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One thing Mr. FAF and I have been discussing lately is how we want to celebrate our 5th year anniversary, which is coming up in less than a month.
Our tradition over the past year has been going to a steak house that’s close to where we used to live.
However, as we moved to a different city, the restaurant is now more than an hour drive from our house.
But that’s not something that occupies my mind lately.
Hubby and I have been married for almost 5 years.
And during that time, there have been multiple occasions when I truly thought we just couldn’t make it.
Sometimes I felt like our marriage was continuously punctuated with fights that neither of us knew how to resolve.
However, ever since our big fight on the night of our 4th anniversary, I think our marriage has been quite mellow.
Of course, there are arguments here and there, but they weren’t serious enough for us to bring up the “D” word.
And I realized one thing: time will help us solve some of the biggest problems we have in our marriage.
Related: Money & The Self-imposed Resentment
I read somewhere that a lot of marriages won’t last past the 5-year mark. And I understand why.
During those first five years, a couple needs to iron out disagreements and reconcile differences that arise when two independent individuals join a unity and build a family together.
As I reminisce about the multiple times we fought, I realized that there are certain topics we have argued about but have reached a compromise on.
Those compromises not only signal our willingness to meet on a common ground but also serve as milestones in our marriage.
And today, in celebrating our 5th year anniversary, I will list out those milestones so that one day we can look back and see how far we’ve gone in our marriage.
This is one of the biggest road blocs early on in our marriage. Both Mr. FAF and I are frugal. But I am more of a saver than he is.
When we first got married, we were two poor grad students, so I didn’t want to spend money on things I didn’t thing were necessary. However, our definitions of “necessary” were a bit different from each other.
After we got our marriage license, Mr. FAF wanted to spend about $300 on a dinner and invite his friends to celebrate our wedding with us.
With my monthly grocery bill hovering about $200, I thought it was a waste of money to spend so much money on ONE dinner with people I wasn’t even close with.
We already had a get-together with six of our close friends on the day of our ceremony.
I wanted us to stay under $100, but Mr. FAF thought it was not enough.
I refused to talk to Mr. FAF for more than a week and even thought about returning his engagement ring. In my mind, it was my way or the high way.
Later on, I think Mr. FAF must have said something to my sister, who then told my aunt. My aunt pretended to call me out of a sudden but instead asked about the incident.
She told me being frugal was good, but that I should loosen up to enjoy life a bit. I caved in and told Mr. FAF I was ok with the celebration. Mr. FAF also compromised by narrowing the list of invitees and decided on a potluck for less than $200.
There were other similar incidents later on. But I’ve learned to really loosen up and not be too obsessed about saving every little dime in my life.
Now whenever Mr. FAF makes a purchase I don’t think is necessary, I will just tell him it’s not necessary and let it slide if he insists on buying it, thinking that it’d cause more headache and tension in my life to argue with him.
Having a baby also helps since it helps me realize that I have more important things to worry about than arguing about a couple of dollars.
Sometimes when Mr. FAF asked me if he could buy something expensive and even if I say yes, he will decide not to buy it. It’s happened a couple of times for me to know that he himself has a sense of what not to buy.
2. Personal space
I used to be a jealous wife who would get worked up whenever hubby was on the phone or texting someone. I had to know if it was a male or a female, and if it was a female, who it was exactly.
Mr. FAF has a couple of female friends he talks to every once in a while. I used to be super jealous of them and would give Mr. FAF a hard time whenever he talked to them on the phone or in person.
One time we got into a huge fight because he was talking to my ex-roommate when visiting me.
As time went by, I became more secure about our relationship. Now I don’t really care who he talks to or has lunch with. If he cheats, he will cheat no matter how much I monitor him. I can at least give myself some peace by not obsessing over the females he talks to in his life.
I have never checked his phone, Facebook, or Twitter for private messages since I respect his privacy. I expect Mr. FAF not to check mine either although I have nothing to hide.
But as the story goes, I’ve caught him checking my Facebook and phone messages a couple of times and was not happy about it. Of course, I let him know that as well.
The lesson I’ve learned is that I should trust Mr. FAF unless there’s obvious evidence that suggests otherwise.
Getting jealous for frivolous reasons or prying into his personal space will just push us further away from each other and make cheating more likely to happen.
For my sanity and the health of our marriage, I have accepted the fact that Mr. FAF has his own circle of friends, and that he also needs his personal space.
Hubby and I have fought a lot about our kids. It ranges from how much time we spend taking care of them, teaching them, and playing with them to how many kids we should have.
Just this time last year, I thought Mr. FAF didn’t spend enough time with our son and just focused on himself, which of course caused major tension between us.
I made it known to Mr. FAF that I was not happy that he’d prefer being on the phone with his friend than teaching our son the alphabet. After some discussion, we agreed that Mr. FAF would not answer his phone after 9 PM and would spend more time with our son.
Before we had Baby F2, Mr. FAF kept saying he wanted to have 3 kids, which got on my nerves since he had no idea how much work it was for me to be pregnant and for us to raise a kid.
Two months after Baby F2 was born, he told me he’s done having kids since it’s too exhausting taking care of an infant and a toddler. We settled that fight once and for all.
Yes, we have argued about our parents. When my mother-in-law (MIL) was living with us, she and I ran into a lot of problems due to our differences. At times like that, Mr. FAF was forced to be the referee, which caused tension in our marriage.
I felt like I had to fight with another woman to raise my own son. And having the husband taking his mother’s side didn’t make the situation any better. My MIL was also upset when Mr. FAF agreed with me.
My MIL offered us a lot of help, but she was also the reason for many of our fights.
I don’t have any clear solutions for this. If I did, all MILs and their DILs would get along great already. The only thing I can think of is for us to have our own space so that no one will encroach on the others’ personal space and privacy.
This is something Mr. FAF and I don’t always see eye to eye about. Mr. FAF is a hardcore Trump supporter. While I agree with Republicans on some issues, I don’t support all of their policies.
Sometimes when I argue with Mr. FAF about the economy or recent political developments, I can’t help but think that we are so different from each other.
Moments like that make me want to keep a distance from him and not want to say or do anything romantic with him.
I understand we are not supposed to think alike on every issue, but sometimes I think that his logic is so flawed it makes me puzzled and even repulsed.
This kind of argument comes up every once in a while in our marriage. I just try to stay calm or change the subject instead of blowing up on him.
I want to support Mr. FAF’s career as much as I want him to support mine. However, if it involves us doing more long distance after 4 years of being away from each other and me raising our kids by myself and him being in a faraway city, then I do have a problem with that.
Mr. FAF used to want to move to California while I wanted to stay in DC at least for the next few years. This topic surprisingly caused the majority of our fights during the first 4 years of our marriage.
Eventually, we reached a compromise where Mr. FAF and I will live in DC for 1-2 more years before we move with him to wherever he wants to be.
Yes, we used to argue about friends. It’s mainly because Mr. FAF just wants to hang out with Chinese people, and I want to make friends with people from other ethnicities as well.
Sometimes I felt like Mr. FAF just wanted to stay in his own bubble and told me to get out there to get something that he needed instead.
For example, if he had a question about our neighbors or our community, he would ask me to post questions on the community Facebook group instead of doing so himself.
This type of behavior irked me big time since he refused to get out of his comfort zone and got angry at me for not helping him.
After multiple arguments, Mr. FAF agreed to be more active in talking to other people and not make me do things that he can do himself (aka putting himself out there).
I debated whether to include this topic since my blog is for a general audience. However, since it has to do with marriage, it’d be remiss for me not to include it.
But I will not go into detail here because like I said, my blog is G-rated (sorry about the click bait).
Except for politics, we have been able to reach a compromise on the other issues in our marriage: finance, personal space, kids, parents, careers, and intimacy.
Some of you (i.e. Joe at Retireby40 and Tim at TubofCash) have told me that things will be tough for the first few years in a marriage since we are still trying to find a common ground and will get more mellow as time passes.
And I have found that to be true.
Mr. FAF and I haven’t had any huge fights since that argument on our 4th anniversary in November 2017 (knocking on wood).
I am sure we will run into new problems in our lives where we need to reconcile our differences. But I hope that we will learn from our past mistakes and not let any argument escalate into a situation where we just can’t see eye to eye with each other and have to find an exit from our marriage.
Only time will tell, but let’s hope for the best, especially in this holiday season! 🙂