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How do you know that unresolved pain has taken over and your marriage is suffering? It’s not very difficult. The most important part of making this assessment is the ability for you and your spouse to be completely honest with yourselves.

10 Signs Unresolved Pain is Taking a Toll on Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. How unresolved pain shows up
  2. 10 signs unresolved pain is taking over your marriage
 

How unresolved pain shows up

A couple needs to acknowledge not just how they feel about the pain they are experiencing, but how their feelings are being manifested in their behavior.

Another problem that many couples face is the gap that exists between how your spouse really feels, and how you think your spouse feels. Managing pain is a very unique experience, and unless someone tells you where he or she is in the process, you truly cannot determine where that person stands based on his or her behavior.

Although painful experiences seem to show up out of nowhere and slap you in the face, they actually do more than that. They find a way to become a part of your being, and then the pain settles in and becomes a part of the fabric of your marriage. How can you tell this is happening?

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10 signs unresolved pain is taking over your marriage

Here are a few signs that the pain is taking a serious toll and your marriage is suffering because of it.

  1. The pain is the first thing on your mind in the morning and the last thing on your mind before bed.
  2. You find yourself annoyed with your spouse because of how he or she is managing the pain.
  3. You feel like your spouse is distant and is not supporting you during your time of need.
  4. It’s beginning to feel like the pain will always be there.
  5. You can’t recall the last time you had a joyful experience with your spouse.
  6. It feels like your marriage is “falling apart.”
  7. The idea of working through the pain is starting to feel like too much.
  8. You are angry with your spouse.
  9. You are angry with yourself.
  10. Depression symptoms have become more evident in either you or your spouse.

If any of the items listed above ring true for you, it means that your marriage is suffering as a result of a painful experience, or maybe even more than one painful experience. Acknowledging that this damage is taking place is half of the battle. The other half, of course, is determining what you can do to repair the damage and develop the skills you and your spouse need to strengthen your marriage and not only get back to where you were but become a stronger unit than you’ve ever been.

 

BMWK, are you ready to acknowledge if your marriage is suffering?

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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In a recent article, I offered up five ways a wife can show respect to her husband. Well, now, it’s the men’s turn. As it stands, respect is a two-way street. However, the respect from man to woman has somewhat of a different feel. As previously quoted from Ephesians 5:33, a husband “must love his wife as he loves himself.” When you say to a man “respect your wife,” you’re asking him to bring Ephesians 5:33 alive. Ultimately, that love shows up in a variety of ways. As Aretha might say, here are five ways to R-E-S-P-E-C-T your wife:

Husbands: 5 Ways to R-E-S-P-E-C-T Your Wife

In this article:

  1. Lead her up
  2. Size her up
  3. Build her up
  4. Talk her up
  5. Pray her up
 

Lead her up

One of the most important ways to lead your wife in a relationship is to humble out when you’re wrong. The popular belief that admitting one’s fault is a sign of weakness is absolutely not true. Personally, I count it as a strength of character when a person in authority can own up to his or her mistakes and humble out. Similarly in marriage, when you humble yourself and admit your mistakes to your wife, you convey how much you respect her.

When the head of the family honestly and willingly takes responsibility for his mistakes, whether done intentionally or not, he demonstrates how much he values and respects his relationship with his wife.

 

Size her up

What wife doesn’t like to be gawked at by her husband? A great sign of respect to a woman is when her man appreciates her sexy. Making your wife feel admired for her appearance is a way to demonstrate respect. In an odd way, you further solidify the trust in your marriage as she sees your admiration as a contributing fact to your fidelity. She feels you only have eyes for her because your actions say so. You make her feel adored, secured and respected and even more so in public places.

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Build her up

Paying full attention to what your wife has to say and putting away any form of distraction during a meaningful conversation with her shows how important what she has to say means to you. If you respect her, you will also try not to cut her off during conversations. You will give her room to express her thoughts. This ensures her that you understand her and respect her opinions, ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Additionally, making time for your wife consistently no matter how busy your schedule shows that she comes first, everything else is secondary. This action backs up your words of how much you love and cherish her as commanded by God. By taking the time to build her up as a priority in your relationship, you effectively strengthen the bond you formed when you said: “I do.”

 
 

Talk her up

There are times in a marriage when misunderstandings arise and the temptation to say nasty things about her behavior is strong. But speaking ill of her in the presence of family members, friends, or acquaintances is great sign of disrespect. It doesn’t matter if it was done in her absence. Complaining and making bad jokes about her simply shows how low you place her. No matter the level of misunderstanding you have, public affirmation of your wife depicts her importance to you and your respect for her.

 

Pray her up

This is simple. Your wife needs your prayers. She needs you to fight for her spiritually because yes, she gets weary. Take her dreams, her fears, her wants, and her needs to God on her behalf. Your relationship will grow so much stronger because there is a respect she will feel knowing you don’t see her as weak and needy, but human. When you have given her everything you have to give, prayer lets her know you respect her enough to give her even more.

There’s no doubt that the respect a man has for his wife is tied up in how much he loves her. Still, according to Ephesians 5:33, that’s exactly what God intended.

BMWK husbands, are you ready to respect your wife?

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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I’ve written in the past about not letting divorce enter any portion of your marriage. Some of the best marriage advice I’ve ever heard is it should never be spoken, used as a threat, or even joked about.  That is key to having a lasting marriage.

But what happens when you’ve done that, and you don’t like it?  Or, you don’t like your spouse?  Is saying no to divorce and staying together worth it?

Best Marriage Advice: How to Stay in Love in Your Marriage

In this article:

  1. Not just your significant other
  2. Is your spouse your best friend?
  3. All about action
  4. Protect the time with your spouse
  5. Staying married is not enough
 

Your spouse is not (just) your significant other

When I speak of my wife to other people, I often refer to her as “my wife.”  Even to friends and family who know her personally.  Yes, she has a name.  However, there is one person in this entire world that can call her “my wife.”  That person is me.

When you are married you have a special relationship that goes beyond anything or anyone.  She should not be your #1, but a close #2 (before you jump to conclusions and think I’m contradicting myself, please read the post to that link).

This relationship is not one to be taken lightly, there is no ‘upgrading’, or just changing my mind.  She is more than a significant other, as I’ve had many of those in the past.  She is my wife,  for life.  This mindset sets the table for much of our relationship.

 

If your spouse is not your best friend, why not?

The Bible teaches us that when we marry we become one.  You can get no closer than that.   That means your spouse is the one you share your most intimate thoughts, concerns, and experiences.  Friendship is a building block for strong marriages.

If you have adopted the mindset that this relationship, your marriage, is for life,  then why not spend it with someone you actually like and want to spend time with?  Relationships develop over time.  Time talking, time doing things, time disagreeing, time-solving problems, and time experiencing life.  Intentionally devote time to your best friend.

 
 

Staying in love is all about action

You may have heard the quote, “love is an action word.”  That is true, and that is how you stay in love.  You take actions that show you love your spouse.   Learn his/her love language, and speak it, often.  Make sure God is the head of your marriage.

Expect challenges and commit to “growing” through them together.  Add some domestic sexy to your marriage.   One of the best things you can do is to find things that you enjoy and do them, just you and your spouse.  Date your spouse regularly.

 

Protect the time with your spouse

I have been guilty of allowing things to take the time that should be spent with my wife.  These things have been our kid’s activities, work, and the game on TV, to name a few.  This realization scared me.  I began to think about how life would be in the future when these same “distractions” are no longer around.  If we haven’t been dating and spending alone time all these years, why would we do it later?

I envisioned me sitting in one room, her in another, and both of us doing nothing.  That scared the mess out of me!  It encouraged me to protect our time, like nothing else.  It is crucial!  I encourage you to do the same.  Do not let anything, except God, come between you and your spouse’s time.

 

Staying married is not enough

I applaud those who’ve refused to let divorce anywhere in their marriage.  It is no easy thing today, where more marriages end in divorce than end like the wedding vows say, “til death do you part.”  But there is more to it than that.  Be intentional about spending time getting to know one another and growing a life-long best friend relationship.  That is the way to not just stay in your marriage, but to stay in Love!

BMWK: What are you doing to stay in LOVE with your spouse?  And what are you doing to make sure your spouse stays in LOVE with you?

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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To many people, this article may seem pointless. On its face, it seeks to deliver information that seems obvious. Love yourself. Okay. Yeah. But if you think about it, how many of us really take those words to heart. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we give lip service to the very thing that makes life rich. Self-love is essential to a productive, happy existence. It’s the thing that keeps us dry when the rain comes pouring down. Now, imagine entering a life-long union with someone who fails to adhere to this principle. There are so many instances where marriage can go sideways if either spouse neglects personal care. Well, not to worry. We’re here to help.

5 Ways to Love Yourself So You Can Truly Love Your Spouse

In this article:

  1. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.
  2. Keep your heart beating for the one you love.
  3. Relationships matter. Oh, and relationships matter.
  4. Learn to embrace dirty dishes, dirty clothes, and dirty hair.
  5. Stay prayed up to nourish your spirit.

Not everyone will agree with what I’m about to share. To love yourself means different things to different people. I’m cool with that. What is undeniable to everyone, however, is that it is vital to our existence. It’s interesting. Often times as single people, we know how to take care of ourselves. We’re on the hunt…or we’re willing prey. But if we’ve been caught, we become all about our partners. We neglect some of the very things that lead them to us in the first place.

If you’ve noticed that your relationship is getting stale, it might be time to turn back the clock. Take a good hard look in the mirror and resolve to love yourself as you once did. The following five suggestions are mine. However, I’d be interested to hear what any of our readers have to say.

 

The mind is a terrible thing to waste

The mind is a powerful tool. But, like any tool, it needs to be properly maintained to fully function. The person you were at 18 will never understand the person you are at 30. The single you won’t get the married you. There’s a reason for that. Without effort, your thinking expands. With effort, your mind grows.

Growth is a natural part of a fully functioning relationship. There’s no greater respect you can show your spouse than the ability to open your mind. When you take the time to learn new things or enhance old ones, like a language or a skill, you’re saying to your spouse that you are willing to mature. When the mind grows, so does your level of communication. This means that your ability to see things from different viewpoints also develops. You can then love your spouse with a strength of mind which then serves to strengthen your marriage.

 

Keep your heart beating for the one you love

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With new love comes butterflies and sweaty palms. It’s thrilling to feel the heat rise to your face every time your loved one looks at you. Chances are you’re eating right, exercising, and making sure you’re as attractive as possible. After marriage, this shouldn’t change for the worse, but for the better. Putting effort into your physical fitness communicates to your partner that you want to be around to love them for as long as you are able. Taking care of your body helps you feel good and stay healthy on the inside while you glow on the outside. It’s a good look on you and a proud look on your spouse.

Discover the secret to Unbreakable Relationships! Signup for our FREE 4-Part Video Series! GET IT NOW!
 

Relationships matter. Oh, and relationships matter.

I’m not trying to beat a dead horse, but when you love yourself, relationships matter. The love between you and your spouse cannot be replaced. But, it can’t be the only love you get. It can be easy to get lost in your spouse and shut out the world. However, when things between you and your spouse don’t click, your world will come crumbling down. Your mental health is not something you should take for granted.

All your girlfriends or your boys you once hung out with are necessary to keep you mentally fit and keep your love for your spouse thriving. Time alone with your children deepens your bond as a parent. Serving your parents or elders gives you the wisdom needed to live life well. Sometimes, even scheduling time with a therapist will be needed to “woosah” your way through some rough patches. Foster great relationships so you can handle whatever gets thrown at your love.

 

Learn to embrace dirty dishes, dirty clothes, and dirty hair

You read me right. No one, no spouse, no marriage is perfect. Sometimes, when times get crazy, make it okay to not wash the dishes one night. Or, maybe delay doing the laundry a couple of days. If you have to rock a wig tomorrow so you can rest today, then so be it. The stress of perfection will kill your marriage quicker than some dirty dishes. I’m not encouraging anyone to become a sloth. I’m saying sometimes you need a break. Love yourself enough to take it.

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Stay prayed up to nourish your spirit

So, this should be a no-brainer. Pray. Pray to love yourself. Pray for your mind. Pray for your body. Pray for your relationships. Pray for your home. Pray for your marriage. Pray for your spouse. Pray for your children. Pray for your family. Then, pray again. Pray to love yourself. Pray to love the you that God made. Pray to love yourself so you can truly love your spouse.

There is so much more that I can say about self-love. In fact, the idea itself is a billion dollar industry. Books, seminars, and workshops stand at the ready to help you love yourself. Ultimately, you should love yourself for no other reason than to live your best life. But, if you’re married, a part of living your best life is loving your spouse well. To truly and successfully do that, loving yourself must be first things first. If you feel me, let me know your thoughts.

BMWK: What are some other ways you love yourself that are of benefit to your marriage?

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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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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On a recent episode of The Steve Harvey Show, he interviewed a couple who had been married for 82 years. The husband was 103 and his wife was 100 years old. Even though they were centenarians, their chemistry was still so palpable. He had courted her for three months before they got married and 82 years later, they were still going strong. It was a refreshing conversation to listen to. And, it got me thinking. They got married during a time when fancy wedding ceremonies weren’t a thing. In fact, when advising a young couple in the audience who’d been engaged for five years because the woman wanted a big wedding, the husband said: “you don’t need to have a big wedding, just go on and get married.” Any couple that lasts 82 plus years is bound to have marriage quotes to live by.

20 Marriage Quotes for a Lifelong Marriage Beyond the Wedding

In this article:

  1. Eighty-two years and counting
  2. Marriage Quotes that take you beyond the wedding
 

Eighty-two Years and Counting

For 82 years, Mr. DW and Ms. Willie stayed true to their union despite being married at a young age. At 19, he had found the woman he would spend the rest of his life with. When you have found the person that matters most, everything else matters less. These days, couples walk away so easily from relationships because other things matter more than the work of their union. Steve asked them for advice about how to make a marriage last. Here are three things Ms. Willie had to say:

  • “Be nice to each other.”
  • “Just sit down and talk things over.”
  • “Get a good understanding of what you’re doing and where you’re going.”

Mr. DW, of course, agreed with her. These days, couples are going into debt to get married only to get divorced for a number of reasons including financial difficulties. Yet, there are simple truths that can keep your relationship lasting a lifetime if the relationship matters more than the wedding.

 

20 Marriage Quotes that take you beyond the wedding

  1. A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
  2. Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry.
  3. A good marriage is a contest of generosity.
  4. To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage.
  5. What God has joined together, let no one separate.
  6. Marriage is meant to keep people together, not just when things are good, but particularly when they are not. That’s why we take marriage vows, not wishes.
  7. A marriage is a like a house. When a light bulb goes out, you do not go and buy a new house, you fix the light bulb.
  8. The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes.
  9. Love is quick to apologize and fast to forgive.
  10. We love because He first loved us.
  11. Never talk bad about your spouse to another person. This minimizes your spouses’ integrity and takes away from your character.
  12. Choose to love each other, even in those moments when you struggle to like each other. Love is a commitment, not a feeling.
  13. A happy marriage looks to the future, not the past.
  14. A husband can love his wife best when he loves God first.
  15. A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.
  16. Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.
  17. Marriage is a journey – it’s hills and it’s valleys.
  18. Marriage is not just spiritual communion, it is also remembering to take out the trash.
  19. Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.
  20. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

There is a miracle in finding the kind of love that makes a marriage last for more than 82 years. By taking these marriage quotes to heart, your miracle is bound to happen.

BMWK, what are some of your favorite marriage quotes?

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Though it’s hard to believe, you and your spouse have finally done it. You’ve stepped away from the grind of corporate America and have become true entrepreneurs. What was once a side hustle has now become a money maker and together, you’re building your own little empire. As excited as you are, you’re also aware of some hard truths. Managing your own business takes work…hard work. In fact, there are days where you long for the comfort of a time clock so you can punch in, punch out, and go home. It’s not that you regret venturing out on your own. It’s just that staying in love when your spouse is your business partner means you automatically double the work necessary to become successful.

Staying in Love When Your Spouse is Your Business Partner

  1. Keep in mind you still have a Boss
  2. Love your work so you can work your love
  3. Remember what’s important
  4. When tensions rise, k.i.s.s. and make up

Going into business with your spouse can be the blessing of a lifetime or a death knell to your relationship. Only you and your partner can decide the direction your marriage will take. But, that’s good news. You get to choose the path to your legacy before you even start. As far as it depends on you, keeping your business and your Boo in the proper perspective will ensure a lasting union with both. Here are four ways to handle your business so it doesn’t handle you.

 

Keep in mind you still have a Boss

When you first started your business as a side hustle, gratitude kept you honest. Whatever your faith, you gave thanks to a higher power. If you’re Christian, you couldn’t help but make your way to Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Yes. It’s true. You still have a Boss. It’s not you. It’s not your spouse. It’s a power greater than you both. When you each focus on serving Him, business as usual takes a back seat to business with purpose. When you approach it that way, it’s easy to ask for and get all hands on deck.

 

Love your work so you can work your love

Hopefully, the business you and your spouse are in is one you each have a passion for. Staying in love with your spouse as you build an empire doesn’t happen when either or both of you hate the empire. If you’re both in love with the idea of the business and what it could mean as a legacy for your family, then staying in love becomes much easier. Planning date nights and fun trips around work events when you love your work is a sure recipe for a happy partnership in business and in marriage.

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Remember what’s important

So yes, you love your work. But you also love your spouse. It’s not a competition. Your marriage comes first. By prioritizing what matters most, you and your spouse will work even harder to ensure the success of the business you’re building. Don’t lose sight of the vows you took. It wasn’t “to have and to hold” a business, but rather “to have and to hold” each other. Staying in love doesn’t have to get complicated when a business partnership is involved. If you keep first things first, everything else will fall in line.

 

When tensions rise, k.i.s.s. and make up

Who am I kidding? When you work with your spouse, there are times that things will get tense. If you have other employees in the room, they’re bound to notice. Don’t allow rough spots to linger when you don’t see eye to eye with your spouse. If necessary, take some time away from the office and k.i.s.s. and make up.

  • K – Kneel together in prayer and address the issue with your Boss first.
  • I – Identify the primary area of disagreement and try to see things from your partner’s point of view.
  • S – Submit your will to God and ask him for guidance on the issue.
  • S – “Sorry” goes a long way to smoothing over tensions in the office and at home.

After you “kiss,” don’t forget to make up. Step away from work and do something fun with your spouse. Staying in love requires pushing through difficult times and finding joy in your partner again. It won’t be easy, but it’s necessary for your union and your business to successfully coexist.

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Many couples run away from the idea of partnering with their spouse on a business venture. Whether it’s out of fear or terror, the idea just doesn’t sit well. But it can be done and done well when each spouse has the right attitude and the right focus. If you’re thinking about partnering with your spouse, but are still on the fence, first look to your Boss, then your heart for the answer that best suits your relationship.

BMWK, what things are you doing in your relationship to ensure you are staying in love with your spouse in marriage and in business?

 

Source: https://blackandmarriedwithkids.com/

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Marriage has long been characterized by many as an independence killer. It’s not unusual to hear antagonistic phrases such as “ball and chain,” or “on lockdown,” when talking to people about their spouse or about getting married. This stigma, while it hasn’t derailed the billion dollar wedding industry, continues to sully the image of truly successful marriages. It is, quite frankly, annoying. True enough, marriage is hard and it takes work. But, it is also one of the most emotionally, mentally, and physically liberating experiences one could have. So, as we near the celebration of our country’s independence, I thought it fitting that we share the role of freedom in marriage. Not only are behaviors that lead to freedom necessary, but they are a driving force behind marriage success and should no longer catch a bad rap.

Freedom in Marriage: 3 Liberating Behaviors That Promote Marriage Success

  1. Vulnerability – letting someone all the way in liberates the mind
  2. Honesty – telling the truth liberates the heart
  3. Meditation – time alone to pray, worship, or meditate liberates the spirit

For years, television sitcom’s “Martin” made Martin and Gina #relationshipgoals for some couples. We watched their relationship blossom and grow. We also saw some heartache and setbacks that were all too real. In one of the most moving episodes, the opportunity to advance in her career meant Gina had to move to a new city and either take her relationship with Martin to the next level or leave him behind. Though Martin loved Gina, he thought the whole thing was a plot meant to bully him into proposing to her. So he did. Check out the clip below and then let’s move on.

It was one of the most gut-wrenching proposals on TV. It underscored the stigma associated with marriage to an audience that many falsely believe have a problem with marriage. Martin’s fear of losing his independence drove him to act in a way unbecoming of the relationship they had worked so hard to build. What he didn’t realize is that once united, there are liberating behaviors that promote rather than hinder independence and all but guarantee marriage success.

 

Vulnerability

One of the hardest things for people to do in relationships is to be vulnerable. For many, opening up means peeling back layers they’re unable or unwilling to face. However, just like peeling an onion, vulnerability often produces tears. There’s something to be said about having a good cry. Letting others in on the thoughts that plague you and depress your mind can offer the kind of cleansing necessary to function well in a relationship.

If your spouse is truly your best friend, they will embrace the chance to hurt with you, cry with you and pray for you. Once you get it all out, you truly feel liberated and you have strengthened the bond between you and your spouse.

 

Honesty

Like vulnerability, honesty has its perks. When you are honest with your spouse it frees your heart from harboring resentment that might otherwise build up. Marriage success is not possible without honesty in your relationship. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s a difference between intentionally hurting someone with your words and being honest. It’s important to use wisdom when you have to talk about matters that might cause pain. However, hiding the truth suffocates the heart. Rather than allowing things to fester inside of you, speak the truth in love to your spouse and set your heart, and most likely theirs, free.

 

Meditation

Whether you call it meditation, prayer, alone time or something else, the point is you should free yourself from all the noise. Vulnerability frees the mind and honesty frees the heart. But there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as a free spirit. Take time to connect with God, nature, or even your inner self. Allow your spirit to soar and watch your relationship with your spouse rises to whole new levels. Give your marriage the chance at success by giving your spirit the chance to recharge.

Discover the secret to Unbreakable Relationships! Signup for our FREE 4-Part Video Series! GET IT NOW!

For all of those who are afraid of losing their freedom in marriage, I believe you’ve got it all wrong. There is no greater opportunity to grow as a person and find ultimate freedom than when you surrender yourself to those liberating behaviors that can truly set you free.

 

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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Later this month, my wife and I will celebrate our five year anniversary. Which feels like an accomplishment. Not because getting and staying married makes you any specialer than those who ain’t either of those things, but because I think we know each other well enough now to make a pragmatic decision on whether to escape. And there’s been no escaping (yet)!

With this anniversary comes some pressure. Year Five is one of the years that’s recognized by the greeting card industry and shit, so you know it’s a big deal, as what we’re supposed to buy, what we’re supposed to do, which animal we’re supposed to sacrifice, etc., are less questions than commodifiable goods. According to the Internet, there’s a standard gift (wood), a modern gift (silver), a preferred flower (daisies), and a gemstone (turquoise). Which together sounds like we should just buy each other Infinity Gauntlets.

 
 

I’m not too worried about that, though. We’ll figure it out, and like with the rest of our marriage, if all else fails, we’ll just eat some zinc pills. What really concerns me—and has concerned me for our entire relationship—is that I still haven’t quite figured out how to address my in-laws, and I feel like I probably should know that by now.

Now, my father-in-law doesn’t live in-state, and I only see him a few times a year, so this isn’t as pertinent with him. But my mother-in-law lives five minutes away. We see each other multiple times a week, and also occasionally correspond through text messages and phone calls. And when any of that happens, the following thing also happens:

***Mother-in-law comes over***

Her: Hello!

Me: Hi! How are you today?

Her: Great! How are you?

Me: I’m splendid!

***I need to call my mother-in-law to confirm what time she’s coming over to babysit***

Her: Hello!

Me: Hey ... I was just calling to confirm the time for tonight.

Her: Does 7 still work?

Me: Yes ma’am. It does. Thank you!

This—the excited greetings without a name or some sort of honorific accompanying them—doesn’t seem to bother her. I doubt she’s even noticed. But, while it doesn’t really bother me either—I’m fine with keeping things as they are—it just seems ... odd. Like this is something I should’ve figured out by now.

As I see it, there are four possible options here:

1. I can call her by her first name, which seems too informal. (And by “too informal” I mean “like some white people shit.”)

2. I can call her Ms. + her last name, which seems too formal.

3. I can call her Ms. + her first name, which feels performative and blaxploitationey.

4. I can call her “Mom,” which, um, no. I just don’t feel comfortable with that.

(Interestingly enough, reason #4 is actually one of the tens of thousands of reasons I neglected to jump in during last month’s “Auntie” wars. I don’t call anyone “Auntie” or “Uncle” except my actual aunts and uncles. And as much as I appreciate and adore my mother-in-law, my mom is dead, and I just can’t call someone else that.)

Now, I imagine many of you are reading this and thinking “Um ... why don’t you just ask her what she’d like to be called?” And yes, that’s the best answer. The smart answer. The adult answer. BUT IT’S BESIDE THE ENTIRE FREAKIN POINT BECAUSE THE SORT OF PERSON WHO HAS SOME MILD ANXIETY ABOUT HOW TO REFER TO A WOMAN HE’S KNOWN FOR SEVEN YEARS IS ALSO THE SAME SORT OF PERSON WHERE “EASY” ANSWERS LIKE “Just, you know, ask her” AIN’T EASY AT ALL! Also, an extensive four-person survey I did on Gchat and Slack 10 minutes before writing this proved that there are at least two other people not sure what to call their mothers-in-law, which officially makes this an epidemic. (For what it’s worth, both of the men I asked are in the same boat as me, while the women were both like “You’re running out of things to write about, aren’t you?” Maybe there’s a there-there.)

Again, though. We seem to have a good system now, so there might not even be a need to change. (And, now that I think about it, I don’t remember her ever calling me “Damon.” Maybe she’s writing a blog about it too.)

 

Source: https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/

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Queen Sugar’s fourth season has not disappointed one bit. Not that I expected it to, but the writers continuously find new ways to hit us with shit we absolutely did not see coming. This week’s episode was no different. I had enough moments that elicited a physical reaction in episode 4, “Skin Transparent,” that I decided that 1) I had to write about it; 2) the only way I could write about it was to recap it in GIFs. Buckle up, Buttercup: Nova Bordelon has leveled up the trash game to new heights.

 

We open up with Nova outchea sad that nobody is returning her calls and apparently the only person who wants anything to do with her is Young Protegé, Micah West, who apparently is also on the outs with his boo because he’s going full light-skinned and you never go full light-skinned. 

Charley and her new boo Romero (I’m not sure he’s really a new boo anymore) legit got up a whole-ass clinic in like a week. They’re efficient as hell.

And because Charley is a mix between Olivia Pope and apparently Clarence Avant, she both managed to find out who sent Micah those threatening letters AND the person is now in police custody.

Source: https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/

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