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Wedding: One Month as a Newlywed

by Meghann on February 5, 2013

Time really does fly. Can you believe Derek and I were married one month ago today? It feels like yesterday I was writing the “one-month to go” post and still tying together the last minute details of the wedding. Now the wedding has come and gone and I’ve officially had a month of calling Derek “my husband” (which is awesome by the way).

I still owe you some wedding recap posts (I still have SO MUCH to write about the experience!), but I wanted to sneak in to write a post on my thoughts as a newlywed one month in. It might be fun to look back on this post a year from now and see how much my thoughts on being a married lady have changed (or maybe they haven’t?). Sorry if I just start to ramble. I’m in a rambling mood.

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For starters, married life is wonderful. I feel like a walking cliche sometimes, but every sappy romantic thing I’ve ever read about being a newlywed is so true. Derek and I are still in that “honeymoon” phase where we’ll randomly send each other messages stating “I love my wife” or “I love my husband.” We also make random jokes referencing our vows stating “wait, that wasn’t in any of my vows” or “Is it too late to add that statement to my vows?” We are so sickeningly sweet that if I was an outsider looking in, I would say gag me.

Don’t worry, we still have our rough moments (jointly putting together Ikea furniture for one), but there’s a weird sense of security that those are in fact just moments and they will pass. We made this commitment to each other, and I really believe that makes us stronger.

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Yes and no. Derek and I have known each other for 8 years, dated for 4 years, and lived together for 2 years, so we know each other’s personalities better than anybody, both inside and out – there are no new surprises there. But we have made a few changes recently as newlyweds that made me think “holy crap, we’re really married.”

For starters, Derek and I have done a total overhaul of our finances, insurances, and other policies. One of the first things we did as a married couple was open a joint savings and checking account (technically we already had a joint checking) and combined everything, with a certain percentage set aside each month in our personal accounts for personal expenses (i.e. races!). Last night we were both calling our car insurance companies to see which one would offer a better deal in the hopes of combining those too (p.s. did you know you get an instant discount just for being married?). We’ve also added each other as our official emergency contacts and benefactors on various things.

There’s something that leaves you feeling very vulnerable when you completely open up your finances to another person. Before we were married, the only other person who knew what was happening in my bank account was my accountant. Sure, Derek and I had broad discussions of how much the other made/spent each month (and that, thankfully, we’re both debt free – minus the mortgage), but nothing detail oriented. Now it’s all out on the table, leaving us both transparent and exposed. Yes, it’s scary, but joining our finances has led to some pretty serious conversations about timelines/plans for the future, which have really strengthened our relationship in the last month. I wish more people would talk about the process of joining finances because the process really is both a scary and beautiful thing all wrapped up in one.

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Right up until we got married I wasn’t sure I was going to legally change my last name. I knew I was going to go the hyphenated route (i.e. Meghann Anderson-Russell), but wasn’t sure it was worth it to go through the trouble of legally changing it if I was just going to hyphenate. After we got married I changed my name on Facebook and the look of it grew on me. One day I just decided to go ahead and legally change it. I didn’t want to just be Meghann Anderson-Russell on Facebook, I wanted the name everywhere – on my license, on my email, on my passport, etc. I went to tell Derek about my decision to make it official and he was like “what-ever.” I thought he’d be over the moon about it , but he told me that he already knew I was his wife and that’s all he cared about, not my last name. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I married this man. *swoon*

I’m heading to the social security office next week to start the process (I heard it was best to go on a Friday at 9:00am, but this Friday is my birthday and I don’t want to spend it at the SS office, so next Friday it is! ). I’ll fill in the details about the name changing process as it goes since it’s a new experience for me and I’m always curious how other people’s experience with the process goes. (edited to add: I’ll officially be Meghann Anderson-Russell)

Our house is still a mess with wedding stuff. I’ve tried my best to organize it all, but there are still gifts that need to be returned, others that need to be put away, thank you notes that need to be written (cards were ordered last week, thank goodness), decorations that need to be given away (or donated), and frames that need to be filled and hung. We’ve been good slowly picking away at various post-wedding tasks every weekend, but neither of us seem very motivated to finish the pile off at once. Mainly we just want to sit on the couch and watch tv. On another note, it has been nice not having a wedding to plan. Maybe that’s why we’ve been so drawn to the couch? The break has been nice.

So there you have it. Ramblings from a newlywed who is one month in.

What was going through your mind on your one month anniversary as a newlywed?

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristin miller February 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm

What a sweet post! I looked back on my blog, and I was apparently loving being domestic, meal planning, and waking up next to my husband with a gorgeous manhattan view! Thanks for the reminder to think of the early days, 4 years ago seems like forever and just last week all rolled into one!

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2 Sana February 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Yeah I am not anywhere near ready to be married, but it’s going to be weird having a different name!

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3 lisa fine @ vermont vittles February 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Well, we just got engaged, so we’re not quite there yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ But the whole process sounds so exciting, and we’re looking forward to this weekend when we’re going to start researching venues and ideas of what we want our wedding to look like.

I love that you two are over the moon for each other – but I’m also in a relationship and totally get that. There’s nothing like it.
lisa fine @ vermont vittles recently posted..making money from blogging / january 2013

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4 jaclyn February 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Changing my name at the social security office was EASY. And I even had an international marriage license since I got married in Italy. It took me maybe 5 minutes and then you just had to wait for your card.

You will run into problems forgetting to change your name on the simplest and silliest things. It’s been 8 months and I am still changing things over as they pop up.

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5 Meghann February 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I’ve heard it’s easy to change your name, what worries me is the wait at the social security office. My friend tried to go a few different times during the week, but each time the place was packed! She struck gold going at 9am on a Friday (was in and out in 5 minutes) so I’m planning on following her lead.

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6 Krissy @ Shiawase Life February 5, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I agree with this, Meghann! I did mine early on a Friday when i lived in FL as well and it was perfect ๐Ÿ™‚
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..Resort Review: Bay Lake Tower at Disneyโ€™s Contemporary Resort

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7 Dori February 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I did not know about the car insurance discount, that is awesome! I can’t wait to change my name, I already took the Monday off work after I get back from my honeymoon to get that done as soon as I possibly can. Mazel tov on one fantastic month!
Dori recently posted..Workout Plan: Week of February 3, 2013

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8 Meghann February 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

overachiever ๐Ÿ˜‰

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9 Sonia the Mexigarian February 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

It took me a year to legally change my name on my social and another to change it on my license. It took a while at the social security office because I needed a certified copy of my marriage license and had to go back to the county offices to get it.
Sonia the Mexigarian recently posted..Nearly Wordless Weekend Roundup

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10 Meghann February 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Did they keep the certified copy or did you just have to show it?

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11 Molly February 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

You just have to show it (fellow Floridian here!). I agree going early on a Friday is the best decision!

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12 Sonia the Mexigarian February 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

just show it. i made two copies just in case and they looked it over (if I remember correctly) and you keep it for your records.

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13 Laura February 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Here’s a list I put together on the name change process!

Step 1: Marriage Certificate
– If necessary, request a few copies of your marriage certificate from Probate Court. (I only ended up needing one original certificate.)
Step 2: Social Security Administration
– Bring a completed SS-5 Application (found on the SSA website) + original certified copy of marriage certificate (they wonโ€™t keep it) + passport to your local SSA office.
– Once you have your new SS card (mine arrived a week later), move on to step three.
Step 3: Driverโ€™s License (DDS)
– Bring current license, marriage certificate, birth certificate, and Social Security card/confirmation letter.
– You will need (2) proofs of address if you are changing that, too – bank statement, insurance verification, etc. You can also update your voter registration here.
Step 4: Tax & Tag Office
– Bring your new (or temporary) driverโ€™s license and marriage certificate.
– Bring your car title and get the name/address changed on that as well. (It cost me $18 to update my title.)
Step 5: Everything Else!
– Once you have your driverโ€™s license, scan your marriage certificate and license (front and back). That way you can just print copies as you need them.
– From here on the order doesnโ€™t matter muchโ€”do important things first to avoid confusion.
Laura recently posted..Briza Restaurant (2/5) on Yelp

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14 Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family February 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Ahhh joining finances. I guess it wasn’t a big deal for me because I got married 3 weeks after graduating college. We just immediately called our bank and have had a joint account ever since. Now that I am a SAHM we do an “allowance” to our own private checking accounts to spend on whatever we want with no judgement. Those accounts are also what we use to buy each other gifts with. Since I don’t have a regular income it’s nice to know that I can surprise Chris without him seeing it on our joint account ๐Ÿ˜‰
Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Homemade Chipotle Bowls

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15 Julia February 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

my husband and I do the same thing. I’m in grad school and not making money so it is really nice to have my “allowance” so I can surprise my husband on occasion.

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16 Cher @ Weddicted February 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

How fun – congrats!

Our first month (especially the honeymoon) was filled with “I love my wife” and “I love my husband” and I would fill with butterflies when my husband called me “Mrs. Hislastname” 6 months in we’re a tad less lame, but it’s very exciting at first ๐Ÿ™‚

As for my name change, my license is done and that’s it haha. In Canada, we have to go EVERYWHERE separately. Health card, banking, passport, insurance, license, credit cards, etc., etc., all on their own. So annoying. I should get on it aha. Our marriage license has been in my wallet for months!
Cher @ Weddicted recently posted..Wedding flowers: Peonies!

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17 Karen February 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I just got engaged this weekend so this is like a look into the future! I’m glad you’re still enjoying the honeymoon phase. I’m gonna have to re-read some if your wedding posts for planning tips ๐Ÿ™‚
Karen recently posted..Engagement Part Two!

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18 Angela February 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Oh gosh I love the newlywed feeling!! I feel like after (almost) 1.5 years of being married its starting to feel less newlywed-ish…not meaning we love each other any less but more like its less weird to drop the “my husband” in conversation. Still pretty strange sometimes though. ๐Ÿ™‚ My name change process was surprisingly easy. I had no lines at the DMV or social security office, it took me probably a total of 15 minutes combined to do it all! Hope you have the same luck. As far as finances go… It is scary to open up your account to someone. We still have separate accounts while we finish paying off our debts, but once we combine I know it will be strange. Even though we seem to have whoever pay for whatever now, so it doesn’t seem much different than a joint account, it will still be something to adapt to.
Angela recently posted..My 25th Birthday

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19 Amanda February 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I got married November 3 and finally just finished up the name change process (started it beginning of December and just got my new passport, which was the last thing). It’s kindof a pain, but I didn’t put pressure on myself to get it done asap. Just wanted to relax after planning a wedding ๐Ÿ™‚

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20 Emily February 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

we were november 3rd too!! =)

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21 Emily February 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

we’ve been married for 3 months as of Sunday! The name change for me was a nightmare, because our wedding was in texas but we live in new york, and texas doesn’t change names on the marriage certificate. So i had to go to court and make an official filing to change my name, publish my intent to change in a newspaper, appear in front of a judge, and then wait to se if my request was granted. Then I had to do the DMV/Social Security song and dance (and got sent to the wrong social security office, so I had to make another appointment and go to the different one that was only open like 3 hours a week!). Also, don’t forget to send in a request for a new passport, official voter registration change, tax form changes, and notifications to school alumni offices. All in all I’m glad I did it, because I love it when we get mail that says “mr. and mrs. newlastname” (not our actual last name)

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22 Emily February 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

we’ve been married for 3 months as of Sunday! The name change for me was a nightmare, because our wedding was in texas but we live in new york, and texas doesn’t change names on the marriage certificate. So i had to go to court and make an official filing to change my name, publish my intent to change in a newspaper, appear in front of a judge, and then wait to se if my request was granted. Then I had to do the DMV/Social Security song and dance (and got sent to the wrong social security office, so I had to make another appointment and go to the different one that was only open like 3 hours a week!). Also, don’t forget to send in a request for a new passport, official voter registration change, tax form changes, and notifications to school alumni offices. All in all I’m glad I did it, because I love it when we get mail that says “mr. and mrs. newlastname” (not our actual last name)

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23 Beth @ Running with the Sunrise February 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I will be very interested to read your name change post. My fiance really wants me to change my name when we get married, but aside from my feminist beliefs, I’m resistant because I’ve heard that legally changing your name is a huge pain in the ass.

I hope you continue to enjoy your time as newlyweds!
Beth @ Running with the Sunrise recently posted..February Goals

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24 Sarah W. February 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm

While we were dating, I knew hubby didn’t have debt, but I also knew he made very little, saved very little and spent lots on nights out and car purchases/parts.

When we moved in together, we still kept our accounts separate, he kept a spreadsheet of our joint expenses, we took turns paying for dates/movies/dinners/entertaininment, and because of the way we were each paid, he paid the small bills, deducted it from the big stuff and I took care of rent, groceries, etc.

Once we got married, we opened joint checking/savings/ING and that was that. no personal accounts for us. we both know our long term goals and we both spend “freely” up to a limit. if he goes out and spends $100 he has to tell me about it/clear it with me. I always find it funny when I’m out with our best married couple and my GF is like, my treat tonight, to her hubby. I’m like uhhhhhhhhhhh joint account/married? all the money is the same! LOLOL

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25 Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution February 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

Some people just prefer to keep some things separate. My fiance and I have done so well for the past two years that we have lived together keeping one joint account for all joint expenses/savings and then holding on to our separate accounts for individual bills and other things we may want that we will keep it that way when we get married. We take turns “treating” each other, and that’s fine with us. It doesn’t seem weird.
Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..Iโ€™m So Hungry and How to Keep the Treadmill Interesting

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26 Courtney February 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

Kristy, I’m with you! My husband and I have always had a joint savings account that we use for big things – our wedding, house down payment, vacations, etc. But for day to day things we have separate checking accounts. We split the bills in a way that makes sense and everything else is our own money. I feel like as long as bills are paid and debts are covered, we shouldn’t be babysitting how each other wants to spend our extra money!

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27 Sarah W. February 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm

to the girl who commented above, it took me half a day to legally change my name. I took a monday or tuesday off work, and went to the DMV, social security and one other place to change my name. it was the easiest thing in the world. not sure why people say its so difficult.

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28 Meghann February 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I think it’s because requirements vary state-to-state.

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29 Emily February 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm

that was exactly it – thanks, Meghann – we found out the day of the wedding that Texas didn’t allow you to change your name legally on the marriage certificate, which is very unusual, as most states let you write in your new name on the certificate and it’s legally done. Once we realized that, our only recourse was for me to petition the court for a change of name, because that’s how it’s done in new york, and go through all the extra processes new york requires. If we had been able to do it on the marriage license, it would have been much easier and I would have been able to do it in a day instead of a month.

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30 Renae @ MissFit Mixed Chick February 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I CANNOT believe that it’s already been a month. I swear it seemed just like yesterday you were writing about getting married. Wow!
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31 [email protected] February 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

The first month we were back at school doing the whole September “beginning of the year” thing. We felt like nothing had really changed.

I never did change my name, other than on Facebook. I have a very unusual last name and felt that I did not want to change it while still finding my way around my career. Also, hubby has a mispronounced name and our names hyphenated would just be too funny for people to say properly.

We still have our separate finances. Both of us are mainly just lazy about it as we have many things hooked up to our own individual accounts. Plus part of it is a control thing too ๐Ÿ™‚
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32 Natalie @ Free Range Human February 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I honestly don’t remember the name change process being a big deal at all. The social security office is where I started as well, and everything just seemed to fall into place from there.
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..Colorado 2013!

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33 Madeline February 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

All of the “big stuff” was pretty easy when it came to changing my name (SSN, passport, DL, credit cards). It was all the little stuff that was super annoying. Getting my name changed on my US Air frequent flier account practically involved signing away our first born!

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34 Anne February 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Ditto!! The frequent flier account name change was very painful! Especially because you have to time it so that your ff name and ID name match to buy plane tickets. I kept my passport in my maiden name for a while to ease that transition.

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35 Rachel February 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I work for Social Security, and I can tell you there is no best time to go. The beginning of the month is often busy. In my office, Friday @ 9:00 is pretty busy. Monday and Thursday are also busy times. It may vary where you live (i’m in GA). Just bring in a valid driver’s license or passport in your old name and an original/certified copy of your marriage license/certificate. No need to fill out the SS-5 ahead of time. The main thing to remember is that it is a lot easier to change it with us, then on your driver’s license.

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36 Morgan February 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

To Sarah W. – it’s totally great that you and your husband combined everything but, in my opinion, it isn’t odd or a bad thing if a married couple doesn’t choose to do this. My husband and I have been married over a year and the only thing we have combined is a credit card we utilize for earning miles. We both work and he pays all our household bills (because he makes 4x what I do as a teacher) and I keep all of my money in my checking/savings. I think I would die if I had to “clear” spending any of my money on something with him, or if he felt like he did with me. But, we also married at 30 and 42, respectively, so I think that may play into it.

Anyways, all I am saying is if your friend chooses to have separate finances and they “treat” each other with their separate money I don’t think you need to worry about it.

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37 glenneth February 6, 2013 at 9:46 am

we have been married almost 16 years and still have separate accounts. i pay for certain things and he pays for certain things. we have done it so long now i don’t give it a second thought. and yes, both accounts are really “joint” accounts, we just don’t use them that way.
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38 Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution February 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

My fiance and I have lived together for two years. We have a joint checking/savings account. All of the money for our joint expenses and what we want to put in savings goes in there automatically, and the rest of our income goes to our separate accounts and we split things like meals out and take turns buying groceries. Actually, since I do most of the grocery shopping, it ends up being me that pays for most of the groceries, and he handles meals out and little trips to the grocery for a few things. We find that this is what works best for us, and I while I understand totally joint accounts may work well for others, we just prefer it this way.
Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..Iโ€™m So Hungry and How to Keep the Treadmill Interesting

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39 Ally February 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Jealous that you are debt free! I thought you guys purchased the condo you live in– did you manage to pay it off already? wow!

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40 Meghann February 5, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Yes, we do have the condo, but I wasn’t sure if I should count that since we would be paying rent otherwise?

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41 Brigid February 5, 2013 at 4:37 pm

It counts. If you decide to move somewhere else, your mortgage is still attached to you as something you owe until you sell it to someone else. If you move out of a rental, your financial obligation has ended.
Brigid recently posted..Meal planning for Feb. 4-10

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42 Meghann February 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Well, in that case, we our debt free minus the mortgage. ๐Ÿ™‚

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43 Lindsay February 5, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I’m also jealous! You don’t have any car payments or credit card balances?

44 Clare February 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm

How would that NOT count? Debt = $$ you owe someone else.

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45 Rachel February 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I meant to say, to change it with us first, then on your driver’s license. And no, they won’t keep your marriage document.

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46 Stacy February 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Good post…so not looking forward to doing all the official paperwork and changes, but I know it will be worth it and make our lives easier in the end!
Stacy recently posted..5 Months To Go!

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47 Anne February 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm

About a month after our wedding, my husband had to have surgery. That was the weirdest feeling of “we’re definitely adults and married now.” I was considered the responsible adult at the hospital and took care of him. Weird . . .

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48 Hope February 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I think it’s exciting that you’re changing your name! I’ve been married for almost a year now and I still get all tingly when I hear my “new” last name. I actually ran the Best Damn Race 10k this past weekend and when I was finishing, I heard the announcer say “let’s welcome Hope ROBINSON to the finish line!” and, even almost a year later, hearing my name like that made me beam with happiness ๐Ÿ™‚

Good luck with the process. It can be a pain, but it’s worth it! Congrats!

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49 Emily February 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm

I’m kinda surprised you guy’s didn’t really know how much each other made before you got married. I dated my husband for 4 years before we got married and knew all that stuff right away. Right now I’m not working so he pays for everything, but when I go back to work we just split stuff. We have joint credit cards but will never have joint bank accts. if we have bills, I usually take care of them all and he sends me the money once a month. Wells Fargo is free to transfer between accts. also when I go back to work I will use my own credit cards on things that I want. (We always use credit cards to get points/miles and pay them off completely each month)
I love reading how people do their finances! So interesting:)

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50 Meghann February 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm

We knew how much the other made, but not the big details of much was in each of our savings/checking/retirement accounts or the details of what the other bought. It’s definitely a different ball game looking on the account and knowing exactly how much was spent on every little thing.

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51 [email protected] February 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

My husband and I were the same way and we also lived together 2 years before marriage. I remember the first time he saw what a cut/color for my hair costs. Not a big deal really but it was kind of hilarious. ๐Ÿ™‚ I never realized what he spent on cycling. It’s little things like that so I totally understand!
[email protected] recently posted..Beautiful Yoga, Beautiful Dinner

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52 Carly D. @ CarlyBananas February 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

I’ve been with my boyfriend for more than 4 years (lived together for 3) and I don’t know how much he makes! I don’t think it’s that weird. I know the basics (more than me) but we still split rent and other bills 50/50 because we both make enough to cover half. He saves more than I do and I guess pays for more groceries but we both have savings accounts and 401k accounts and don’t carry a lot of credit card debt. I don’t think the exact specifics are really necessary. ๐Ÿ™‚
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53 jane February 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm

i am getting married in october and cannot wait to change my name. I do agree that it will be weird and I think professionally I might keep my maiden name as my middle name and use it, but i would be so upset if my fiance didnt care if i changed my name. call me old fashioned ๐Ÿ™‚

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54 Allison February 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Aww, this is a really sweet post. Very happy for you guys. I would desperately love to marry my longtime girlfriend (not legal!), so at least you have that to be thankful for when you’re slogging through all the legalese and paperwork.

Love the hyphenated name, btw. Nice choice!

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55 Hillary February 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Oy. My fiance doesn’t want me to change my name (for a variety of reasons—in general, he thinks it’s super old fashioned and hates that I’d be giving up the name I’ve had my entire life. My brother and I are also the last of our “name,” and he hates that the name might end with me if my brother doesn’t have kids), but I don’t know what I’m going to do when the time comes. I do love my name, but I also love the idea of sharing one. I have well over a year to think about it, though!
Hillary recently posted..Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Brittle Cookies

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56 Taylor @ Coffee & Combat Boots February 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm

My husband and I have been married for 7 months as of this weekend! The next six months will fly by as quickly as the first! I love reading your posts because I feel like I can definitely relate. Sometimes I still catch myself thinking “I can’t believe he is my HUSBAND!” I laugh at myself because of how silly it feels to think that.. like DUH! But I definitely don’t want that feeling to go away ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy the newlywed stage!
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57 Naomi February 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I am getting married in August, and I am SO ready! Wedding planning is fun, but it’s also exhausting sometimes, so I can’t wait for that to be over and just enjoy being with my husband. Ahh that’s so crazy to write!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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58 Rachel Wilkerson February 6, 2013 at 8:41 am

Combining finances and putting it all out there is SO terrifying. I feel the most vulnerable during money conversations with Eric. But as we move closer to marriage, I feel more confident/comfortable and it’s very reassuring and romantic to plan for the future with someone. From a legal (and emotional!) standpoint, I feel like finances are one of the biggest changes between being married and engaged so I’m glad you shared your experience.

Good luck with the name change!!
Rachel Wilkerson recently posted..Does a body good: 2-5-13

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59 Kim February 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

The 20somethingfinance blog just had a post about combining finances when you get married, some good comments there! We tried to get more advice on it during our marriage prep class, but oddly enough we were the only couple (out of 30 in the class) that lived together before marriage and one of a handfew of dual-income families (there were lots of college kids still living with their parents). I found the best advice came from older colleagues & friends, and just common sense. Lots of people think they want separate accounts in case they want to buy something as a surprise for their spouse, which is unnecessary red tape – if my husband actually takes the time to review our bank account statement and sees a $50 charge from Best Buy, he knows better than to ask me exactly what it’s for b/c it’s most likely a present for him. *A tip – never stop getting each other little tiny gifts, even if it’s as small as a 6-pack of his favorite beer when it’s your turn to go to Publix – it really is the little things that count.*

I think our lives were changed more by owning a home together than becoming a married couple, since it’s a new set of responsibilities and most of the time we dated we were in dorms/apartments. It’s a challenge to be nice & courteous to each other when a toilet is overflowing or your neighbors give you the stinkeye about your landscaping or you have 11 rooms in the house to clean and half of them aren’t even furnished lol Sorta feels like your life is a neverending to-do list and each of you struggle with managing who does what. You two are lucky to be starting out in a smaller place together so you can get the hang of homeownership without the hassle of a large property to maintain, especially if you still want to travel and enjoy your weekends often rather than painting spare bedrooms.

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60 Paige February 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I am confused. (This might have been covered already and if so, apologies.)

How do you both have a mortgage and are debt-free? Are you aware that a mortgage is a debt you owe?

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61 Meghann February 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I corrected it to say we’re both debt free minus our mortgage. Maybe I should change it again to say our only debt is our mortgage? Would that be less confusing? What I meant was neither of us owe payments on our cars, student loans, or credit cards. The only “debt” we have to worry about is our mortgage.

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62 paige February 6, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Yes- your only debt is your mortgage. You are so lucky and I am so jealous ๐Ÿ™‚ I finally paid my car off and I wanted to cartwheeel!

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63 Annalisa February 6, 2013 at 5:41 pm

My husband and I are really into our financial future – we save a lot for retirement, monthly budget, set large goals, etc – we sit down 1-2x a month and go over spending. I don’t think couples need to merge their financial lives but I do think couples should be transparent with each other. We sit down once or twice a year and run our credit reports together – it keeps us honest (i.e. no additional secret cards/debt). We also have each other’s banking/credit card/retirement acct/etc. passwords.

I will say that it took us a few years to be OK with this level – we’ve been married for 5 yrs and together for many more. It took a few arguments and long talks to get this transparent but I’m so glad we are. Its been very rewarding. I also can’t recommend enough that young people/couples should really look into saving for their retirements now. I don’t see that a lot from my peers and it’s something that if you do and plan for as a couple, it can be fun and reassuring.

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64 Kashi @ Cape Island Runners February 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

we did not leave for our HM until 3 weeks after the wedding, so we spent our one month anni in new zealand on a seabird trip, looking at albatross! it was incredible! i really, really loved that first few weeks of marriage, it was so fun settling into being a married couple! we are now a year and 4 months in and the novelty still has not worn off. i didn’t think marriage would feel that different from dating, but it really does and in the best way ever.
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65 stephanie marie February 7, 2013 at 12:39 am

We’re still fairly “new” newlyweds (just over 4 months) and that first month felt as if we had been married for ages and yet not at all. I like to tell people who ask that “Married life is grand,” and while it is, not much has changed for us. Sometimes it feels like, “Okay, when do I go home?”

Finance-and-real-life-stuff: we haven’t had to deal with much of that yet. We both say we want to start a joint savings account, but we’re held back by two things: I want to change my name to take his, but we are currently living in a (literal) state of flux; we’ll probably only be in our location for a year and then move back to my home state, but that’s all up in the air. Until we decide, I don’t want to change my license or get a new passport or any of that. SO… no new last name yet, which means we can’t open a bank account together. And we’re lucky– my parents still take care of most of my expenses (shh, don’t tell them) and we have very little bills right now. So while we’re super open about our fiances (I’ll ask him every few weeks, “How much is in your bank account?”), we haven’t had to go through all the mucky legal stuff yet.

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66 MealsAndMiles February 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

We do not. Both cars are paid off and we pay our credit cards off monthly.

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67 Abbie February 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

Sorry Meghann, super confused! You do not what?

Love this post by the way so informative!

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68 Meghann February 6, 2013 at 11:34 am

Sorry. I replied to a comment up above via my phone and I guess it didn’t connect. Weird.

The original comment was “You donโ€™t have any car payments or credit card balances?” and I replied that we do not.

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69 Abbie February 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Got it! Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚
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