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Throughout history, black women have faced the uphill battles of both racial and gender biases, especially in male-dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Even so, many overcome their adverse circumstances, making invaluable contributions to the scientific community, particularly in the United States Space Program. The issue, however, is that the contributions these brilliant pioneers made largely went unnoticed.

NASA scientists including Katherine JohnsonDorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson began to get some overdue credit, however, when author Margot Lee Shetterly released her 2016 tome, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race

A film adaptation with the shortened title, Hidden Figures, hit theaters the same year to great acclaim, earning three Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.

These works told the stories of the women of color largely hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, later NASA) during World War II to work as “human computers,” manually crunching numbers, filling the many vacancies left by those fighting the war overseas. 

 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a 1941 executive order into law that prohibited racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in the country’s defense injury, thus paving the way for these “hidden figures’” advancements. While there are no official numbers on how many women filled these roles over the years, experts have estimated there were several hundred over the years. (Shetterly’s estimate was in the thousands.)

Of course, black women’s contributions aren’t limited to NASA. Here are 10 of the women who used their brains to skyrocket to the top of their fields.

 

Katherine Johnson

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Katherine Johnson poses for a portrait at work at NASA Langley Research Center in 1966

Photo: NASA/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man" may not have happened without this woman. Just weeks after Katherine Johnson began a position as one of Langley Research Center's human computers in 1952, supervisors transferred the summa cum laude West Virginia State College graduate (with degrees in both mathematics and French) from the African-American computing pool to the flight research division. There, Johnson performed the NASA calculations that made possible the manned space missions of the early 1960s as well as the 1969 moon landing.

 

Even astronaut John Glenn put his full faith in Johnson, requesting she re-do all-electronic computer calculations before he embarked on his 1962 Earth orbits. Glenn has been quoted as remarking, “If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”

Aside from earning a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom, Johnson was portrayed by actress Taraji P. Henson in 2016's Hidden Figures.

Dorothy Vaughan

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Dorothy Vaughan (l) in 1950

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Also a central part of Hidden Figures (in which was played by actress Octavia Spencer), Dorothy Vaughan left her position as a high school math teacher for a "temporary war job" in Langley's all-black group of female mathematicians known as the West Area Computing Unit in 1949. During what would become a nearly decade-long career, Vaughan became NASA's first African-American manager, eventually heading up the West Area Computing Unit.

An expert in NASA's programming coding language known as FORTRAN, she worked on the SCOUT (Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test) Launch Vehicle Program that put America’s first satellites into space. Before her retirement from NASA in 1971, she also worked closely with Johnson on the computations for Glenn's orbital space missions.

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Mary Jackson

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Mary Jackson poses for a photo at work at NASA Langley Research Center in 1977

Photo: Bob Nye/NASA/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Mary Jackson began working under Vaughan's supervision in the segregated West Area Computing section as a computer in 1951. After two years in that role, the former teacher (who was portrayed in Hidden Figures by actress and musician Janelle Monae) transitioned to working for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki on wind tunnel experiments.

At Czarnecki's urging, she took engineering classes, and, after being promoted to aeronautical engineer in 1958, Jackson officially became NASA’s first black female engineer. After helping develop the space program throughout her successful career (during which she authored or co-authored about 12 research reports), the Virginia native took a demotion to fill the role of Langley’s Federal Women’s Program Manager. In that position, she devoted her time to helping other women find STEM jobs at NASA.

Dr. Gladys West

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Dr. Gladys West at her induction into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on December 6, 2018.

Photo: Adrian Cadiz

When Gladys West was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame in December 2018, the organization hailed her as the hidden figure whose mathematical work lead to the invention of the Global Positioning System (GPS). In 1956, she began working at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory and helped produce a study that proved the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune.

 

Also while at U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, she programmed an IBM 7030 “Stretch” computer that delivered refined calculations for an “extremely accurate geodetic Earth model, a geoid, optimized” for what would eventually become known as GPS.

Dr. Mae Jemison

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Mae Jemison

Photo: SSPL/Getty Images

Mae Jemison was a woman with many firsts to her credit. She was working in the medical field as a General Practitioner and attending graduate engineering classes in Los Angeles when NASA admitted her to its astronaut training program in June 1987. After more than a year of training, she became the first African-American woman astronaut, holding the title of science mission specialist.

On September 12, 1992, Jemison, along with six other astronauts, launched into space aboard the Endeavour, and with that earned the distinction of the first African-American woman in space as well. During her eight-day mission, Jemison conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness. Prior to her career as an astronaut, she also acted as a Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Dr. Shirley Jackson

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Dr. Shirley Jackson stands with President Barack Obama before receiving the National Medal of Science, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on May 19, 2016, in Washington, DC.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A theoretical physicist, Shirley Jackson was the first black woman to graduate with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in any field (Her Ph.D. is in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics) and also just the second African-American woman to earn a doctorate in physics in U.S. history. 

During her tenure at what was formerly known as AT&T Bell Laboratories' Theoretical Physics Research Department in the 1970s and 1980s, she has been credited as helping develop the technology that enabled caller ID and call waiting.

President Barack Obama selected Jackson, a onetime chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to receive the National Medal of Science in 2015. She is currently serving as the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, also making her the first African-American woman to lead a top-ranked research university.

Dr. Patricia Bath

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Dr. Patricia Bath

The first female African-American medical doctor to complete an ophthalmology residency and also the first to receive a medical patent, Patricia Bath invented a laser cataract treatment device called a Laserphaco Probe in 1986. (The co-founder of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness patented her invention in 1988.)

 

Her research on health disparities between African-American patients compared to those of other races lead to the creation of a volunteer-based "community ophthalmology," offering treatment to underserved populations.

Dr. Marie M. Daly

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Dr. Marie Daly

After receiving her B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from Queens College and New York University respectively, Marie Daly went on to complete her Ph.D. at New York City's Columbia University. Upon graduating in 1947, she earned the distinction of being the first African-American woman to receive a chemistry Ph.D. in the U.S.

Daly's groundbreaking research included studies of the effects of cholesterol on the mechanics of the heart, the effects of sugars and other nutrients on the health of arteries and the breakdown of the circulatory system as a result of advanced age or hypertension.

Annie Easley

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Annie Easley

Photo: NASA/Interim Archives/Getty Images

Another major contributor to the U.S. Space Program, Annie Easley worked on myriad projects for NASA over the course of her 30-year careers as a mathematician and rocket scientist. Like Johnson, Vaughan and Mary Jackson, she first worked as a computer and then eventually became a programmer.

Aside from conducting studies on battery-powered vehicles, Easley also worked on shuttle launches and designed and tested a NASA nuclear reactor. She was also a "leading member of the team which developed software for the Centaur rocket stage, which laid the technological foundations for the Space Shuttle launches and launches of communication, military and weather satellites," per NASA.

Dr. Alexa Canady

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Dr. Alexa Canady

In 1984, Alexa Canady, a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan's medical school, became the first African-American woman to be certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Canada, who also earned B.S. in zoology from the University of Michigan, would later take on the role of chief of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan at just 36 years old, and, while there, she specialized in congenital spinal abnormalities, hydrocephalus, trauma and brain tumors.

 

Source: https://www.biography.com/

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It seems that boot camps are all the rage these days. I mean, there’s probably a Bootcamp for just about anything. Whether it’s learning a new language or whipping your body into shape, it’s as easy as a google search and a click to find someone willing to sell their knowledge. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for earning a living by parting with some of one’s hard-earned expertise. Particularly when it comes to challenging times in your marriage, it’s important to get as much expert help as possible. However, if you’re struggling to reconcile your bank account and your need for professional assistance, you might need to settle for a relationship boot camp DIY. If you’ve ever been to a marriage boot camp or even a couples’ retreat, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, here are three boot camp lessons you can start practicing today to fortify your marriage and give it a fighting chance.

3 Marriage Bootcamp Lessons You Should Practice Every Day

In this article:

  1. Set aside distraction-free time with each other
  2. Communicate sincerely
  3. Make intimacy a priority

The idea behind a boot camp is to institute some hard-hitting lessons into the psyche to achieve maximum results in record time. Boot camps usually don’t last too long as the intensity they bring isn’t sustainable for the long haul. Depending on the branch, military boot camp training can last anywhere from six to thirteen weeks. However, the idea is that once the intensive training is over, the lessons are so heavily ingrained that participants continue the pattern of behavior naturally. Marriage boot camps, though they differ in delivery, teach a few common principles worthy of daily practice. So, rather than wait for things to start souring in your marriage, allow these principles to be a part of your weekly, if not daily, marriage routine.

 

Set aside distraction-free time with each other

Distraction-free time? What is that? When you’re a newlywed, this seems like a no-brainer. You can’t get enough of each other. Your spouse is your world and you are all wrapped up in it. But as life moves forward, work, children, and other challenges eat away at your alone time with your spouse minute by minute. The ease with which you spent time with each other at the beginning of your relationship has faded. Now, you struggle just to see each other more than an hour each day.

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In marriage boot camp, you are forced to spend time with each other without distraction. That’s one reason these camps work so well. Now, whether it’s been intentional or not, you can’t avoid each other. You must face your problems and deal with them head-on. Practice this method on a weekly basis in your relationship and watch your relationship blossom rather than wither. What this looks like is different for every relationship. For some, it might be date night. For others, it might be a weekend get-away. Whatever works for your marriage, you must be intentional in making it happen.

 

Communicate sincerely

Without a doubt, communication is one of the most difficult lessons to learn, even during a marriage boot camp. In fact, there’s usually a trained professional who sits with each couple and help them navigate conversations effectively. However, one thing that can’t be manufactured is sincerity as you communicate. Your partner can sniff out nonsense when it’s being delivered. During boot camp, any attempt at forging sincerity is challenged until the “real” or the truth comes to light.

Though this takes practice to get it just right, it is possible to find your sweet spot of communication with your partner. Communication is a two-way street. It involves both listening and speaking. If you do both with sincerity, you won’t go wrong.

 
 

Make intimacy a priority

Probably one of the more fun parts of boot camp is breaking away from the intensity of the day and enjoying the comfort of the night. As you set aside distraction-free time in order to sincerely communicate, your heart opens up to feelings of romance once again. Holding hands, kissing, cuddling and making love are all back on the table. In your day to day life, intimate behavior is a must in order to keep your love for each other alive and growing. By making it a priority, you will continue to water the roots of your relationship making it even more invulnerable to any attack.

Take care of your marriage. Don’t let days and weeks go by without spending one on one time together, communicating sincerely with each other, or being intimate in the ways that make your love grow. By practicing these marriage boot camp principles, you minimize your need for the heavy-duty stuff. Instead, use the money to go on a cruise…which I imagine would be a lot more fun!

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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More than 20 years ago, my husband and I were blessed to work in our church’s teen ministry. We wanted to help spiritually guide their thoughts as they attempted to navigate this thing called life. Back then, the challenges they faced were unlike anything even I had dealt with. School pressure, peer pressure, even internal pressure brought a realm of circumstances somewhat unfamiliar to me. In many ways, I didn’t think I could relate. But then I remembered a significant turning point in my own teenage life.

4 Powerful Skills to Help Your Teenager Handle Peer Pressure

In this article:

  1. Firmly refuse negative group behavior
  2. Combat lies with the truth
  3. Walk away when provoked
  4. Communicate effectively with adults

I was an 18-year-old freshman at Michigan State University newly transplanted from my island home of St.Thomas. The only person I knew in the state was an old college friend of my aunt’s. Eager to make friends, I decided to join the school’s track team. One night after practice, my teammates decided to go out to a club. Doesn’t sound like a big deal right? Well, clubbing was not my thing. I simply had no interest. But the pressure from my teammates to be a part of the group along with my internal pressure to avoid being an outcast was powerful. I decided to go.

I reluctantly returned to my dorm room, got ready, and went to join my teammates who were already waiting in the cab. As they waved at me to hurry, I started running down the hall toward them. Every step was like dragging a block of lead and each felt heavier than the last. I got in the cab and off we went. Now, to this day, I think my cab driver was an angel because he started talking about making sure we had the proper ID or we couldn’t get into the club. Apparently, my student ID was insufficient. We had only driven a few blocks away from my dorm and I told him to stop. I got out, sent my teammates off and practically skipped back to my dormitory. I returned to my room that night and vowed never to do anything I don’t want to do ever again.

 

Firmly refuse negative group behavior

Fast forward 13 years later and I now have the chance to mentor teens facing pressures far worse than going to a club. Peer pressure tactics were a hundred times worse and it was all kids could do to make it through the school day unscathed. Interestingly, regardless of the issue, negative behavior started as the brainchild of one individual and worked its way through a community of students who feared being left out. Sound familiar. Whether it’s 1989, 2009, or 2019 the pressure to be a part of a group is markedly embedded in the minds of teenagers everywhere.

Working in the teen ministry, I realized it didn’t matter if you were a preacher’s kid or the son of the devil. Everyone wants to fit in. Twenty years ago, I served teenagers. Today, I have two teens of my own. Black ones. Male ones. Talk about pressure. Their demographic is constantly under attack. Teach your kids the importance of non-conformity. It gives them a strong sense of self and confidence in their own way of thinking. It won’t be enough to thwart off every negative group behavior, but it’s a great weapon to have in their arsenal when those moments arise.

 

Combat lies with the truth

One of the reasons kids easily conform is they have nothing else to stand on when faced with peer pressure tactics. If a dominant person says bullying is fun, others conform to that way of thinking because they don’t want to be the one being bullied. Peer pressure instigators usually apply heavy-handed tactics that start with a lie. Well, it’s either a lie or a fear.

  • “No one will like you.”
  • “Don’t be a party-pooper.”
  • “This will be fun.”
  • “You’re the only one…”
  • “You won’t get in trouble.”
  • “Everybody’s doing it.”

Whatever they think will break your resolve, they use it. Arm your kids with answers…truths…to all of these lies. Then teach them how to effectively, and firmly (see point one) refuse to participate under pressure.

 
 

Walk away when provoked

As a self thinker, your son or daughter may become a popular target. It’s sometimes hard for group thinkers to believe that someone would willingly remain outside the circle. As a parent of one or more teens, you will have many chances to demonstrate what it means to be patient and to walk away when provoked. Teens test you. If you are going to ask them to be patient and walk away, then you better teach them by example.

They want more than your lip service. When they see you practice what you preach, it makes them a believer. Even though it doesn’t always seem like they’re listening, they are observing.

 

Communicate effectively with adults

One of the most important elements of tackling peer pressure is teaching our kids how to effectively communicate with the adults in their sphere of influence, particularly you. Sometimes, when they can’t talk to you as a parent, they might seek a surrogate. It’s important to raise them in a village with adults whose values align with your own. Oftentimes, however, teens don’t quite know what to say or how to openly talk about the issues they are dealing with.

This too is a skill that is better off demonstrated than preached. Talk to your kids about age-appropriate issues you are dealing with. Ask their opinion. Get their thoughts on the challenges you face. When you share with them, they are more likely to share with you. If they can effectively communicate with you, their chances of bowing to peer pressure decrease a thousandfold.

As adults, when we are facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, we like to say “the struggle is real.” For teens, the “pressure” is real. For me, it was just going to a club. For your teen, it may be drugs, bullying, or sex. But, if you arm them with the right tools, they can make it through these intense years and onto adulthood with fewer scars than most.

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Divorce. It’s the ugly “D” word. In fact, it causes emotions that are the direct antithesis of everything most people feel when they get married: joy, elation, excitement, hope. Rather than these, thoughts of divorce often lead to dread, embarrassment, fear, sadness. We usually don’t toss that word around lightly. At least we shouldn’t. I mean, not for stuff that’s fixable between two people in love. But recently, there’s a Facebook post that’s been making the rounds that has a lot of people talking. Essentially, it tosses out the “D” word as a compelling blowback to husbands who don’t handle a fair share of household and family responsibilities. It’s the answer offered to exhausted wives tired of taking care of babies, brooms, and bootie calls. Meanwhile, hubby is taking care of his “me” time playing golf or, worse yet, in his man cave, at home, “watching the game!” Yeah. We get it. There are some lazy, selfish, husband-wannabes out there. But is divorce a substantive response to a conversation that needs to be had? Let’s talk about it.

I have two teenage boys, 13 and 15. They know how to cook, clean, and take care of me. Why? Because both I and my husband require it of them. To be sure, I married a man whose mother was fierce. She had both a gentle touch and a steely backbone. There was no room for misogynistic ideologies in her presence. And though the world got a hold of him and offered different societal and military perspectives, her training had deep roots.

What’s the point?

Well, for each of you to do your “fair share,” I think there are three Ds that could prove viable first, second and third steps to addressing and eventually working through this issue.

Divorce: Is It the Answer to Lazy Husband Syndrome?

In this article:

  1. Discuss
  2. Decide
  3. Detach

So, that Facebook post hit a lot of nerves and women are all up in arms about ditching these lazy men. The author in some ways equates this laziness to abuse and many women agree. Now, I will neither tell a woman to leave her man nor stay in an abusive relationship.

But, watch out now.

We need to be very careful when we start slinging around the word abuse. There are some women dealing with some harsh, life-threatening realities who might not take too kindly to referring to a lazy husband as an abusive one. That said, let’s take divorce off the table for a minute and see what else is out there.

 
 

Discuss

Here’s the thing. When dealing with what can be considered a “normal” relationship, each couple needs to agree on what rules are in the playbook. By and large, when women end up airing their grievances on the world wide web, they haven’t had a serious sit down with their man. There’s often an unspoken understanding that he does the “man” stuff and she does the “woman” stuff. And, for ages, society has determined what “man” stuff and “woman” stuff is. So, she sits in her rocking chair with her newborn at 2 am crying about her newfound status because she’s accepted the societal norm.

She might try dropping a hint about her struggle which her clueless, and/or possibly lazy, man fails to pick up. When that doesn’t work, she might take the passive-aggressive route to deal with the situation. When that also fails, she’s on social media or in some mom group dragging her man.

Have a real conversation. Sit with your spouse…and your pastor or therapist if necessary. Have a next level discussion about what you each need to bring to the table now that life is changing. Then, take step two.

 

Decide

Now that you’ve had a real discussion, make a decision. As a couple, decide what “fair share” means for your relationship. Don’t fall back on societal norms, whether old or new. Make a plan that you both agree will work for you and then move on to step three.

As a side note, if you can’t reach an agreement, the problem that’s holding your relationship hostage isn’t just a lazy husband. Getting professional help might be necessary if you both want to make your marriage work.

 

Detach

Okay. This is probably going to be the toughest part. Actually, not probably…it is the toughest part. Once you’ve decided as a couple what you will each be responsible for, detach yourself from your spouse’s responsibilities. If he’s got dish duty, walk away from the dirty sink. When the baby starts screaming at 3 am on his watch, let the baby cry. If it’s his turn to bus the kids to soccer, don’t you do it.

I get that you don’t like a dirty house or crying babies. But if you want and asked for change, if you require change, then you should expect it. Just as with my teenage children, if you require it, in a “normal” relationship, it will get done. However, if you’ve gone through steps one and two but refuse to implement step three, you place the rules of your relationship playbook in serious jeopardy. Be patient and walk away.

Things won’t necessarily be perfect. But dragging your man through the social media mud will become a thing of the past. And hopefully, divorce will no longer be on the table.

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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No one ever wants to hear bad news about their health. Whether you go to the doctor for a routine visit or you’re forced to see a specialist because of a specific new ailment, most of us desire a positive outcome. But what do you do if you’re suddenly faced with sickness in your marriage? It was July 15, 2018 when my friend Chloe found out she had breast cancer. Though a devastating diagnosis, Chloe credits much of her fighting spirit not only with God, but with her husband Mike. From the very beginning, Mike’s attitude was that they would get through it. Chloe believed him. Married 25 years, they had seen their fair share of trouble. But their relationship had been rooted in Christ for a long time and their faith would have to guide them through this one.

5 Scriptures to Help You Through Sickness in Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. Leave your guilt behind – 2 Corinthians 12:9
  2. Empathize with your spouse – Philippians 1:27
  3. Seek God for yourself – Deuteronomy 4: 29-31
  4. Get the right perspective – Galatians 6:9
  5. Remember your vows – Proverbs 24:10 

So, this is breast cancer awareness month. In some ways, it seems almost flippant to refer to Chloe’s diagnosis as merely “trouble.” I mean, regardless of how far we’ve come with modern science, a cancer diagnosis is still a crushing blow to the psyche. Many of us, self included, would find it a difficult barrier to overcome. For those who are married, it’s comforting to know you have someone by your side to help you through a major sickness in your marriage. At least it should be. Unfortunately, the toll an illness places on a marriage can lead to separation if you have nothing to fall back on. In addition to scriptures that helped sustain Chloe’s faith, here are some verses to help you in the fight when your physical and spiritual walk are put to the test.

 

Leave Your Guilt Behind – 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s not easy to watch your spouse suffer. Regardless of which spouse you are, the healthy caregiver or the sick partner, each one can feel burdened by the other’s pain. Chloe struggled with the hardship she felt her sickness put on Mike. But she knew if they were going to make it through, she had to come to grips with God’s and Mike’s grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

 

Empathize With Your Spouse – Philippians 1:27

One of the things that has helped Mike and Chloe is placing themselves in each other’s shoes. Try to understand what your spouse is facing. Talk to them about their struggle. Then treat them the way you would want to be treated. By showing empathy, you strengthen your bond and your faith through the process.

Philippians 1: 27 – “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”

 

Seek God for Yourself – Deuteronomy 4:29-31

In order to empathize with your spouse, you must be able to draw strength from your own personal walk with God. Regardless of how strong Mike is in his faith, Chloe knew she couldn’t get through this fight without seeking God out for herself. If you are facing sickness in your marriage, seeking God for yourself is a must.

 

Deuteronomy 4:29-31 – ” But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”

 

Get the Right Perspective – Proverbs 24:10

Mike considers it an honor to care for his wife. Chloe recognizes the importance of letting Mike know she needs him. Though they are facing this battle from two different perspectives, staying the course is not a cakewalk. Sickness is emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing on both spouses. But the right perspective is sure to keep you strong.

Proverbs 24:10 – “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!”

 

Remember Your Vows – Galatians 6:9

I saved this scripture for last because if all else fails, this one shouldn’t. Times of trouble are bound to come. Many times, our vows are the only thing keeping our relationship standing. So when facing sickness in your marriage, remember your commitment to your partner “in sickness and in health.” Remembering your vows improves your chances of not growing weary when times are tough.

Galatians 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

For Mike and Chloe, it’s breast cancer and they are trusting in God and standing firm on their vows. For you and your spouse, it may be something else. No matter what your situation, the right scripture can help you through some of your hardest days. As it says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Marvin Gaye’s smooth voice singing “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You” is one of the most renowned relationship songs out there. Released in 1965, it has helped couples love and last for decades. But what does it mean to be loved, especially in marriage? Of course, that’s the million-dollar question that has a million different answers. I mean, in every relationship, love languages vary. It’s important to demonstrate love according to your spouse’s needs. But there are some universal actions that, regardless of your love language, speak to the heart and give strength to a relationship. So we thought it fitting that with Sweetest Day around the corner, we’d share some tried and true behaviors that not only give you a sweet day but a sweet life with your spouse.

5 Sweetest Day Hacks to Create the Sweetest Life With Your Spouse

In this article:

  1. Write a love letter
  2. Give a “just because” gift
  3. Spend time talking and listening
  4. Be thoughtful
  5. Pray for your spouse

Before we get the ball rolling, let me just say that I’m not trying to sell you on another “holiday.” I get that there are commercialized celebrations (some say this is Valentine’s Day for men) that place unnecessary pressure on relationships that, frankly, can be a nuisance. But our goal here is to help make relationships stronger. So there’s no reason that the things done on Sweetest Day, if you “celebrate” it, can’t be done throughout the year.

 

Write a love letter

Okay, this may be an archaic piece of advice. In an era where text messages rule and pre-written cards are on the shelves, why bother? But this practice is for more than just the receiver. The sender, or giver, who takes time to actually handwrite the letter will have a moment of clarity that’s hard to come by in everyday life. It gives you the chance to reflect on your relationship, your spouse, and the reasons your life with them is important. Once or twice a year on a day they would least expect it, write a letter to your spouse expressing your love, your gratitude, and your hope for the future.

 

Give a “just because” gift

Whether it’s for Sweetest Day or any other special occasion, a nice gift is always a good look. But what about those days that are not so “special?” Well, a “gift” doesn’t always have to come wrapped up in a pretty bow. If you know your spouse, you know what makes their heart flutter.

  • Bring breakfast in bed
  • Iron their clothes
  • Buy a special piece of jewelry
  • Get them tickets to their favorite sporting event
  • Offer to take over a chore they normally handle
  • Give them a nice massage

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Whatever “language” moves your spouse’s heart, speak it often in your relationship.

 

Spend time talking and listening

It’s not unusual in relationships for each partner to enjoy different activities. For instance, while one of you likes watching football, the other is hooked on legal dramas. So it can be easy to find yourselves in different corners of the house on a daily basis. Get up. Leave your corner. Actually take time to talk to your spouse.

 

Sometimes, my husband and I will just do this. Whether it’s work or play, we will put it to the side, seek each other out, and chat. It’s not an emergency conversation. It’s not about the kids or bills or anything “important.” We just want to be in each other’s presence. Sometimes it’s serious. Most times it’s nothing but laughs. But it’s a necessary element in staying connected in our relationship.

You don’t need to wait for a Sweetest Day date to enjoy time with your spouse. Carve out a few minutes in your day to catch up and spend quality time with each other.

 

Be thoughtful

When you take time to talk with and listen to your spouse, you actually get a nugget. Take what they say and use it to bless your relationship. Maybe your wife had a hard day at work. Maybe your husband feels stressed about bills. Maybe your wife is craving her favorite icecream. Maybe your husband’s favorite football team is coming to town. It only takes a moment to think of a way to ease a fear or satisfy a desire.

Be thoughtful. Give your wife a foot rub. Plan a romantic night with your man. Buy the ice cream. Get game tickets or, if you can’t afford that, deck out the house in team colors and give him the remote.

What will matter more than the act itself is that you took the time to think about your spouse’s needs. The more you practice this, the easier it will be for them to share their hearts.

 

Pray for your spouse

This should be an easy one right? I mean, sure you can pray for your spouse on Sweetest Day, but this is definitely one of those “more often than not” hacks. While spending time listening to your spouse, you learn what areas of their life need prayer.

Then you pray. You can pray alone or you can pray together. Either way, pray.

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Sometimes, you should even fast. While being thoughtful is a good thing, it won’t fill every need your spouse has. By turning everything over to God, you let your spouse know you have their back on your knees.

In a few days, October 19th this year, it will be Sweetest Day. Go ahead and make that day special. Get the candy or the cake. Give the sweet gift. Just because it’s commercialized doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. But don’t forget that being sweet toward your spouse isn’t limited to one day a year. Make time throughout the week to give your relationship a little sugar and a little spice. Just like Marvin Gaye, your spouse will be singing…”how sweet it is to be loved by you.”

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Has anyone ever asked you to pray for them and you said you would…and then you forgot? I’ve been there. It’s one of those out of sight, out of mind situations that leave you feeling like crap the next time you see that person. Well, for married couples whose lives are held together by the ever-important third strand, forgetting to pray is not an option. Since we already have an article focusing on husbands covering their marriage in prayer, we thought we’d give the wives an opportunity to cover their husband from spiritual attack.

Wives: 3 Powerful Prayers to Cover Your Husband From Spiritual Attack

Spiritually responsible men pray. It’s a part of their DNA. But, also a part of their DNA, is the habit of trying to fix it all. When challenges hit the family, the husband stands at the ready to defend with his life. But a spiritual attack is no joke and he needs all the help he can get. It’s important to provide cover for three areas most susceptible to weakness: his mind, his health, and his heart.

 

Pray for his mind

One of the first places the devil hits is the mind. When your husband is doing his best to lead your marriage and protect your home, his mind is his most vulnerable asset. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us how important it is to keep the mind covered in prayer. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, when my husband’s mind comes under spiritual attack, I ask for your protection. I pray that you will help him stay focused on Jesus no matter what comes his way. When times are good, help him to praise you.

When times are bad, help him to praise you. On those days when he doesn’t know what to do to keep our family going, I pray that you help his mind to focus on you as the Giver of all things.

When his mind is under spiritual attack, help him to see You as the Leader of our home. Help him trust you, rely on you, and give his whole mind over to you. Instill faith and remove all doubt from his mind. I pray that he will seek guidance and gain wisdom from your word. Protect his mind from fear, depression, anxiety, pride, laziness, and feeling overwhelmed. Strengthen his mind today. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

 

Pray for his health

The next area often left defenseless when under spiritual attack is his health. As you cover his mind in prayer, remember to also cover his body. This is an area that can have a profound impact on his ability to follow through on his decision to trust God. 3 John 1: 2 gives you a good start. “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

 

Prayer: Lord, as my husband goes about his day, I pray you will keep watch over the health of his body. I ask your blessing on all that he consumes. I pray for strength when his body gets tired. In the face of any potential illness, help him to be resilient. And when he grows weak, hold up his arms. Keep him healthy so that he might focus on you. Protect his body from any and every threat. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

 

Pray for his heart

Of all the things your husband needs prayer for, protecting his heart should be considered one of your greatest priorities. Why? Because when a man loses heart, almost nothing else matters. Proverbs 17:22 says it all: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please protect my husband’s heart. Out of love for us, he gives our family everything he’s got. But please help his heart to stay strong and not grow weary. Give him victories every day to encourage him. Help him persevere in trial and find joy in times of peace. Protect his heart from his fear and in those moments when fear comes anyway, help him to fight through it. Whether in times of battle or times of peace, keep his heart fixed on Jesus. Continue to protect him with the breastplate of righteousness. Let your Holy Spirit flow through him and keep his heart from going astray. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Praying for your husband covers your family from spiritual attack. When he is strong, your marriage and your family is even stronger. Remember, a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Keep God as the head of your relationship and remember he has great plans for you. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Halloween is right around the corner. In our family, we don’t exactly “celebrate” this holiday, but we enjoy some of the more fun aspects of the occasion. Aside from the sugar rush, roasting marshmallows by the fire, hoarding candy, and spending time with friends has no downside. But many Christian families are turned off because of what the holiday represents. Without getting too deep, the historical significance of Halloween is rooted in the fear of ghosts, evil spirits, and mayhem. Whether your family goes all in for the holiday or just takes advantage of the social engagement that comes with it, this is a great time of year to pray for our children to be protected from evil spirits and mayhem. Here are five biblically inspired prayers to cover your children from spiritual attack.

5 Biblically Inspired Prayers to Cover Your Children from Spiritual Attack

Guidance

We all want our children to make wise choices. But before they can do that, they have to be taught how. There are so many things in this world fighting to influence our kids. Deuteronomy 11: 18-21 teaches us how to guide them and what we must do to protect their hearts and minds from bad influences.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NIV) Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are so many things clamoring for my child’s attention. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to let in and what to keep out. Please give me wisdom to guide my child. And please allow me, second only to you, to be there strongest influence in this world. Help us to have a great relationship so they will hear your word through me and make wise choices. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Belief

Once we are able to influence our children, it’s important they learn to believe that God’s word is true. Pray for them to not only listen to God’s word but to believe and do what it says. That kind of belief starts with you.

Mark 11:22-24 (NIV) “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray my child will grow to believe in you. Help me to set a good example of faith that they can follow. I pray they will see you through me. I pray their faith grows stronger every day and they will choose to live like they believe. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Trust

Even though we believe, it’s still hard to trust sometimes. Though they are often fearless, pray for your children to have unconditional trust in God.

Philippians 4:6, 19 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, When everything around my child goes crazy and they are tempted to doubt you, I pray they will trust you unconditionally. I pray they will not be afraid or worry. I pray they will rely on you without fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Image and Self Worth

Once our kids enter those teenage years, they are often bombarded with worldly images that draw their attention away from God and onto themselves. Pray for your child to see themselves in the image of God and to love themselves the way God made them. Pray they will value the gifts God has given them and not live their lives in comparison to others.

Psalm 139:13-14 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for the child you have blessed me with. I pray they will see themselves in your image. I pray they will embrace every part of who they are and love themselves as much as you love them. I pray that even if they are tempted by the images they see in the world, You will give them the strength to choose to be made and remade into your image every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Living life to the full

When our kids have direction, belief, trust, and a positive self-image, they can’t help but live life to its fullest. Pray that in an effort to live a full life, they will seek ways to serve God and others in the process.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for helping my child to embrace your word. I pray they will seek you, seek ways to serve you, and find ways to serve others. I pray you will grant them success in all they do. In the times when they lose their way, I pray they will pursue you once again and find you. I pray they will hold firmly to your word and never leave you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Perfect marriage? I can already hear all the comments! “There is no such thing as a perfect marriage.” “Perfect marriages don’t exist.” Well, I’m here to tell you that they do. The question is, are you willing to train your spouse in order to get one?

3 Ways to Train Your Spouse for a Perfect Marriage

 

I love the movie “How to Train Your Dragon.” It’s one of the best-animated films I’ve ever seen. Of course, as much as the digital graphics and cinematography were meant to captivate and delight children, the life messages for young and old can’t be missed. If you haven’t watched it, or if it’s been a while, revisit the movie if your marriage is going through some things. I found a few nuggets that, if taken to heart, can help you and your spouse produce the perfect marriage.

 

Remember It’s the Two of You Versus the World

In the movie, Hiccup goes against Viking tradition when he befriends rather than destroys his first dragon who he names Toothless. Now, when you are born and raised in a family of dragon slayers, that doesn’t exactly go over well at dinner. The two supposed enemies end up as best friends and must face off friend and foe alike. Marriage is no different. If you want a perfect marriage, you must remember that it’s the two of you against the world. Train your spouse…and yourself to embrace unity in your relationship. In good times, in bad times, in the in-between times, you join hands with your spouse and present a unified front. Period.

 

Never Leave Your Spouse Behind

In his attempt to kill Toothless at the start of the film, Hiccup inadvertently destroys his left tail rendering him incapable of flying. As their relationship develops, Hiccup thinks of a way to get Toothless back into the air. He builds an artificial tail, straps it to his dragon and they eventually have lift off.

Isn’t that what marriage is like? Things aren’t always great. And sometimes, one of you gets knocked down. But, if you train your spouse…and yourself to have your back no matter what, your marriage will have lift off again in no time.

A perfect marriage is not free of trouble. A perfect marriage is defined by how you treat your spouse when trouble comes. Do you tear down your spouse and leave them incapacitated on the sidelines? Do you take advantage of their weakness in order to make yourself feel better? Or, do you recognize and acknowledge your mistakes and then move heaven and earth to fix it? Train your spouse…and yourself, that when trouble comes you won’t leave each other behind. Period.

 

Don’t Allow Others to Define Your Relationship

Hiccup almost caught a beatdown from his tribe for joining hands with Toothless. I mean, after all, Toothless was a dragon and they killed dragons, not tamed them. His father, friends, and others did not believe dragons were tamable. They tried to do all they could to turn Hiccup against Toothless and dragons in general. However, Hiccup saw in Toothless what they didn’t. Rather than let them tell him what kind of relationship he would have with the dragon, he showed them the relationship he chose to have.

 

Your perfect marriage will be defined by you and your spouse and only you and your spouse. There will be plenty of people on the outside looking in and offering their take on your relationship. From the time you say “I do,” train your spouse…and yourself to be ruled only by what you each think of your relationship. If you allow others to define your arguments for you, your relationship suffers. If you give others a foothold on the decisions that need to be made in your marriage, your relationship suffers.

To get the perfect marriage, train your spouse…and yourself, to be the ones to define what that means. Period.

Sure, I get that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. But, all that means is that there is no marriage free of trouble. However, just as Hiccup and Toothless were able to overcome their differences and find meaning in what should have been an impossible relationship, so can you and your partner. Your marriage won’t look like anyone else’s. Your life won’t be like anyone else’s. But to train your spouse…and yourself to have the perfect marriage, you only have to know it’s perfect for the two of you. Period.

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I married my best friend. Not everyone gets to say that so I’m grateful. At the time my now husband proposed, we’d been dating for a year and a half. We got married four months after he popped the question. We didn’t need anything too fancy, or pricey. Rather than simply prepare for a wedding together, we prepared for a lifetime together.  That’s what marrying your best friend does. It gives you perspective on what’s important. A lifetime of love is what every married couple wants. Marrying your best friend is one way to get it.

3 Ways Marrying Your Best Friend Ensures a Lifetime of Love

  1. Respect – Keeping it real means keeping it respectful with your best friend.
  2. Loyalty – You never have to wonder who’s your ride or die.
  3. Love – The better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health kind of love.

With the divorce rate standing at 50% in this country, it’s clear that at least half of us get married for the wrong reason or to the wrong person.

Watch some of these “reality” shows and you’ll realize that some of those couples have no business getting married. Bachelor party sex romps and wedding day cuss-fests make it clear that the relationship has devolved into a fight for ratings rather than a relationship.

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So, what’s the cure? Well, “cure” might be a strong word. Maybe what’s needed is the right recipe. There are many ingredients to a good marriage. There are even more to a healthy marriage. But ultimately, they all boil down to three things when you’re married to your best friend: respect, loyalty, and love. Keeping these three as the main ingredients makes it easier to season your days and spice up your nights with the one who knows you best.

 

Respect

Keeping it real means keeping it respectful with your best friend. On the one hand, you can get so comfortable that you don’t care how you communicate with your partner. But when someone is truly the closest human soul to you, you choose to guard your tongue. The last thing you want to do is hurt them.

When your best friend hurts, you hurt. So during tough conversations, rather than fly off the handle, you speak your truth with respect. You speak to your spouse with love. A lifetime of communicating that way means a lifetime of peace, even when times get hard.

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Loyalty

You never have to wonder who’s your ride or die after marrying your best friend. It’s a given that respect in your relationship leads to loyalty. Your spouse has your back and you have theirs. Always. Without doubt. In public. In private.

There’s an unbreakable bond that’s forged when two people have each other’s best interests at heart. When loyalty is evident, it also puts everyone else on notice. In fact, “what God has joined together, let no one separate” is loyalty’s creed. Essentially, a lifetime of love with your best friend is easier when loyalty is on the table.

 

Love

Love is a tricky word. If you think about it, most marriages claim to have that as the main ingredient. So how can the divorce rate be so high? Well, I’m talking about the “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” kind of love. This is the kind that will last a lifetime after marrying your best friend. With it comes laughter, joy, pain, sorrow, courage, fear, falling down, and getting up. It’s a love that will take you through anything life throws at your relationship. It’s not just a noun, it’s a verb. In effect, it must move beyond words into action. So sure, it’s a tricky word. But when marrying your best friend, it doesn’t have to be.

My husband is still my best friend. He became that for many reasons. But when it comes to our marriage, respect, loyalty, and love have remained constant. And for that, I’ll be grateful for a lifetime.

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Another weekend has come and gone and you and your spouse spent it doing the “same ole, same ole.” He mowed the lawn. You did the laundry. Later, you both watched TV then went to bed. Yawn! Don’t get me wrong. The love is still there. However, you weren’t shocked to find your wedding picture next to “boring marriage” on the internet. How did this happen? You two were the talk of the town during your courtship. You had so much fun together. But, at some point, you settled into a routine that left your marriage wanting. Now, you’re ready to turn the tables and set things back in motion. The question is, where should you start?

Boring Marriage? 2 Stupid Simple Ways to Spice Things Up

  1. Turn off the TV.
  2. Leave the house.

Making a decision to spice things up in your relationship is the easy part. Following through is where things get tough. Chances are you’ve worked pretty hard all week. By the time Friday comes around, you’re beyond tired. In fact, just the thought of doing anything outside of curling up in front of the TV wears you out. But a boring marriage isn’t what you signed up for so it’s time to make some changes. It’s time to spice things up and here are two extremely stupid simple ways to do just that!

 

Turn off the TV

Stupid. Simple. Not much else needs to be said here. However, just in case you’ve fooled yourself into thinking TV is a “fun” part of your relationship, let me help you out. Whether it’s watching Game of Thrones, a saving the whales documentary, or Martin re-runs, a night spent in front of the tube makes the “boring list” for marriage activity. Sure, once in a while, a night of Netflix and chill can turn into something more. But chances are if your marriage is boring, it’s time to let that idea go.

Whip out some cards and play strip poker. Grab a photo album and reminisce about the good old days. Have some friends over and get your spades game on. Turn on the radio. Dance a little salsa. Or let Luther take you…ahem…there.

Whatever you choose, just turn off the TV and make it spicy!

 

Leave the House

The comforts of home can make slaves of us all. At home, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of dressing to the nines and putting on makeup and tipping the server. Complacency creeps in and excitement creeps out. Finding a sitter takes a backseat to finding the right channel. What were once nights to remember have turned into nights you’d just as soon forget.

Enough said. It’s time to leave the house.

But for a couple whose nightlife has grown stale, what’s there to do? It wouldn’t hurt to call up some friends and schedule a double date. If your dating game is a little rusty, there’s no shame in tagging along with a couple who’s always on the move. Once you get started, you’ll find yourself planning some wild nights on the town by yourself. Here are some things you can look forward to:

 
  • Take some dance lessons together
  • Spice up your life with a cooking class
  • Go enjoy a day at an amusement park
  • Take in an outdoor…or indoor concert
  • A picnic in the park can be a lot of fun
  • Drive to a nearby city and take in the sights
  • Dinner without the movie also has its perks
  • A day at the beach, the lake, the pond…make it work for you

There are options galore for bringing some spice back into your relationship. But first, you have to take a sobering look at your time and see if you’re sharing the best time of your life with the love of your life. If you give in to complacency and neglect your thirst for excitement, your marriage will suffer.

I promised you two stupid-simple ways to spice up your boring marriage. And, that’s what you got. But by doing just those two things alone, you open up your relationship to a host of possibilities. Consider the effort you put into dating your spouse. Light that fire again in your marriage and sparks are bound to fly!

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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“She’s your – Queen to be!” If you’ve ever seen “Coming to America,” these lyrics and the way they are sung stand out in the movie. Sang out of tune and high pitched, it was the first line to the song introducing Eddie Murphy’s character, Prince Akeem Joffer, to his bride to be, at least the one who had been arranged for him since birth. After her grand entrance, Akeem attempts to have a private chat with her. Since it’s their first meeting, he tries to get to know her, you know, her likes and dislikes. He soon learns that her whole life, she’s been trained to do one thing: meet his needs and his needs only. Unhappy with their choice for him, Akeem sets out to America to find his bride, someone who can serve alongside him as king and queen when his time comes to rule Zamunda.

King and Queen: How to Treat Your Spouse Like Royalty

  1. Respect their mind
  2. Follow their heart
  3. Love their spirit
  4. Serve their body
  5. Obey their intentions
 

Respect their mind

When Akeem attempts to learn about his arranged bride, he asks her about the things that she likes. Her answer was always the same. She liked whatever he liked. And, she would do whatever he told her to do. So, he asks her bark like a dog. And, she does. Now, we laugh at that scene because it’s a movie and it’s funny. However, the lesson here is that Akeem wanted a woman, a queen, he could respect.

As king and queen in a relationship, it’s important to have a high level of respect for your spouse. Respecting their independence of thought, their ability to think and act for themselves is the first place to start. Though the husband might lead the relationship, he seeks his wife’s thoughts in every area. Different points of view help us to grow as people and a good king and queen know that it makes your union that much more exciting and your bond that much stronger.

 

Follow their heart

Treating your spouse like royalty may start with respect, but it means nothing if you can’t understand and follow their heart. Always assume the good about your partner. Often times in relationships, especially during moments of conflict, frustrations abound when our hearts are misunderstood.

In the movie, Akeem travels to America and meets Lisa. As he courts her, not only does he hide his royal heritage, he presents himself as extremely poor. Upon learning his true status, Lisa is very upset. To her, it appeared as though he were testing her heart whereas, for him, he just wanted to be loved as a man, not a prince. There may be times when your partner’s actions are questionable. But to treat them like royalty, it’s important to first believe in the goodness of their character. For Akeem and Lisa, they both learned the lesson that they should assume the good and not the worst about their partner’s heart. You should do the same.

 

Love their spirit

When Akeem first meets Lisa, he’s smitten. Is she beautiful? Yes. But as he gets to know her, he’s not only struck by the softness of her smile, he’s also moved by the kindness of her spirit. Learning to love the spiritual energy your partner brings to your relationship is an important way to treat them like royalty.

 

Serve their body

Yes. I said, “serve.” Intimacy in a king and queen relationship is about just that, service. Finding out your partner’s likes and dislikes when it comes to sexual pleasure is an important step in treating them like royalty. Rather than focusing solely on your personal needs, there is tremendous satisfaction in meeting the needs of your spouse. Whether it’s engaging in foreplay or touching them where they like to be touched, the royal treatment is service oriented.

 

Obey their intentions

I have to say it’s unfortunate that when it comes to marriage, the word obey has gotten a really bad rap. I can’t say it’s without good reason. It has been abused so often that the intent of it has been completely twisted. When you are in a king and queen relationship, understanding each other’s intentions and being obedient to it doesn’t have to be complicated. It requires gratitude and humility to both see where your spouse is coming from as well as obey their requests of you. When you choose to see their point of view and submit your will to theirs, you are letting them know you uphold them as royalty in your life. It doesn’t mean you blindly follow, it just means you respect their role as your partner in the relationship.

 

In Coming to America, Akeem finds his bride. He found someone who he was will to respect, follow, love, serve, and obey. Lisa was also willing to do the same for Akeem. As the eventual king and queen if Zamunda, they could not rule as one without these qualities. For your family, your own little nation to be its best, you must treat your spouse like royalty. These five qualities are a great way to start.

BMWK, in what ways do you treat your spouse like royalty?

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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I dated a millionaire miser. His name was Peter, and it was one of the most toxic relationships I’d ever been in. But, it was also one of the most transformational.

I can thank Peter for teaching me a few surprising things about love and money. Maybe you’ll benefit from learning them, too.

Money Is a Stand-In for Many of Our Values

I grew up in a household where money was hard to come by. Once I entered the working world, I became obsessed with saving money as a way to avoid poverty, as opposed to building wealth or funding professional and personal opportunities for growth. My thinking has since evolved, and I have come to view money as a tool to help me live life on my terms, which includes saving, spending, donating and investing.

In dating a miser, I witnessed how money could be used as a weapon to punish and control. Peter believed his wealth entitled him to speak poorly to waitresses, department store staff or anyone that he felt had less money than he did.

Dating a Financial Extreme Can Be the Wake-Up Call You Need

While dating Peter, I saw him read books in their entirety and return them to bookstores, haggle over the price of end-of-day pizza, skimp on tips and manipulate situations to get out of buying costly gifts. Observing these behaviors forced me to reflect on my own. While I had never done any of these things, it made me think about some of my unsavory financial actions and motivations.

Since dating Peter, I’ve adjusted some of my money behaviors: I tip at least 15 percent; I still love a discount, but don’t become despondent when I don’t receive one (specifically if I can outright afford it); I think about price as much as I do value when making a purchase.

Love should be easy in the beginning, but I soon found myself rolling my eyes at how Peter treated money, and by extension, the world around him: one-sided, self-absorbed and extremely demanding. In hindsight, I should have ended the three-month relationship sooner, but the bottom line was that it had to end and it did.

Misers Make Financial Intimacy Hard, but Financial Infidelity Easy

Cultivating financial intimacy, or the ability to communicate openly and honestly about money with your partner, is difficult to do with a miser. In the short time that we dated, Peter didn’t like the idea that I worked and wanted me to stop working if we were to get serious, despite my core (non-negotiable) beliefs of financial independence and career fulfillment. Even though there was never a chance that I would ever marry this man, I already thought about ways to hide my financial and career advancements and achievements while we dated, which would only deepen in a marriage to a man that wanted to dominate, if not, oppress financially.

I ended this jaunt of a relationship with Peter nearly ten years ago. It’s still one of the most memorable relationships I’ve had — not for the love, but for the lessons. If my life were a book, then Peter would have been my foil, the character that shows qualities that are in contrast with the qualities of the protagonist (me). The foil’s ultimate objective is to highlight the traits of the other character.

From Peter, I learned about how much love I had to give (and wanted to give) by how much love he withheld. From Peter, I learned that I wanted to use money as a way to express gratitude and appreciation for myself and others by experiencing how he systemically shortchanged and reduced the people in his life, including me. And for that, I will always be grateful.

 

Source: http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/blog/

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One of my dearest friends got married at the end of last year. The destination wedding, which took place on some of the most gorgeous beaches of Mexico, was hands-down one of the most exquisite ceremonies I had ever witnessed. And, as one of her five bridesmaids, it was also one of the most expensive

When I agreed to accept the invitation of being a bridesmaid, I knew I was also accepting the financial responsibilities that accompanied a destination wedding.

Bridesmaid Costs for a Destination Wedding

Regarding numbers, there were several costs that I had to incur. Here’s exactly how much it cost me to be a bridesmaid at a wedding in Mexico:

Bridesmaid Cost Breakdown
Expense Cost
Bridesmaid Dress $200
Flight to Mexico $400
Checked Bags $80
Wedding Makeup $70
Bachelorette Party $70
Bachelorette Party Gifts $40
Hotel $780
Total $1,640

Being a Bridesmaid: Cost vs. Value

Witnessing my girlfriend’s journey from single woman to married woman with a man that she loves was one of my deepest joys. I loved landing in Mexico and feeling my advanced Spanish flow out of me — I felt like a bilingual goddess. I loved ordering room service and eating Mexican burritos in my underwear every morning for breakfast. I loved all of the hoopla and fuss associated with the day; I loved running to a fellow bridesmaid’s hotel room and faux freaking out about getting to the wedding on time. I loved being silly and looking at how round our booties were in the mirror once we put on our bridesmaid dresses. I loved taking #selfies and #usies at the reception and chitchatting with the invitees at my table.

IMG_1393.jpg

IMG_1393.jpghttp://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IMG_1393-113x150.jpg 113w, http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IMG_1393-768x1022.jpg 768w, http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IMG_1393-610x812.jpg 610w" alt="" width="331" height="440" />I’ve known the bride since we were in high school. We interned at the same soul-sucking insurance company for two years and wobbled down Wall Street’s cobbled corners in high heels together. She was also my bridesmaid. And a deft one at that: She played referee when my mom and I went almost to blows on the floors of David’s Bridal when searching for my wedding dress.

In short, when I think of our 20-year friendship and all the various way this woman taught me about the power of family, forgiveness and faith, it was an honor to be one of the chosen ones. As a bridesmaid, I was able to create another memory with my friend and the cost of it, though hefty, was outweighed by the emotional returns of that day.

When the Value Is High but So Is the Cost

I understand my perspective is not the same for everyone. The decision to drop nearly $2,000 — the equivalent of startup funds for an online business, a mortgage payment or two, a used car or the cost of a college course at a local college — requires a lot of financial thinking, analysis and planning, even when you care deeply about the bride and groom. Consider asking yourself the following questions to help you determine whether accepting a role in the wedding party at a far-off destination is really worth it:

    • Will participating in this wedding put me into debt?
    • Can I afford to pay for everything in cash?
    • Have recent or upcoming life events like purchasing a home, a layoff or divorce created financial holes or gaps?
    • Do I consider this person a true friend?
    • Would they do the same for me?
  • Could I recoup the cost in some way? Could it be covered as a business expense? Could I extend my stay so I can have a vacation?

No matter what you decide, when it becomes to being a bridesmaid, your friend — if they are a true friend — will respect your (financial) decision.

 

 

Source: http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/blog/

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I’ve been with my current financial advisor, James, for close to 15 years. In a recent conversation, he shared his first impression of me, which, surprisingly, wasn’t complimentary at all. He said that after I entered his office to discuss retirement, he thought he’d never see me again.

In his experience, potential clients would show great initial interest in planning for retirement, but would never garner the discipline or commitment to execute a plan. His anecdotal experiences mirror what’s happening nationwide. A recent survey from GOBankingRates found that 42 percent of Americans have no more than $10,000 saved for retirement, which isn’t even enough to cover a year’s worth of expenses in retirement, according to the BLS. Further, nearly 14 percent have nothing saved at all.

What James didn’t know about me when we first met was that I had seen family members lose their homes, beg for bus fare and contemplate suicide because they had no money in their twilight years. I didn’t want to suffer the same fate.

After we had our initial meeting, I returned the next week with my first deposit: $100. And, I made sure that every month I scheduled a $100 deduction to go toward retirement so I could have a cushy future. Besides automating my retirement, here are three other money moves I made to set myself up to retire comfortably.

No. 1: I Opened a Retirement Savings Account Early (Even With Debt)

A GOBankingRates survey, conducted via Survata, asked 1,000 adults with $0 saved what the main reason for their lack of savings was. The No. 1 response was, perhaps unsurprisingly, “I don’t make enough money” (40 percent).

When I first met James, I was in my 20s, a classroom teacher and had student loan debt. But, that didn’t stop me. I started with as much as I could afford and increased how much I contributed on a yearly basis. James also encouraged me to speak to my human resources department to find out about how to take advantage of my employer’s Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) options. Once I eliminated my student loan, I had grown so used to living on less, I was able to funnel even more money toward my retirement savings without feeling deprived.

No. 2: I Questioned Consumerism

During my financial journey, I lived at the extremes of the spender-saver spectrum. There were times when I deprived myself of the basics of life in the name of saving a dollar. On the other hand, there were periods of time when I spent frivolously in the spirit of self-care and self-love. But, after reading Julia Schor’s seminal “The Overspent American,” I began to fully make sense of money and how Americans use status spending to keep them focused on material acquisition rather than wealth-building. This book offered a tempered approach to spending: If you buy to impress others, you’ll be unhappy and be shopping forever, so avoid it. This book reinforced my decisions to buy a moderate home (instead of a McMansion), frequent thrift stores even though I can afford more, and indulge in experiences and activities that matter to me independent of their popularity.

No. 3: I Started a Side Hustle

While I never thought of The Frugal Feminista as a form of retirement income, it is. A business, whether part time or full time, could generate enough income to make a huge difference in how you experience your retirement. An additional source of income can determine how much you travel, where you decide to relocate (if necessary) and how generous you can be to organizations and causes that align with your values.

While I have at least three more decades in the workforce, I know that my approach to saving for retirement through simple living, entrepreneurship and good ol’ savings will ensure that I retire like a boss. Will you?

 

Source: http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/blog/

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Getting your college degree is one of the primary things that will shape your future, and your earning potential when you go into the world of work. Not only this, but it will also enable you to foster the values of independence and time-keeping, and it will also help you to adapt to a multitude of social environments.

Whilst there are many benefits of college, the truth is that it is a very expensive option. How are you supposed to get through your degree, without ending up with an unmanageable amount of debt? We’ve put together some quick tips.

 

Look for part-time work

Part-time work will enable you to save some cash whilst you get your college degree, and it also helps you to manage your time more efficiently. Whilst many people work in cafes, bars and restaurants, or perhaps in retail roles, you could get more money for less time spent working if you seek tutoring jobs, essay writing roles, or writing on a freelance basis. Think about how you can get some extra cash, without compromising your studies, and subsequently the result of your degree.

Study remotely

If you don’t want to have to splash out for the expensive costs associated with college, such as accommodation prices and the commuting expenses, then it could be a good idea to look into doing your degree via an online college. You will still get the same amount of support, and the same materials, but you can save money and time by doing your degree from home, or even from your local coffee shop. This is also ideal for parents who are looking for an increased sense of flexibility.

Limit your (expensive) social time

When you’re at college, you want to be sure that you’re meeting new people as often as possible, and that you’re establishing yourself socially. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, but if you get pulled too far into the social side of college, you could find yourself splashing out on food, drinks, and events on almost every night of the week. Go to free (or cheap) social events as often as you can, and try to limit the amount of times that you head out to those more expensive restaurants.

Make your meals in advance at home

If you really want to save yourself some cash at college, you should be avoiding expensive lunches – and meals in general – as much as you can. A good way to do this is to make sure that you plan out some of your meals in advance, and make big batches of food so that you can take it into college for a few days in a row. This way, you can save yourself time instead of constantly cooking, and you can also save some money that you would have spent in the cafeteria, getting that lunchtime fix.

So, if you want to save money whilst getting your college degree, then keep these things in mind, and you should come out of the other side with less debt!

 

Source: http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/blog/

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MEET KARA

Hi!  I’m Kara, founder of The Frugal Feminista!

Welcome! The Frugal Feminista was created from a deep  place of love, advocacy, and joy that comes from understanding the brilliance and beauty of black women; and knowing the role that money can play in helping them live life on their own terms.

Our mission.

What sets The Frugal Feminista apart from other personal finance and personal development sites is our approach to helping black women step into their financial confidence, demolish their debt, and set themselves up to achieve financial ease. We approach money healing through: Sisterhood. Support. Sacred Self-Care. Solid Steps and Strategies. 

 

Consider me your financial friend.

When I was scrapping and clawing my way out of $65k worth of student loan and consumer debt, $40k of which I was able to eliminate in two years, I learned sooooo much about money, but sooooo much more about myself.

I came face-to- face with the limits that I put on myself and the limited and unhealthy beliefs I held about money.

Hands down, I think brown girls get a bad rap when it comes to how we understand our worth, goodness, and positioning in society. And for all intents and purpose, so does money: Everyone wants it, talks about it,  dreams about it, but rarely knows how to handle it with care and purpose.

And as your financial friend,  I  teach,  coach, and guide you to moving your money mess to a money makers. On top of that, I provide you with the right resources and supports to get you there.

 

So when I created  The Frugal Feminista, I wanted to make sure that I told the truth and nothing but the truth about black women and money. No where on the web will you find a site that simultaneously helps brown girls heal, deepen, and strengthen not only their relationship with themselves, but also with their money. It’s an ambitious mission, but one I feel completely committed and qualified to do.

 

Since 2013, I’ve worked with thousands of women as a writer, coach, consultant, and speaker on helping black women break up with being broke, break free from the money blocks and personal hurdles that keep them from financial confidence, living a debt free life, and owning their piece of financial peace. On top of that, I’ve partnered with a number of brands to spread this message. From Prudential to Chrysler to Dove to Dryel, The Frugal Feminista has worked with quality brands with campaigns that align with our mission: financial empowerment and personal development that is authentic, kind, and thoughtful.

One of my greatest hopes is that the content on The Frugal Feminista makes you feel like you’ve just finished a loooong, cool glass of lemonade. I hope the writing and messages make you smack your lips, throw your head back, and come back for seconds.

I want you to feel that good. That poured into.

Here are a few articles to get you started!

3 Lessons A Trip to DC Taught Me About My Money Issues

Maurice The Miser: A Financial Loser You Must Avoid

3 Simple Ways to Rebuild Your Credit

Black Women As Minimalists. The Next Needed Trend?

Is Minimalism Your Cure for Clutter and Debt?

8 Places to Sell Your Used Clothes for Cash

9 Things I Did to Pay Back My $40K Student Loan Debt in Two Years

5 Different Ways to Save $1,400 This Year Doing the 52-Week Savings Challenge

She Get It From Her Mama: Parents and the Formation of Financial Identities

Witty is Sexy: The 7-Part Formula to Being Witty

From Fatherless Daughter to Happy Wife

Enjoy and drop me a note about what resonated with you most at kara@thefrugalfeminista.com.

And one last thing. I always like it when tribe leaders share a little more about themselves. Sooooo, I wanted to do the same!! 

10-Random-Facts-About-Me-Banner.pnghttp://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/10-Random-Facts-About-Me-Banner-768x284.png 768w, http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/10-Random-Facts-About-Me-Banner-600x222.png 600w, http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/10-Random-Facts-About-Me-Banner-610x226.png 610w" alt="10 Random Facts About Me Banner" width="851" height="315" />

1. Jamaica Kincaid is my favorite writer! One of my dreams came true in 2015 when I met her and gave her a hug. I asked her for her email address and she gave it to me. I wrote her three emails, but she never responded. My husband says that I crossed the line from being a fan to becoming a full-fledged hiding-in-the-bushes-with-sunglasses-at-nighttime stalker when I contemplated writing a fourth. Perhaps he was right. I eventually stopped thinking about sending a fourth…eventually.

2. I love retreats. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Retreats give me time to reflect, rejuvenate, and review my plans for world domination. My favorite low-cost, high-quality retreat center is in Haines Falls, NY.

3. I’m a fake vegan. Please don’t judge me. LOL. I don’t know how many times I’ve started and failed the transition from full-on meat eater to vegan. The struggle is so real, but I can’t stop, won’t stop. 

4. Getting into debt and out of debt was one of the best things that have happened to me. It helped me discover my passion for personal finance and helping women that look like me get their financial lives in tip-top shape.

5. I like a dollop of ratchet reality television. I’m #TeamNene all day. Don’t care.

6. I’m a therapy evangelist (stole that title from a good friend) so, it’s not surprising that one of my favorite movies is Good Will Hunting, which is largely about a mutually transformative relationship between a therapist and his patient.

7. I’ve had locs for close to seventeen years and I’ve cut them short at least three times and threaten to chop them all off  (with the exception of two teeny tiny ones at the front) during the hottest months of the year.

8. Next year, I will be in Antigua (pronounced An-te-ga, not An-te-gua) playin’ mass. Yes. Yes. Yes.

9. I was a Fulbright Semi-finalist. My proposal focused on how IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) negatively impacted Ghanaian market women in the informal sector.

10. Although I claim that every song is MY jam, I only know all the words to about three songs, four if the song is played in the background while I sing.

Bonus Factoid: 11. I’m very much an introvert. I love spending time with and in my thoughts. But I do love people and hearing their stories, which makes me a great listener and the best secret keeper.

Bonus, Bonus Factoid: 12. I’d rather be happy than I credit to my race. I renounce, reject, and rebuke all gender, class, and race constructs that keep me from being authentically Kara.  I believe The Strong Black Woman trope, in particular,  is a straight up conspiracy  ( a C-O-N-SPIRACY) to strangle every bit of happiness that brown, brilliant, black girls harvest and hide for themselves.

 Bonus, Bonus, Bonus Factoid: 13. I’m a new mama. And on some days I feel like I know what I’m doing. And on other most days, not so much.
 
Talk soon!
 
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The conventional financial advice that extols the benefits of skipping a $5 latte in order to pocket between $1,300 and $1,820 (depending on your frequency) a year is short-sighted. Don’t get me wrong, saving $1,820 a year is a step in the right direction, but it’s not a high-leverage strategy to build wealth. It’s not even the most efficient way to reduce your expenses.

Rather than eliminate my sip of happiness in pursuit of financial freedom, here’s what I’m doing to reach my long-term financial goals.

I Bought a Smaller Home

When my husband and I decided to pursue homeownership, we opted for a home that cost less than 20 percent of our gross income. This is close to 10 percent lower than the rule of thumb that advises people spend 29 percent of their gross income on housing expenses. We’ll save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run with this saving hack. This same approach can be applied to other big-ticket items like cars and appliances.

I Found a Higher Paying Job

One of my biggest revelations as a personal finance educator is that there is a limit to how much you can reduce your expenses, but (theoretically) is no limit to how much money you can earn. In applying this to the latte argument, I decided that I wanted to make enough money where “splurging” on a latte wouldn’t break my budget.

I Started a Side-Hustle

I created The Frugal Feminista as an additional stream of income. With an online business, I don’t have to pinch pennies by cutting out lattes. With a side hustle, I can run daily, weekly and monthly sales to reach revenue goals that exceed the annual cost of indulging in a latte 365 days a year.

I Applied the ‘Love vs. Like’ Rule to Purchases

A nice, warm latte helps me focus; it’s something that I look forward to when I journal or daydream about the future of my family and my business. Technically, I don’t need it, but I do love what it symbolizes, and it’s part of my “all about me” ritual. So, rather than eliminate it, I found other areas of my spending that weren’t as meaningful to focus on. For example, I realized I spent a lot of money on taxis and Uber at one time in my financial life because I was being lazy and didn’t want to wake up early enough to take the bus or train to work. This “love vs. like” approach makes it easy to distinguish between what non-essential is worth splurging on.

I refuse to expend my energy harassing myself to save $5 a day when I can use that same energy and discipline to think of creative and scalable ways to earn more money — hundreds, if not thousands a day — or identify high-leverage savings opportunities that immediately reduce costs without making me feel deprived.

 

Source: http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/blog/

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There might well come a time in your life when you feel the need to somehow start again with regard to your finances. When that time comes, you need to know what it is that you can do, and how it is likely to work out. The truth is that there are plenty of ways of approaching this, and as long as you are happy to do so you will find that you can soon enough give your life a much more stable feel to it too. Any financial refresh is likely to help you keep things on track, and it is something which most of us will find we need to do at some point in our lives. In this article, we will take a look at what this might entail, and what you should consider essential if you really want to make sure that your financial life is given such a necessary boost.

Step Back & Analyze

If there is anything that will prove necessary in order to refresh your financial life, it is taking the time to step back and really analyze deeply what’s going on. It is all too easy to get caught up in your own finances, to such a degree that you can completely lose sight of the bigger picture and what is going on generally. However, when you make a point of stepping back to analyze it as a whole, you will suddenly find that you are faced with some stark evidence of what it might be that needs fixing. That can be a painful moment, but it is vital if you are to make the right kinds of changes for your own financial future.

This process of stepping back to analyze means that you need to develop a cold and detached view of your own finances, and that is not something that comes naturally to everyone. However, it is something that anyone can develop, and once you have learned how to look at your finances in this way, you will probably find it a most useful tool for the future too. When you are first starting to step back and analyze your finances, you will find that it is hard to know what to look into, or which details are important. The easy answer here is that, at first at least, it’s all important, as it all allows you to gradually get to the bottom of your own financial situation. So make a point of starting to look at your finances in this way, and you will find that you are already moving in the right direction.

Above all, you need to start to identify what it is that you need to change. You can only do that by looking at both the bigger picture and the smaller details, the macro and the micro. So try to do just that if you are keen to give your life that refresh that it really needs. You will soon discover some areas for improvement which you can work on soon enough.

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Make Snowballing Changes

Part of the reason that it can seem so overwhelming to completely change your finances around is because you are thinking about it in such huge terms. While you can expect these big changes to occur, it is a good idea – indeed, necessary – to make sure that you are thinking about them in terms of their smaller constituent parts. That means that you should focus first and foremost on the smaller changes, as it is only by taking small steps that you ever take the larger steps. This will help you to keep focused on what you need to do, and it will mean that you are going to be much less overwhelmed as you try to make such significant life changes too. These small changes, however insignificant they might seem at first, will soon enough add up to bigger and bigger changes, and it is this snowballing effect which ultimately makes the difference. So don’t be afraid to make small changes when you want to change your financial life around.

Of course, you need to know where to begin, and the truth is that you can start with simple practical stuff that might seem to make hardly any difference at first. Let’s think about the bills you pay each month. You might well feel that reducing these slightly won’t really help, but that is not quite the case. Actually, if you can keep your bills down, it will mean that you can hope to make a big difference overall. If you think you could save money on your cell phone, think about something like https://www.smarty.co.uk. If you feel that your energy bills could be reduced, you might want to look into using a tool like www.moneysupermarket.com. All of these little things really do make a difference, so it’s important not to overlook them if you can help it.

 

It goes beyond the monthly bills, too. Even something like finding a way to improve your cooking skills can mean that you spend less on food. As you are probably starting to appreciate, completely refreshing your financial life often means focusing on changing things you might never have considered needed changing or altering at all. Once you start to make these changes, you will see some profound effects in no time, which will help to spur you on.

Recovery Planning

When you set out on this mission of improving your finances, you need to make sure that you are starting off right. That means knowing where you are heading, what you want to achieve along the way, and how you hope to make it all come together. In short, you need a plan, and it is this method of recovery planning which will mean that you can make the most of the whole journey. Let’s take a look at what might be involved in recovery planning, so that you can hope to get moving in the right direction straight off the bat.

 

First of all, make sure that you have one major, clear goal in mind for what you want to achieve. Something like blog.conqueryourdebt.org/ could help here. It could be something very concrete with an obvious endpoint, such as paying off every penny of debt you have. Or it might be more nebulous, but still important, such as improving your general approach to money so that you have more of it at the end of each month. Whatever it is, you need to be absolutely clear on what it is, and make a note of it. It might even change over time, and that’s fine too – the important thing is that you have something at all times that you are working towards.

Then you need to think about what you need to do to get there. That means having headlines about the major steps along the way, and also planning for as much detail as you can. With all of this kind of planning, you need to make a point of being as detailed and honest as you can be. Don’t make any guesses except where absolutely necessary: just work out specifically, to the penny if possible, what you are going to have to do. If you can do that, your plan will come together exactly as you need it to, and that will mean that you are much more likely to have the kind of success you are hoping for.

As you can see, it is always possible to give your life a financial refresh, so long as you know how to begin.

Source: http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/blog/

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When it comes to your monthly expenses, your energy bills represent a significant outlay. The combined total for your gas and electricity can be sky high, especially if you don’t know how to economise. One of the simplest ways to minimise your expenditure is by becoming more energy efficient. Not only is this beneficial to your bank balance it can also have some huge advantages for the environment and your carbon footprint too. So, how can you cut your costs and your consumption in just a few simple steps? Here are four top tips to help you.

 

Did you know your choice of lightbulb could help to reduce your energy usage by around 20 percent? It’s true and it’s super easy to do. Changing your 40W lightbulb to a new and improved 8W alternative could cut your costs significantly and it needn’t have any detrimental impact on your aesthetic. Retailers like lights.co.uk not only have dozens of different and on-trend options for you to choose from, they also intend to make changing a lightbulb a thing of the past. They have 30,000 different types of lamps and lights, and over 10 years of experience to be sure you get the right bulb for your needs. By offering LED lighting solutions, which have an effective life span 50 times that of a normal filament bulb, they give you the chance to save time, energy and money. All this is easy to find on the website, too: you can filter their ceiling lights page, for example, to show you only lights with a specific wattage or only LED ceiling lights.

Take control of your heating

Once you’ve reviewed your lighting, it’s time to think about the way you heat your home. Lots of people warm rooms that aren’t being used as well as those that are, which this can really add up – especially in winter. That’s why we suggest making sure that each of your radiators has its own thermostat and taking full advantage of this. According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning down the temperature by just one degree could save you around £75 per annum, which you could use for anything you choose: a new pair of shoes, the start of your holiday fund or even a little top-up for your savings account. 

Keep an eye on your energy usage

There are lots of small steps you can take to reduce your energy usage, but we find it’s much easier to stick to these when you can see the difference they’re making. That’s why we recommend getting a smart meter. Most suppliers will be happy to provide you with one and they’re currently working on rolling them out to every home by 2020. These clever devices allow you to monitor exactly how much energy you’re using each day, so you can see what’s costing you the most and where you can cut back.

Compare energy suppliers

Last but not least, we also recommend using a comparison site to see whether you could make any instant savings on your bills. The experts suggest that it takes around 20 minutes to complete this process and that doing so could save you roughly £300 per year, making it a very profitable way to spend your spare time. An Ofgem-recommended site will be your best bet, as these are fully accredited and will have all of the best deals for you to pick between.

 

What are you waiting for? Follow these four simple steps to cut your costs today.

 

Source: http://www.thefrugalfeminista.com/blog/

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