My husband and I celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary this week!
8 years is not a long time, and yet, we're not in the honeymoon phase. Since our anniversary is on a Wednesday this year, we spent some time last Friday...going to a lavender farm.
It's open, by appointment only, so they can limit the numbers of people going. It was so beautiful and relaxing. We could smell the lavender even through our masks!
I've written a lot about love and marriage, since LOVE is my #1 core value and true relationships (which includes loyalty, friendship and community) are also amongst my core values. And I write about how money ties into love and marriage because it's the #1 reasons couples fight and get divorced over.
I've also written about how we met, while working on ABC's The Bachelor, which includes lessons I learned about love from producing that show.
And here's a love letter to my husband, which explains why we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. However, the most popular post I've ever written is about manifesting love & marriage, so I'll share the information again. For my anniversary this week, here's how I manifested the love of my life and a marriage I wanted to keep...
First, I worked on myself. Like attracts like. If, deep down, you feel you don't deserve love or don't respect yourself, then you will attract someone who will abuse your love and not respect you because, well...you don't really love or respect yourself. I had my share of relationships end due to what I thought was my fear of commitment, but while going through therapy, I realized I already had a commitment that was taking up all of my time and energy -- my mother! My commitment to her was greater than any relationship, job, city, or apartment. In therapy, I also discovered that the men I chose to date all had similar traits to my mom...big-hearted, outgoing, people magnets but with no concrete concept of time or money.
Next, I got really, really clear about my values. Your values are your true desires, and if you're crystal clear about your values, you can create the life you want, in relationships, career, and life.
I shared my value of freedom in this post, and I will continue to share my top values in future posts, but some of my values that pertain to relationships are love, peace (mostly inner) and loyalty.
I used to have the same fights over and over again with one of my exes. I used to call him "Switzerland" because he never took sides. Now, for some people, this isn't a deal breaker. It may not even get noticed. However, since loyalty is one of my values, it drove me crazy and constantly created conflict. At the time, I didn't understand that the reason "Switzerland" and I would have the same fights over and over again is because we had two different values. My husband and I don't fight about this issue because he's one of the most loyal people I know. He and I both believe in being loyal, almost to a fault. He's the guy at work who would never even think about wanting a boss' job. He's also the guy who stuck to a real estate agent who added $1000 to an offer on a house, without asking us first. He was loyal because the agent showed us houses for an entire year before we even put in an offer on a house.
After clearing out my issues and laying down the foundation with my values, I, then, had to be open and receptive to the universe. When I ask my single friends what they want, no one is telling me that they want to marry for money. They usually say they just want a "good" person, but then they tell me that person needs to be tall, like to work out or sometimes, women say they want a guy who makes his own money. Now, I'm not saying that you can't ask for all of those things, but it's not very clear to the universe if you're saying you just want a "good" person, but then you're also concerned about their looks, ethnicity or annual salary.
In one of our first, real conversations (not about work), my husband told me about his friend, Lionel (he was Swiss French so it's pronounced lee-uh-NEL), who passed away in a car accident in his 20s. While he told me this story, for the first time in my life, I saw someone's soul and not the human form everyone else sees. I saw a soul that is so filled with love, light, tenderness, kindness, beauty, compassion, loyalty, passion, childlike innocence, giving, and a feeling I can't describe in words. I was open enough to be able to see it, and since that moment, my husband has shown me that what I felt about his soul is truly his essence. Now, as you can see from the pictures of our wedding, my husband is a physically handsome man, but I honestly didn't see that when I first met him.
Finally, Action is the next step in manifesting and attracting what you want, and this is one of the most important in a successful relationship and marriage. After all, anyone can say the words "I love you," but it's in the meaningful, little actions that builds up the trust that leads to whole-hearted, unconditional love.
Now, LOVE is the foundation for everything. However, we've all heard of that saying "love doesn't pay the bills." While, I don't ascribe to that particular thought 100% because I do pay my bills with love (and actual money), we all do know that money is the #1 thing most couples fight about. And while money, itself, doesn't buy happiness, studies have shown that having financial security definitely boosts happiness.
Financial security doesn't mean that you need to make a million dollars because some people who make that much money have also lost that much money. A friend of mine, who was a professional poker player, used to make millions at a poker tournament and turn around and lose $150,000 in a game of craps. So, making a lot of money doesn't guarantee financial security. Financial security is built on trust, just as a solid relationship and marriage should be. Getting to financial security takes time, just as building trust takes time, but here's how to get started:
- Know your values. Just as I did work on my own values, in a relationship, you will have to bring your own individual values together and see if they align. If they do, great! You are already closer to having a successful relationship. If a few things differ, not to worry, as long as none of those values step on each other. Like my ex, for example, might believe in not taking sides because his value of belonging everywhere is more important, and with this value of wanting to belong in every community, he steps on my value of loyalty. Knowing what you value will also help make choices about your finances. If you both value health and vitality, then it's perfectly reasonable to spend your money on a personal trainer, a therapist, or a meal plan that gets you to eat more healthy and saves you time.
- Start having money conversations, as soon you know this is a serious relationship, especially if you plan on living together. Having a clear idea of how much debt your partner is in, what their credit is like, and how much income you'll both bring in, provides a foundation for trust and also knowing how much you can handle. For some people, a $100,000 student loan debt is a deal breaker. For others, it's just something to work on paying off together. The key is TOGETHER. If you want to get married legally, then the law basically unites your finances anyway, so it's better if you understand each other's finances and accept it. This isn't a time to blame anyone. It's just about clarity and what to do, to move forward, once you're both aware of the reality. If you can't accept it, then that's a conversation you need to have as soon as possible. Lying, hiding your debts or extreme shopping habits or choosing to not disclose some part of your finances is a form of infidelity.
- Once you're able to do steps 1 and 2 and are now in a committed relationship, then it's important to review your finances together about once a month. I have found two methods of working together. One is where all finances get lumped together into a checking account, with separate savings accounts for different goals. The other method is to have three checking accounts, one for each partner, and a third one for joint expenses, like rent, groceries, utilities, etc. Each person contributes a percentage of their income to this joint account. If you make roughly the same amount of money, then you will each contribute 50% of your take home pay (after taxes) to the joint account. However, if you don't, total up the combined income. Let's say it's $10,000 per month, combined, so it's easier to calculate. Sam makes $6000 per month, while Alex makes $4000. Sam would contribute 60% or $3600 into the joint account, while Alex puts in 40% or $1600. They can set up direct debits from the account for bills, or one person can make those bills one by one. Then, once a month, they should have a "date" night with some music, good food, maybe some wine, if they drink, and look through their bank statement and financial plan together. Make it fun, so it's something to look forward to. Make some ground rules about not blaming, not judging (which is another manifesting rule), being honest and also add in some dream building, so you're reminded about why you're sticking to some of the financial goals you've both set. Dream building starts by asking yourselves what you would like to do, when you will have the money. Do you want to renovate your kitchen? Go on that vacation to Italy? Start a college fund for your child? Whatever it is, play and dream together! If you can dream it, you can build it. Then, take action and start making your dreams come true.
With Gratitude and lots of Love,
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