may not even have the time to shower because you are so busy. If you stop and think for a moment about your daily routine, you would be surprised to realize how much you can accomplish in one day. All it takes is a bit of organizing and prioritizing of your time to make sure that the most important tasks are accomplished first and in a timely manner. As I think of my daily routine, I find that it often changes depending on the day. However, there are similarities that happen every day. For example, I have to eat; however, I share the problem of not eating at a regular time on a regular basis, like countless college students across the country and world. Whenever we have a few minutes to sit down we scarf down some type of food (muffin, soggy sandwich, cookie, etc) that we buy from the local coffee shop or the school cafeteria. Not to mention we are constantly hyped up on coffee, soda or energy drinks! Besides that point, we all have to eat but we never seem to eat the right things and get the most out of our food. From my personal experience, I have found that my number one staple food that I go to is spaghetti. It costs all of $5 to get a jar of pasta sauce and a box of spaghetti. But it is one of the

easiest types of foods to make and it only takes you standing over the stove for 8 – 10 minutes cooking the pasta and warming the sauce. Another good part about spaghetti is you can add anything to it, meat, veggies, etc. While I would not recommend eating this everyday it is something that fills you up, is relatively inexpensive, tastes good and gives you energy because of the carbohydrates. Some of the other staple foods that college students often eat include: macaroni and cheese, frozen pizzas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cereal and of course the all time favorite, ramen noodles. Now, these foods might be ok if you truly are on a tight budget. But I am assuming that you and your spouse are both working at least parttime jobs, so you should be able to dress these staple foods up with some richer ingredients. For example, you could probably afford to get


a pound of ground beef and make your own meatballs to put into your spaghetti. Or you could easily buy a head of romaine lettuce to make a tasty salad with croutons, tomatoes, and your favorite salad dressing as a side to your macaroni and cheese dish. Another similarity in my routine is the fact that I try to squeeze in at least an hour of exercise three days a week. Sometimes this can be especially difficult when you think you could be spending that one extra hour studying for an exam or writing a paper that’s due tomorrow. Make no mistake though, exercise is important. Not just for your body but also for your mind. It gives you great energy to make it through the rest of your day and it makes you feel good about not sitting on your butt in front of a computer screen. At first, your muscles will scream and ache and you’ll probably have the urge to fall asleep in class, but if you can devote an hour to exercise, your body and mind will thank you in the long run. Along with being a great stress reliever, exercise also improves your mood, helps you manage your weight, boosts your energy, helps you get better sleep (ideally not during class), and fights diseases like heart disease. Of course, there is homework. On average students are expected to spend probably somewhere between two to three hours outside of class on homework per hour in class. So if you are taking a four credit class, you will most likely be spending around 12 hours doing homework outside of class per week.

Now, think about the number of four credit classes you are taking this semester and calculate the number of hours you are spending on homework. Homework takes up a large portion of your time. If you are taking a full load (12 to 16 credits) of classes you may be spending anywhere between 36 and 48 hours per week on homework. Learning how to prioritize time and effort will make those 36 to 48 hours of homework easier, simpler and quicker to complete allowing you more time to spend with your spouse, family, friends and other work you might have.


Step 1: Decide what time of day you are most productive This is very important because it will allow you to understand what the best way is for you to work and complete your tasks at hand. By knowing you work better at night you can spend your day attending class, working, getting your kids off to where they need to be, running errands, etc. The most important part about knowing that you work better in the evening is to make sure that you actually use your time wisely and make sure that you have enough time to complete your tasks. If you work better during the day, it is also important to make sure that you have enough time to complete your tasks. Sometimes, with 9-5 work schedules and classes in between students may not get enough time to finish work properly. However, if you work a night job or just know that you are more productive during the day, it is essential to use your time wisely. In either situation, time is of the essence. Some other aspects that are also very important to remember when working on homework are to do the most difficult things first, take breaks, rid your surroundings of distractions, eat, and sleep. Step 2: Do the most difficult assignments first When you have a fresh mind, you will do better with difficult tasks. Instead of leaving those until the end, it is better to get them out of the way. By finishing difficult tasks first, you will feel better about what you have to work on next. It is like a scale, it gets easier and simpler with each task you complete. Plus, if you leave the most difficult until the end, you will be exhausted before you even reach that particular task. Step 3: Take breaks It is important to take breaks because it will give your mind time to digest and recharge for the next task or assignment. Depending on what you may be working on, the length of your break may vary. If you are

working on a difficult task, taking a 20 minute break every hour might be a good idea. If you are working on a less arduous assignment, you may only need a five or ten minute break. Whatever the difficulty of the assignment, make sure to take proper breaks to let your mind recharge and refresh. Step 4: Get rid of distractions Everyone works in a different way. I constantly see other students who can sit down and write a paper and have their iPod plugged in and blaring. I cannot work that way, I have to be in a quiet environment to concentrate. This relates to step one in finding out what the best way is for you to work and concentrate. If you work better with noise in the background you might not have to complete this step. However, if you need quiet, you may have a more difficult time finding the time when you can have a quiet atmosphere to work in. If you have children you may have to wait until they are in bed before you can work on your assignment(s). Or you may have to ask friends who have come to visit to leave because you need to work. Every situation is different, so decide carefully how to respond to and work around distractions. Step 5: Work in a space that is convenient for you If you have an extra room or area that you use as an “office� it might be best to use that space. All of the important information you need could be located in that area. However, if you do not have the luxury of that designated space in your house or apartment, try to find another suitable alternative. It might be necessary to take over the living room area or the kitchen table for a few hours to spread out your papers and finish your work. However, for many college students, having internet and television can also be a luxury. So if you are like me and you do not have either, you might have to develop a different way of working. Computer labs are open and available on campuses, it is a matter of finding which one(s) work best for


you. There may be designated “quiet” labs where there is no talking, no music, etc. And then there are regular labs. These are usually pretty quiet as well as students try to be considerate of others as they work. Understand what works best for you and try to create an environment that will allow you to work the best way possible so you can be productive. Step 6: Eat Of course, this may seem like a no brainer, but it is vitally important to eat. If it is at all possible make it a good meal because this will help your mind and body concentrate. Like I previously said, spaghetti is pretty simple, tastes good and gives you good energy. You can multi task by eating while taking a break so you can get back to your work in a timely manner. It is also important to focus on your food when you are eating. If you eat and work at the same time, it’s almost like a mechanical process. You are not focusing on your intake which means that you are probably going to eat much more than you need to, which also means you will get sleepy and in the long run could gain weight. So, make it a good nutritious meal, not fast food even though sometimes that is easier. A nutritious meal will give you the energy you need to keep your brain sharp, your belly full and your body happy.

Step 7: Sleep Another no brainer, but this often gets put on the backburner when it comes to homework. Sometimes there are critical choices to make, whether or not to go out with friends for a few hours or spend those few hours working on your homework which you will finish sooner which in turn, will give you a few extra hours of sleep. Sleep is obviously important for your body to function correctly, so do not fool around with the number of hours of sleep you get. Combining exercising, eating and sleeping, your body will need less hours of sleep and that will give you more time for extracurricular activities. Know how your body will react if you only get five hours of sleep instead of seven or eight. If you absolutely cannot get caught up on sleep throughout the week, make sure to take the time during the weekend to catch up. As you implement these tips for time management I hope you will also think of how getting your work and assignments completed in a timely fashion will allow you more time to do other more important things like spend time with your spouse, family, and friends.

Hopefully these tips can help you manage and prioritize your assignments, time, and work. Check out some of these websites that give other important tips and advice about managing your time and work. The Essential Time Management Tools For College Students http://www.essortment.com/family/ essentialtimem_sjux.htm Time Management For College Students http://www.timethoughts.com/timemanagement/time-managementcollege-students.htm Married with Homework: Dealing with Education and Adult Life http://www.fastweb.com/student-life/ articles/707-married-with-homework-dealing-with-education-adult-life 8 Time Management Skills for College Students http://collegelife.about.com/od/ academiclife/a/timemanagement.htm


Contents oney, it’s something so many of us never seem to have enough of and we are always working towards getting more. We can’t seem to live without it, yet there are millions around the world who live in relative poverty everyday. With the economy in the current down turn, many people are realizing that their spending habits need to change drastically. However, having a full-time job allows for much more spending than what a college student may be able to afford on a part-time budget. While some students are able to attend college and not work, it seems surreal to college students who are married and have another person or a family to take care of. How do students make sure to have enough money

to support their families? Well, being that there may be two people instead of one working makes an enormous difference in the income. You could say that combining both of those nearly part-time jobs creates almost a full-time job which means a larger paycheck. The difficult part is that you have two or more people living off of one combined income. This is where budgeting skills comes into play. For college students who have a family to support, it may be one of the best skills to learn at an early age. Budgeting should become part of your routine, because the more you get into the habit of budgeting and knowing your money, the better off you and your family will be with financial awareness and stability.


just going to the grocery store, there’s always stuff there that’s like, oh that stuff at the bakery looks really good today.” The couple adds that they try to be responsible with the money they have and try to save as much as possible. Another student, Ann McDaniel*, 28, and her husband, Rick*, 33, who have been married for four months, have a monthly budget. Ann will graduate in December and currently works part-time at a local charter school. Her husband, Rick, who is not a student, works full-time as the vice president of the same local charter school. When it comes to budgeting finances, the couple has a monthly budget. Ann says, “That gets back to the fact that we want to own a house so we’re really careful about making sure that we’re saving money and also we don’t make a lot of money. So we don’t spend a lot of money, I think compared to most people that we don’t have a ton of clothes or like big bar bills,” she jokes, “We don’t eat out a lot. But we do, well Rick’s a gear junkie so we have really nice skis and stuff like that. But for the most part we live a real simple life.” She adds, “We have our little excel spreadsheet and we sit down once a month and go over it.” The couple also shares the responsibility with their bills and financing. Ann jokes, that her and her husband used to do the budgeting together but it did not work as well as they hoped. She adds, “So now we have it pretty well divvied up. There are certain bills that he does and certain bills that I do. We often say that we need to look at the budget and Rick will look at it, while I am doing something else and then I’ll look at it and we’ll check and balance with each other. We don’t try to sit down and do it together anymore we just like to do it on our own time

and touch base.” Ann and Rick have not only short term financial goals but also long term goals. “We have a 5 year, a 10 year and a 15 year plan,” Ann explains, “In 5 years we want to have no credit card debt. By next summer we do not want to be using our credit cards so we’re not adding to our credit card debt. We want to be able to support kids and eventually own a house in 10 years.” Kaitie and Ryan Martinez, 20 and 22, who have been married for eight months, mainly live off of student loans at this point. Ryan explains, “We make sure that we have money for the bills first and then after that it’s like…,” Kaitie chimes in, “a free for all.” She laughs, “We should probably come up with a monthly budget I just don’t feel like we’re disciplined enough to follow it.” Kaitie explains, “We have a little bit of income coming in, but we are mainly living off of student loans. So…if I were to suggest something to a new married couple, it would be not to spend your money like you used to because it’s like you have half the money that you used to have. For example, lets say you get a paycheck for $300 really it’s like you only have $150 because you’re splitting it between your needs and the other persons needs.” She jokes, “I think that was something difficult for me to understand. When I was single I get a check and it was like I could do whatever I want with it. But now that I’m married it is not really my money to do that with. Although, some couples do separate their money.” Ryan comments, “I’d also look into all the things that are offered for married couples, like food stamps and things for low income families.” When it comes to the responsibility for their finances Ryan laughs and

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Depending on your relationship status, there may be two of you working part-time jobs, one of you working a full-time job and the other a parttime, or you both may be working full-time jobs and only going to school part-time. Either way, it is important to know what is right for you and your spouse and family. A current college student, Courtney Taylor, 21, and her fiance’ Matt Phelps, 21, share the responsibility when it comes to dealing with the monthly bills and expenses. “We pretty well share it,” she says cracking a smile. Matt chimes in, “She usually pays more of the bills because my handwriting sucks.” While Taylor does not currently have a job because she is completing her English-Communication degree, Phelps has a full time job as an Application Developer and is completing his degree in Computer Science. Phelps adds, “Basically I design the front end interfaces to the website to interface with the oracle systems that we have.” This job allows for the necessary income for Taylor and Phelps to live in Durango while they complete their degrees, which they will receive in December. Taylor adds, “It really irritates me that I have to rely on Matt even though it doesn’t bother him that we’re using the money that he makes.” Taylor who has always been more of an independent person says it bothers her to have to rely on Phelps because she does not have a job. Some of the couples financial goals include buying a 4 wheel drive vehicle and having two children. Phelps jokes, “Having two children is a financial goal,” he adds “also to get a house in the future.” Taylor explains, smiling, “Yeah, we really try to not impulse buy,” she says chuckling. “But even


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says, “Her,” as he points to Kaitie comfortably sitting on the couch next to him. Kaitie adds, “Last night I made him pay the bills, not made him, asked him to pay the bills. But yeah I pretty much handle the finances. And I let him know everything, I let him know how much money we have and stuff like that but I handle the finances.” During college and a few years after graduating is a very important time for students as we try to make our place in this world. And one way to create a place in this world is through our financial security and stability. With the economy in the horrible shape that it is currently in, there should be an even larger want to be financially frugal. When I think of these student’s realities, including my own, I think about a financial conference I attended given by Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey has written numerous books including, Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover. After attending the event, I was amazed to realize how so much of what can give you stability later in life strongly depends on what you are able to do between your teenage years to about the age of 30. This seems to be the target age that is very important for developing good money habits and for saving. In a chapter of Ramsey’s book, Financial Peace, he talks about how men and women look at money in different ways. He says, “When it comes to money men tend to take more risks and don’t save for emergencies. Men use money as a scorecard and can struggle with self-esteem when there are financial problems. Women tend to see money more as a security issue so they will gravitate toward the rainy-day fund. Because of their need for security, ladies can have a level of fear when there are financial problems. Men and

women are different in how they view money, and it is largely because they process problems and opportunities from different vantage points (197).” Ramsey goes on to describe how to communicate effectively when it comes to finances and also about holding a “budget committee meeting” that will allow for both you and your spouse to discuss your budget and finances. Ramsey’s motto is “If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” This motto demonstrates that if you live like no one else when you’re younger, make the necessary sacrifices, and work hard, you’ll have money to travel, be debt free, and retire comfortably later in life. Many college couples struggle with the issue of having to repay their student loans. A very key point here is not to take out more in a loan than what you need. If you only need a $1,500 loan only take that much not the entire $3,000 that is offered to you. Instead of one person with loans, it becomes more complicated with two. While it is easy to accumulate loans throughout school, the more important part is finding a job that will have a good enough salary to allow you and your spouse to repay those student loans. Some of Kaitie and Ryan Martinez’s financial goals include, getting out of debt, making sure they are able to have a comfortable life, as well as paying off their student loans after they graduate. Kaitie suspects that she will have nearly $20,000 in student loans by the time she finishes school. However, Ryan has the Native American Tuition waiver that Fort Lewis College offers and has less loans to take out. As both Kaitie and Ryan work towards completing their degrees they are also striving for financial security and stability, as well as students can.

Repayment plans are a very important part of student loans. On average, college students are required to begin repaying their student loans six months after they graduate. The standard repayment plan is for 10 years. There are many different types of repayment plans and it is possible to extend your repayment plan. However, this is not entirely beneficial. Lets take an example, that if you have $20,000 in loans to repay and you do it in the standard 10 years you will have a higher monthly payment but will pay less in interest than if you extended your repayment. If you take that same $20,000 and repay it in 20 years, you will have a smaller monthly payment but you will have paid twice as much in interest. There is important information about student loans and repayment plans in the sidebar. This information was taken from the FinAid The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid website. If you would like more information check out this website http:// w w w.finaid.org / loans/repayment. phtml which will help you understand more about what type of loans you have and how you can repay them. As part of my hope that this magazine be used as a resource, I have also created a budget sheet that you and your spouse can fill out. Hopefully it will give you a sense of what your monthly or yearly budget may be and how the two of you can work together to better understand your finances. Try to be smart with your money and be strong savers so that you can be in a great financial place in the future. “If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” - Dave Ramsey *Names have been changed for identity purposes


Housing Mortgage / Rent Home owners / renters insurance Credit cards Credit card #1 Credit card #2 Installment debt Loan #1 Loan #2 Loan #3 Transportation Car payment #1 Car payment #2 Car insurance Gas Maintenance / repairs Utilities Cell Phone Internet Cable / Satellite Electric Gas / Propane Water Garbage Savings Retirement Emergency fund Vacation fund Food and Household Groceries Clothing Baby Supplies Medical / Well-being Health insurance Dental insurance Life insurance Entertainment Dine Out

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Simple Budget Worksheet from Cool To Be Frugal Website http://cooltobefrugal.com/simple-budget-worksheet/

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Play Time x S ex, S e S e r ex & Mo


tant because you and your spouse realize that it is the two of you. You both make the commitment to be together and be faithful to one another. Without the commitment of marriage, it is easy to have sex with someone and then leave without a second thought. Sex is no longer just a one night stand, it is a relationship that takes time and energy on the part of both people involved. If there are issues with your sexual relationship between you and your spouse you have to work together to fix the issues. Because of the commitment, you and your spouse share the difficult and good times. Every couple has a different sexual compatibility and it’s important to notice how you and your spouse are not compatible and how you can put some time and effort focusing on that incompatibility to make it better. Brotherson explains, “Our job within marriage is to get educated, be willing and able to discuss sexual issues and preferences, and to make some potential challenging personal adjustments to diminish the sexual incompatibilities often found between a husband and wife. By accepting the fact that some sexual incompatibility may be inevitable in marriage, we can shift our energies from wallowing in it to proactively improving the situation.” I think one of the most important pieces of having a healthy sexual relationship also comes from communication with your spouse. It is obvious that there are incompatibilities, but the only way you can change those is to first of all talk about what the issue(s) may be and second to discuss what changes you and your spouse can

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ex can be a source of joy or a source of destruction in a relationship. I venture to say that it could be the most pivotal part of a relationship. I think there may be very few couples that actually completely agree on the amount, time and place they should have sex. Some newly wed couples experience sexual bliss while others may not come remotely close to that. Sex is a vital part of every marriage and for those who are married and reading this, you know that when it’s good, it’s great and when it’s bad, it’s horrible. It is very important to find that happy medium that works for you and your spouse. First of all, a very important point to make is that men and women have different sex drives. While you may be ok with having sex three times a week that may be unrealistic for your spouse. Your sexual relationship is like a balancing scale. You have to find the balance that will allow both you and your spouse to share, enjoy, and cherish the experience. Laura Brotherson, the author of “And They Were Not Ashamed - Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment” says in an article, “Sexual compatibility is a learned behavior, it’s something that comes with time, effort and lots of practice within the unique relationship of marriage. It’s not something you can “test” for by taking someone for a trial run. Furthermore, a sexual relationship outside of marriage is not an accurate indicator of what the sexual relationship will be within the context of marriage anyway.” The commitment of marriage is impor-


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make either individually or together. One of the major issues that females, myself included struggle with is being tired. If you are a college student, between classes, work and homework, there is not a lot of time left in the day to actually have sex. If there is a little time left in the day, you probably want to go to bed early to catch up on sleep if you can, instead of having sex. However, it is important to remember that you are not the only person in the relationship and it’s important for you to think of your spouses’ needs in addition to your own. Kaitie and Ryan Martinez, 20 and 22, joke that right now they are only having sex once a week. Kaitie says, “We used to be crazy kids, but it’s because of school I honestly think when you come home and you’re so tired you don’t want to do it.” They both feel that they need to work on their sex life. Ryan comments, “We need to take more time to make it special.” Communicate what you need to your spouse and let your spouse do the same. This can heighten each others awareness of one another’s needs and opens up the line of communication. Remember that your husband or wife is also your friend. It is important to make sure that both of those relationships, spouse and friend, are equally healthy and cared for. Kevin and Lori Thill, who have been

married nearly 30 years, say, “[Our sexual relationship] has been kind of up and down depending on the season of life we’re in. Of course right after we got married it was great. Then we had kids and were really tired and busy and it was less often, we had to plan it more. After the kids were older it got better again.” They have helped keep the fire alive in their marriage by still making the effort to look good for each other. They try not to take each other for granted and tell each other so. Kevin says, “She tells me I’m a good dad.” Lori adds, “Out of the blue for no reason he’ll kiss me or hug me, he says just because he loves me.” Another couple, Paul and Helen Fisher*, who have been married for 26 years, say, “The attraction for each other has never died although there have been brief periods where it has lessened, then intensified.” Throughout their years of marriage their relationship has changed, Paul explains, “[It has changed] From intense, spontaneous physical passion to a relaxed yet still intense physical and emotional appreciation for each other.” He adds that his wife makes him feel good because she continually expresses her love for him verbally. I think it is important for every couple to have a

mentor couple, one that is older and wiser and has been married for a long period of time. They will be able to give good advice not only about sex but all other aspects of life. For a young, married college couple, it is a bit more difficult because there are a lot of expectations and wants especially at the beginning of a marriage. Men want sex. For women sex is often put on the back burner. Often times, women are more concerned about the household duties like cleaning, doing the dishes, making dinner, doing laundry, etc., all of which are tasks traditionally completed by women. The point here, men - do not expect sex if there are dishes in the sink, kids to feed, homework to do, etc. Help your wife by helping her with the daily chores. If you do that, there is much more of a possibility for the two of you to spend good quality time together if all those things are finished and off of her mind. Women - help your man out by putting down your homework and initiating sex every once in a while. This will help him know that you think about him as the sexy stud muffin he is. Men are much more physical and visual when it comes to sex. Guys like to see their wife naked or in sexy lingerie. Men have a pretty basic instinct when it comes to sex. Women on the other hand are more emotional and physical. Women want to feel their husband’s

1. Cook dinner 2. Dress up or change your everyday look 3. Do kind gestures (Dishes, Cleaning, Things that help free up your wife’s time) 4. Sincerely listen 5. Know and consider an appropriate time to ask for sex (when it is not stressful)


your sexual relationship is also like a strategic game and it is important to look at it that way. If you compare your sexual relationship to this strategic game, it can help you plan and decide more important aspects in the game and in your relationship. For example, you would not just move your queen chess piece without looking around the entire board and making sure there is nothing harmful. You look carefully and consider all possible moves that can either help or hinder your choice to move the queen. Just like in your relationship, you should consider all of your moves and how they may affect your overall relationship. Sex is an important part to every relationship. Communicate to your spouse about what you like and need. Let him or her also communicate their wants or needs. This will give you both the advantage of knowing what works best. Find that happy medium and make each other happy. After all the king and queen are the most important pieces of the game.

*Names have been changed for identity purposes

1. Put down the homework 2. Build up to the moment and be genuinely interested in him 3. Be sexy 4. React in a physical manner that best describes your intentions 5. Take charge occasionally and initiate sex

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touch and see that he is investing some time and effort to arouse her. Women often need more arousal than men do. Communicate what works for the both of you so that each of you knows what can stimulate the other. Make Your Move Count I would compare sex to the game of chess. Chess is a strategic game that requires a large amount of focus, time and effort like sex. It is important first of all to know who your opponent is and to know how to play the game. Know your spouse and what makes them tick. If you go in without knowing this, you will lose or be less successful in building your relationship. It takes time and practice to understand the game and how each move will affect your strategy. Take the time to learn about the game and your spouse and how you can make your moves count. The game of Chess depends on how you move your pieces. You have to know what each piece does and how it will affect the entire game as it is moved across the board. Just like with sex, you have to know how your moves will affect the entire effort you put into sex. If you know the exact outcome of a move, it may give you an advantage or disadvantage. If your opponent or spouse knows that you always make that move, maybe it would be a good idea to try something new. Either way each move is important. Building on


You are invited to compare your views of yourself with your fiancee’s view of you. This exercise emphasizes the fact that the image we have to ourselves is not necessarily the image that even those near and dear to us have.

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calm assertive reserved skeptical extroverted self-questioning procrastinating spendthrift happy-go-lucky realist detached social serious relaxed critical liberal uncommunicative self-sufficient open organized practical cautious

excitable passive affectionate trusting introverted confident compulsive tightwad careful planner optimist sympathetic private whimsical intense permissive conservative communicative reliant reticent disorganized dreamer bold

calm assertive reserved skeptical extroverted self-questioning procrastinating spendthrift happy-go-lucky realist detached social serious relaxed critical liberal uncommunicative self-sufficient open organized practical cautious

Mark list A about yourself by checking one, and only one, of the five lines between each set of words above. (Each of the lines is keyed to one of the word’s above: very, somewhat, neutral, etc.) Check one line you feel most nearly describes your personality, e.g., in the first set of words it might be “very excitable” or “somewhat calm.” Then proceed to the next set of words.

excitable passive affectionate trusting introverted confident compulsive tightwad careful planner optimist sympathetic private whimsical intense permissive conservative communicative reliant reticent disorganized dreamer bold

Next, mark list B about your fiancee by checking the line that most nearly describes our partner’s personality traits to each set of words. Compare your sheet with your partner’s by holding them side-by-side. First compare A and D, then compare B and C. Discuss the differenes in your perceptions of each other.


C on t e n t s What I appreciate about you most is: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

A recent example:


Contents

18

he line of communication in a relationship is as vital as a heartbeat is to life. The topic does not matter so much as the fact that you communicate with each other. Something I took from my marriage preparation class was that now when a couple is newly wed, the communication is not such a big deal. But it is later and throughout life that communication becomes much more important. One of the lead couples told our group that when you and your spouse are 80 years old, you are going to want to be able to have a conversation with each other. That communication is going to be the most important aspect of your life. You have to have a good relationship with your spouse if you want to have good communication as well. Sure, it takes practice, along with everything else in a relationship. Just like in sex there are incompatibilities in communication as well. A wife is sensitive and has an intuitive awareness. A husband is also sensitive but he has a much stronger outlook and is typically less emotional than a wife can be. These are not bad qualities or traits, they are different for each person and it is important to find how to make them work the best for you and your spouse in your relationship. A major part of understanding how to communicate better is to listen to one another. You both have needs and wants and it is very important for you and your spouse to know what they are. For Jennifer and Ross Martin, 28 and 26, it has been a work in progress with communication. Jennifer jokes, “He comes from a family of three boys and their communication is not the best, therefore I remind him to keep tell-

ing me things, he has gotten so much better!” She adds, “I come from a family with five girls who are used to telling each other everything, it’s taking some getting used to for both of us.” Kevin and Lori Thill, who have been married for nearly 30 years feel that communication, friendship and humor are three strengths within their marriage. Lori comments, “We talk a lot. When either of us has an idea we talk about it. We do argue sometimes but more of discussion type arguments or debates.” They resolve any conflicts between the two of them through equally talking and listening to each other. It is important also to be able to discuss things rationally, and not emotionally. It is important to be influenced by facts and not by feelings. If a discussion arises that may turn into a conflict, it may be a good idea to walk away until you and your spouse have clear heads and can speak rationally to each other. Paul Fisher,* who has been married for 26 years, suggests, “Don’t take each other so seriously. Make every effort to avoid damaging statements that really have nothing to do with the issue at hand.” As conflicts arise it is also important to discuss the deeper issues engrained within the argument. Keeping those issues and feelings bottled up will do nothing but hurt you and your spouse in the long run. It can cause resentment and can build walls between you and your husband or wife. When it comes to conflicts, it is important to know how each of you respond to con-


help your spouse significantly. Be clear about what you are thinking as well as putting that clarity into your words. Being specific - this goes hand in hand with clarity. Being specific you are about your wants and needs results in a higher chance the point will get across to your spouse. For example, if you say to your husband I want to go somewhere nice for dinner, he might not take you to the steak house you were thinking of. Instead, you might say, I want to go to such and such restaurant where we can share a bottle of wine, have a good dinner and try a new dessert. The more specific you are the less room there is for miscommunication. And finally, be honest with yourself and your spouse. It is important to realize how you think and act. When you understand why and how you do the things that you do, it will help you better understand yourself and others. So be honest with yourself and think about how you can be honest to your spouse, not just in words but also with your actions. Be smart about how you communicate. You and your spouse will develop your own way of communicating throughout your entire marriage. The most important part is to keep the communication line open. Be willing to listen and share everything with your spouse. Be open, fun, clear, specific, and honest about yourself and your relationship and do not bottle up your feelings. Do well at communicating and you will have a rewarding relationship that you and your spouse can enjoy. *Names have been changed for identity purposes

C on t e n t s

flict. For example, if you know that your wife needs time to process and think, it will be beneficial to allow that to happen. Same advice applies if you know your husband will react a certain way. Know how each of you argue and how you typically respond to any conflict. By understanding each other’s way of responding, you will both then be able to work together to solve the conflict rather than start another one between the two of you. Plus, we all deal with people differently, but it is important for you to pay a lot of attention to how your spouse will react to conflict. You will be spending the most time with you spouse throughout your life, so why not know and prepare for those reactions? Ann McDaniel, 28, jokes, “We don’t communicate in similar styles. I tend to need to walk away until it’s not an emotional thing. It’s funny whenever we have to talk about something that’s really emotional, I always say something offensive and I don’t mean it. I have to walk away until I can be totally rational about it and turn a little filter on.” She explains, “Rick tends to be very rational about things. He has gone through so many degrees in education and he’s done so much work on communication. When we get to that point, he kind of goes into his communicator mode, which he’s very good at.” When it comes to communication it is important to be clear, specific and honest with yourself and your spouse. Clarity goes a long way. If you are clear about what you want or need and communicate that, it will

Effective Communication •

Listen more than you speak

Speak in person (not over the phone)

Chose the right time and place to talk

Be interested in the situation at hand

Offer advice when necessary

Talk to each other often, about anything and everything, this will increase your communication and listening skills


This will be the second Thanksgiving my husband and I have spent together. Last year we spent Thanksgiving with my husband, Justin’s family. This year we are splitting the time between both of our families. It’s the first of two of my Thanksgiving dinners with our families. It’s Saturday before Thanksgiving and my mother-in-law has an enormous feast cooking. With plenty of stuffing, a mountain of mashed potatoes, and a boat of gravy, it seems like there is enough food to feed an army. The aroma coming from the golden brown turkey in the oven is permeating the house truly making it smell like Thanksgiving. I expect a similar array of food for the Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I love cooking and plan to help out in the kitchen. Peeling potatoes, stirring the gravy, decorating side plates and other random things always help the cook. With 12 family members to cook for, I find that extra hands are good to have. So I periodically check in with my mother-in-law and ask if there is anything I can do. Last year I ironed the table cloths and napkins, this year was no different. Maybe it will become a tradition for me to do the ironing (which I am fine with). With the classic country station on in the background while I iron, I find myself thinking about what future thanksgivings will be like. At my parents house, I plan to do a lot of cooking. I have a new recipe for the turkey to try so I’m excited for that. I enjoy cooking and it’s especially exciting being able to try my hand at cooking a Thanksgiving meal, or at least part of the meal, this year. Of course my parents also enjoy this idea! We’ve always had a big crowd for Thanksgiving dinners, with other family members joining us but this year we have a small group, my parents, sister, myself and my husband. It will be a nice intimate and relaxing Thanksgiving that

I am sure we will all enjoy. Sometimes families and siblings find it difficult to share the time between families. I know from experience, that there is always at least one person who gets angry or frustrated. You and your spouse have to decide together what will work best for you both and it is important for you to communicate that to both sides of your families. The holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas always seem to be a difficult time to split time between families. While my husband and I are lucky enough to get a bit of a longer break, it still seems difficult to be able to see all the people and actually spend quality time with them during the amount of time we are given for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. I can only imagine what it will be like when we’re out of college and in the working world with less time for holidays. With parents, siblings, and friends, it can be tough


to try and see the people that matter. It is also a very sentimental and emotional time of year for many people and it is important to be extra careful not to offend anyone. It is especially difficult trying to make sure that each family member understands that you and your spouse are trying to make everyone happy and give everyone an equal share of time. For those of you who are newly weds, it may be very difficult at first, but something that might make it easier is to switch holidays on and off with each family. For example, my husband’s family got the actual Thanksgiving holiday day last year and my parents got Christmas day. This year we switched, my parents get Thanksgiving day and my husband’s family will get Christmas day. It may take a few years, I know I am still working on getting it right, but once you do, it should help make you, your spouse and your families happy. Jennifer and Ross Martin, 28 and 26, live very close to their families and have been able to split their time during the holidays relatively easily. Jennifer explains, “We are very lucky and live about five minutes away from each family. We spend half the day with one set of in-laws, then the rest of the day with the other set.” Others of us may not have the convenience of living five minutes away from our families; therefore, more planning and arranging has to go into the time, activities and events that take place with each family. Another example is Kevin and Lori Thill, who have been married for nearly 30 years. Kevin comments, “Our families live pretty far apart. We spend time with the family that is closest, Lori’s mom and stepdad when we are at home. We usually have to plan a special trip to visit the others.” While you are still a couple and there are no children involved, it is easier. But when children come along and as you grow together as a couple, it is important to make your own traditions. When children arrive, they will make it more difficult to travel so enjoy the traveling you can do now. Hopefully in the future,

families, siblings, and friends will be eager to return the favor of traveling to see you during the holidays. Whether it is five minutes, five hours or even five days away from family, coordinating with family is essential when it comes to the holidays and other big events. No one wants to be left out and everyone wants to see you, your spouse, and children if you have any. While it may be hectic and chaotic, I think everyone appreciates the time and effort that you and your spouse put into making the holidays a fun and joyous time for not only them but also for you two. Try to be flexible so that everyone can enjoy fun family time together.


f you ask any parent and he or she will tell you that children are a blessing, hard work but a blessing. While many college students either already have children or are moving toward that avenue in life, it is important to realize the work that goes into raising children. Every couple that I have interviewed wants to have children relatively soon. Kaitie and Ryan Martinez, 20 and 22, are expecting their first baby in June of 2011. Ann and Rick McDaniel*, 28 and 33, want to begin trying for a baby during the summer months. And Courtney Taylor, 21, and her fiance Matt Phelps, 21, want to have children in the future. Taylor and Phelps plan to start trying for children when they both near 25 or 26 years old. Unfortunately, Taylor has a condition that causes hormonal issues that can make it difficult to conceive. The condition is called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. She explains, “Typically there’s one egg that is produced in the uterus, and you flush that egg each month. But mine, it’s like it makes a bunch of partial eggs but they never flush and they never become fertile because they’re just partial. Then they all sort of flush at the same time. So without hormones I could go six months without a period and then be on my period for like three months straight.” Taylor found out that she had this condition when she was 18 years old. She adds, “It’s

very trying on a number of levels because when we start trying to have children I am going to have to be off the birth control and then my hormones make me difficult.” Both Taylor and Phelps look forward to the day that they will be able to have children. However, they plan to complete their degrees, have a home, and Taylor plans on finding a job before they begin their quest for a family.


Ann and Rick McDaniel* want to have two children and hope to start trying in the summertime. Ann laughs, “I come from a remarkably fertile family so I can’t imagine it’s going to be much of a problem.” She adds, “Rick is very into kids. He loves kids and he really sees that as kind of the purpose for everything we do, to support kids and that’s why he’s in education. I used to not really want kids because they’re a lot of responsibility and I wanted to travel. Then I got this dog and I love it so much and taking it for a walk, feeding it, and bathing it, the responsibility is not a bad thing. I didn’t know that before. And at that point my siblings started having kids and my brother still travels and has a great career and friends. I think seeing people I know and love very well not change because of having kids has helped me.” Kaitie and Ryan Martinez are expecting their first child in June of next year. They are hoping to have two or three children. Ryan says, “I think it’ll be hard [dealing with school, a house and a baby] but I think it’ll push us to, I guess get through college faster.” Kaitie adds, “Even though I slowed

my college plan down, that’s just because I was going to take summer courses but I’m due in June so that’s just not realistic at all. So I would have graduated the end of next year but, I slowed down so it’s going to be two years. I don’t know, I think it’s going to be fine. I think we’ll stagger our schedules so he can stay home with the baby and I can go to class and we’ll switch on and off. But that’s going to be hard also because we won’t see each other. So we’ll have to figure it out.” When asked about what they look forward to most about being parents, Ryan says, “I guess getting to take them to their baseball games or basketball games or teaching them new stuff. I’m really into musical instruments. So I’d like to teach them how to play instruments. I don’t know just to see them grow up too.” Kaitie adds, “Ryan is my best friend and the person I love more than anything so having a child with him and being able to watch it grow and…I’m just excited to be a mom. I love providing, I’m so excited to do that,” she chuckles. “ Even though these three couples do


not yet have children, they are all excited about that next step in their relationships and lives. And just like with any big decision, there are important things for them to know before they have children. Kevin and Lori Thill, who have been married for almost 30 years and have four children, share about their life as it changed with children. “The teenage years were the most difficult. When the kids are younger it’s all physical work, being there for the kids. It’s easier to agree about how to handle discipline and other things,” they comment, “As they get older and become their own people it’s harder to always agree on how to handle things. But I think having the balance between two people is why it’s important to have two parents.” Their life changed a lot after having children. “The entire focus of your world changes. For the better, it makes you less self centered,” Lori says. One unexpected thing the Thill’s discuss is the amount of love they give their children. The Thill’s advise, “Have children for the right reasons. I don’ think there is a perfect time to have kids, things don’t have to be perfectly planned out. But too many people have kids because it’s what you do after you get married. It’s the biggest most important thing you can do to bring another human being into this world and take care of them. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Jennifer and Ross Martin, 28 and 26, who have been married since May of 2009 say that age was not a factor in their decision to have a baby. Jennifer explains, “We just wanted to make sure we had the money saved, the house we needed, and the rest was up to God’s plan.” The largest adjustment they are going through is the fact that it is the first grandchild on both sides of their families; therefore, they constantly have family at their house visiting. The couple prepared for their child by taking a childbirth class, read books and visited with other friends who have children. Jennifer adds, “We made sure we had what we needed the first few months and had baby showers thrown by friends.” The most difficult thing about raising a child for the Martin’s is the time. There never seems to be enough time for all the things that need to be done on a daily basis. Jennifer says, “I had no idea how much I could love something, or someone, I knew I would love him [their son] but it’s the most amazing feeling in the world. I love my husband more than I ever thought possible, it has brought us together on a whole new level.” She adds, “You have to be in a good place in your life when you are willing to concentrate fully on your child and your husband.” *Names have been changed for identity purposes

What You Can Do For Your Children •

Teach your child/ren about God

Be a good role model

Strengthen their imagination through reading

Show him or her right from wrong through your actions as a parent

Spend time with your child/ren

Teach him or her the value of money

Keep child/ren active (play games with them, go to the park, etc)

If you have more than one child make sure they have a strong bond with siblings


“Don’t take each other so seriously. Make every effort to avoid damaging statements that really have nothing to do with the issue at hand.” - Paul Fisher* “Try and think about the other person more than yourself. Don’t get emotional and talk through issues.” - Kevin & Lori Thill “Don’t keep things bottled up, let out your frustrations, keep all communication lines open at all times.” - Jennifer Martin

“Don’t go into debt except for houses and cars (but still within limits). If you can’t pay for it now you can’t afford it! Save, you can save even small amounts if you make it a priority.” - Kevin & Lori Thill “Live within your means!!! Save for those rainy days.” - Pat & Joan Schumac “Somebody (it doesn’t matter which one) must take charge. Reach that decision together.” - Paul Fisher*


“Always think about the other person first! When you worry about someone else’s happiness first you aren’t thinking about yourself. This means trying to stay attractive for the other one by taking care of yourself, taking an interest in what they like or at least undertanding they have other interests.” - Kevin & Lori Thill “Keep fun and humor in your marriage and be sensitive to the needs of your spouse.” - Pat & Joan Schumac “My advice would be to have patience and fortitude. It takes time to get used to living with someone with different thinking and ideas.” - Laurel Baldwin “Quit taking each other so seriously. Laugh and laugh some more.” - Paul Fisher* “Always say you are sorry, say please and thank you, love each other unconditionally, keep faith and God in your marraige, and never go to bed angry.” - Jennifer Martin “A successful marriage requres falling in love many times, always with the same person.” - Mignon McLaughlin


http://hitchedmag.com/print.php?id=1031

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/how-to-deal-with-your-in-laws-5069.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topics_marriage.html/

http://cooltobefrugal.com/simple-budget-worksheet/

http://finaid.org/loans/consolidation.phtml sxc.hu

Life In Harmony Magazine  

Magazine I created for my Senior Seminar class

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