In Sickness, In Health, In Drama: A Honeymoon Story

By Maggie Reimherr

On March 26, 2016, Derek and I promised to love each other in sickness and in health, among other things. On March 27th, we were off to start our marriage in the beautiful Riviera Maya, a tropical land that I still think about on a daily basis. (#takemeback #ineedavacation) Within 24 hours of our wedding, Derek was hugging me while I cried over a bleeding appendage. Romantic, right?

I had been looking forward to the honeymoon as much as the wedding. I’d never been out of the country, and I’d become obsessed with looking at our resort’s website, dreaming of long days by the pool, sipping on frozen fruity cocktails and treating myself to all-you-can-eat gourmet meals. All of my hopes and dreams were resting on this honeymoon.

We arrived at the dreamy, beautiful resort, and I fell in love immediately. They gave us each a cold towel that smelled like lavender. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so I put it around my neck. I felt like Cleopatra. 5 minutes in, I had a pina colada in my hand. I was in heaven.

Hey Derek, can we go back yet?

Hey Derek, can we go back yet?

We were soon escorted to our room, which was almost as big as our apartment. There was cold champagne and a plate of apples set out for us in our sitting area. Such luxury.

Later that evening, we decided to dig into the mini fridge, which came fully stocked because all-inclusive resorts are a gift from God. All I wanted was to enjoy a glass bottle Diet Coke while lounging in my fancy bathrobe. I went to open it using the wall-mounted bottle opener in the bathroom. I guess I yanked at it a little too enthusiastically, because with one pull, it had shattered all over my right hand, which was now bleeding profusely.

DEREK!" I cried out, applying pressure with the resort's very nice, very clean, white towels to stop the bleeding. "I RUINED OUR HONEYMOON, AND WE JUST GOT HERE. Am I going to need stitches? Will I get an infection? I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF MY HEALTH INSURANCE WORKS IN MEXICO!”

"Maggie, it's okay. But please, stop using the white towels on your bloody hand.”

I grabbed a roll of toilet paper and wrapped the entire thing around my hand while Derek called the front desk.

"Hi, yes, my wife is bleeding everywhere. Can we get some bandaids?"

Derek sat me down on the sofa, nursed my wounds, and attempted to calm me down. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. A stranger with a first aid kit walked in, and I was looking helpless in my bathrobe. When I dreamt of the first night of my honeymoon, this wasn’t exactly what I pictured.

"Un poquito Ingles," he said.

"Un poquito Espanol," replied Derek.

The resort paramedic set up on our coffee table, which now contained both medical supplies and two empty bottles of champagne from our arrival (no judgment please). He unrolled my toilet paper bandage looking confused, checked my hand, and said, "Mucho sangre."

"Lots of blood," Derek translated as I willed myself not to cry or pass out.

“Mucho sangre. Mucho sangre,” he repeated, as my stream of consciousness went something like, “WE GET IT. I AM BLEEDING PROFUSELY.”

After the paramedic spent time disinfecting, bandaging, and repeating, I was pleased to find out that I was not actually dying. Who knew? All it took was the help of my husband and a kind stranger (who I doubt were fearing for my long term health).

That evening, we learned an important marital practice: help each other, and when the going gets tough, call in reinforcements - even if that means a kind resort staffer who doesn’t speak English. Like Derek couldn’t bandage me up without someone else’s help, we can’t make it through life without our friends and family supporting us and whole lot of help from Jesus.

After the paramedic left the room, Derek presented me with a fresh, unshattered bottle of Diet Coke. I don’t think I even looked at that bottle opener again for the next 6 days.

More on Millennial Marriage:

A Newlywed's Guide to Honeymooning
10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage
We Didn't Meet on Tinder, But They Did.

Do you have a funny honeymoon or marriage story to share? Email us, and we may feature you on the blog!

The 6 Wedding Registry Items Every Couple Needs

By Derek Reimherr

Because our engagement was long, wedding-related activities had a delayed start. Let me take this opportunity to remind y’all (again) that engagements longer than 9 months feel like torture. I didn’t go on my bachelor party, pick out tuxes, or get to do tastings for quite a while.

So when the wedding registry topic came up, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. Who am I kidding, I always act like a kid on Christmas morning...I basically acted like I normally do.

I will say, though, the whole concept of a wedding registry blew my mind. “Wait, you’re telling me I make a bunch of wishlists, and people just buy stuff for me?” Yeah, that’s EXACTLY how it works, y’all. (They don’t mention how you pay it back during your friends’ weddings.)

With our newly adopted, glorious, free-for-all mindset, we took scanners in hand and went to work work work work work. Each store was just another land of registry items we had yet to conquer. Bed Bath N’ Beyond, Macy’s, Crate and Barrel, Amazon...just another notch in our registry scanning belt.

Is there anything more satisfying than literally pointing and clicking at dozens of things you want? Okay, maybe swimming with dolphins, but nevermind that. My internal theme song every time we walked into a new store: “Throw it in the bag” by FABOLOUS ft. The Dream.

It ain’t trickin’ if you got it, right?

Don’t mind me as I get carried away. Anyway, now that we’re married and using all of the super generous registry gifts from our friends and family, I can tell you I definitely have some favorites. Here’s the list of what you definitely need to register for:

1. Bar tools. It’s time to step your game up from whiskey-cokes and vodka-waters. Make some mint juleps, blueberry mojitos, old fashioneds, and Tom Collins, step out onto your patio, and kick back with your adult drink.

2. KitchenAid mixer. Find me a registry list that doesn’t include one of these and I’ll call you a liar. Most people associate these mixers with pastries and sweets. You know what else you can throw in there? Mashed potatoes. I freaking love garlic mashed potatoes.

3. Bedding. At some point you have to upgrade from your freshman year bedding or the same bedding you had in high school. Or you have a future wife that says your “boy stuff” is ugly. Getting married is as good of an excuse as any.

4. Binge Worthy Movie/TV Series. If you don’t own the complete Harry Potter collection already (are you crazy?!), getting it now is a built in 3-day weekend of dates. Or 8 Fridays in a row. We won’t judge. We received the two complete Star Wars trilogies, and I am biding my time until I can deploy a Jedi Mind Trick on Maggie so we can watch it.

5. Taco Racks. Look, it’s all about the simple things. We love tacos almost as much as we love ourselves.

6. A Good Skillet. Sweet potato hash, stir fry, salmon filets...all things you can cook in a skillet. The more versatile (and bigger) the better with one of these bad boys. You’ll be thanking the gift giver on this one for years.

For all you married friends out there, what are your favorite wedding gifts? Let us know!

More fun posts on Millennial Marriage:

48 Hours in Boston
Binge Watch of the Month: July 2016
A Newlywed's Guide to Honeymooning

The Importance of Girl Time as a Married Woman

By Maggie Reimherr

I love my husband. I love spending time with my husband. It would be a shame if I didn’t since I’m now tied to him for life. We travel together, we watch movies together, we crack lots of jokes, and we have a lot of fun. He sits through musicals for me. I sit through long-winded explanations of video game plots for him. It’s a give and take. We go well together. He’s my best friend, but I’m so glad he’s not my only friend.

Everyone knows the couples who get together or get married and go off the grid, never to be heard from again, or at least for several months until the honeymoon phase ends. We knew we didn’t want to be that couple.

We live about 1000 miles away from most of our BFFs, so we don’t get to have girl time/guy time all the time. But since we got married 4 months ago, we’ve each had 2 weekends when one of us has been out of town visiting friends and the other has been in town with friends visiting. Those times have been so good for us in terms of maintaining friendships, doing typical guy/gal things, and giving us time apart to miss each other a little bit.

Before we got married, I assumed that my married friends didn’t want to hang out without their husbands, so sometimes, that would deter me from making plans. Girlfriends, I’m here to tell you that we married gals still want to hang out with you. There are some things that are just more fun with the ladies.

Here’s a list of things I’d rather do with my girls than with my husband:

  1. See a chick flick. You couldn’t pay me to take my husband to see a cheesy love story that got a just-okay rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The groaning will never be worth it. Please, ladies, I beg you… Come see Me Before You with me so we can cry a little bit and also make fun of ourselves over the fact that we’re crying.

  2. Trade “remember that stupid thing we did in college…” stories. Everyone makes a few regrettable decisions in college, and it’s really fun to laugh with your friends about them. It’s not quite as fun to hear your spouse’s stories and be filled with irrational rage toward a woman your husband kissed 7 years ago in a bar. Kudos to you sweet angels with less jealous personalities than mine who enjoy this.

  3. Pay for $15 cocktails at a rooftop bar. My husband is *frugal*. One time I got a $10 beer at a Red Sox game, and he wouldn’t even take sips of it because he was boycotting the price. I went to New York recently to visit some girlfriends, had $15 cocktails throughout the city, and have no regrets.

  4. Talk about boys. Single friends, I love hearing about your dating life. Please never stop telling me stories and asking me for advice. I want to dish about the cute guy you matched with on Bumble. I went off the market at 20 years old. I need this.

  5. Text about Taylor Swift’s feuds and Kardashian drama. Whenever I share the latest celeb scoop with Derek, I get 2 questions: 1) Why do you know this? 2) Why do you care? I’m just entertained, okay? Being an adult is hard. This frivolity is fun.

This is why when Derek says, “I really want to go to _____ to visit _____ for a weekend soon,” I say, “Yes!”

We both need our friends. I think it’s so important to encourage your spouse in their pursuits, and this includes friendships with people who aren’t you. So ladies, go hang with your girls, chat for hours, and share a bottle (or two) of wine. Guys... do whatever it is y’all do together. We ❤️ friendship in the Reimherr household.


Married friends, how do you balance your marriage and your girl time/guy time? Let us know in the comments!

More Lessons on #MillennialMarriage:

I'm an Extrovert Who Married an Introvert
10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage
Long Distance Relationships Suck

Yes, You Can Get Married If You Meet on Tinder

By Derek Reimherr

Today on Millennial Marriage, we’re trying something different. If you’ve read about how we met, you know we started dating through fairly traditional means. The thing is, we don’t live in a traditional world anymore. There’s meetups, online dating, and dating apps - most famously, Tinder. And wouldn’t you know, one of my closest friends met the love of his life on Tinder.

So we called them up to find out how the heck they managed to met on Tinder...and get married! Yes, people, you heard that right. Zach (Z) and Jessica (J) swiped right and now a year and half later THIS WEEK, they’re saying, “Baby, I’ll swipe right on you forever.” Read below for our interview with them.

 

Why did you go on Tinder?

Zach: It was January and I was hanging out with a friend watching a terrible movie. He was on his phone the whole time. Turns out, he was on Tinder. Out of curiosity, I downloaded the app. It’s pretty shallow since all you’re doing is looking at someone’s appearance. So, swipe swipe swipe....and I deleted it after 45 minutes.

Jessica: My cousin mentioned that her brother met a girl via a mobile dating app. She wouldn’t stop going on about it, but I wasn’t so sure. Even though I’d heard horror stories, I gave it a shot - I knew I wasn’t going to meet anyone in Gwinnett County (where Jessica works, a suburb of Atlanta). I will say, it definitely gave me a confidence boost. Somehow Zach made the cut.

 

How long did it take y’all to match?

Z: Maybe three days? I deleted the app, but I reinstalled it later and had a few matches. Want to guess who?

J: Probably only a few days. Tinder gives you conversation prompts, and Zach’s was “Say something witty.” And that’s exactly what he said to me - “something witty.”

 

Did you go on any other Tinder dates?

Z: Nope.

J: Actually, I was at a Braves game, and one of my matches was there. So we met up...it was weird.

 

How did y’all go from matching to a date?

Z: We definitely had to, as they say in Language Arts class (...what?), we had to establish some rapport. It took a few weeks.

J: It definitely took a while. My profile said “Jesus lovers only” and creeps would STILL come around. Zach mentioned the Passion conference (Where Maggie and I met) which really got the conversation going. But you know what won me over? Talking about Taylor Swift. He almost lost me with his crush on Justin Timberlake (I, too, am guilty as charged with having a JT man-crush). But he gave me his number and we started texting every day. Eventually, I dared him to call me since I’m bold like that sometimes. But we ended up playing phone tag that night because he was dancing with his Mom. Cool, right?

 

What was y’all’s first date? Was it awkward? How was it meeting a stranger?

J: Well, we went to get Starbucks...but we showed up at different ones. I had stalked him on all forms of social media, so I knew what he looked like (classic #millennial) and we figured out that we weren’t at the same location. Once we found our way to the same place, he SPRINTED to the door to make sure he opened the door for me. So yeah, it was awkward.

 

How did y’all go from the classic Starbucks mix up to dating?

Z: I made it super clear the first time we hung out that I wanted to be really intentional. At that time in my life, EVERY dating relationship I was in ended up being full of games. (J: You’re terrible at games!) There were so many times where I scheduled a date with a girl and she would abruptly cancel with reasons like “last minute babysitting job." And I’m like, are you effing kidding me? So after our first face to face meeting, I just laid it out there. “I like you, you like me, let’s see where this goes.”

We had a movie night first (J: We sat on opposite couches, didn’t even touch). Then we went to a brewery where I ran into my ex gf, her husband, and her parents (J: And he spilled beer on me, but I’m not bitter), so that couldn’t have gone any worse. But we kept going out.

 

When did y’all get serious?

Z: We went to Texas Roadhouse where they were literally line dancing in the aisle. I couldn’t hear a word she was saying; I couldn’t even hear myself think. But I started thinking, “You know, I think I love this girl. I could sit here and just look at her and that would be okay.”

J: Well, first we had to get past Zach’s terrible kissing. At first, he would jab his tongue down my throat and pick up my head from the forehead. It’s okay, he learned.

On the way home from a Super Bowl party, we started talking about our past and our relationship struggles. The conversation got really deep. He went to drop me off, but it was raining. We got out and kissed in the rain where he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. (Nicholas Sparks couldn’t write it any better, folks.)

 

When did you say I love you?

J: Well, we went to a party. Someone decided to bring Fireball...things got out of hand. I was talking with my eyes closed.

Z: Yeah, and crying. At one point, she just said, “I’ve had it. I’M GOING TO BED,” (with her eyes closed the whole time) and she went upstairs. I felt bad, went after her, and found her in bed crying into a pillow, staining the pillow case with mascara. I just looked at her and said, “I love you.” Her reaction: “You....you do? I love you, too.”

J: The next morning, as I’m not feeling too great, I look over at him and just go, “THAT’S when you decide to tell me you love me?” Romantic, right?

 

Were you embarrassed to tell people you met on Tinder? What did people say when they found out?

Z: Oh, yeah. We told our friends we met at Starbucks for probably the first six months. But once everyone learned the whole story, they were actually really cool about it. The girls at my office started saying, “If Zach can meet the love of his life on Tinder, why can’t I?!”

J: We still told our close friends. But random friends got the fake story. I always made Zach tell them.

(Maggie: I feel like we knew really early. I would say, “Wow, Zach is dating a really pretty girl!” and Derek would say, “Oh yeah, they met on Tinder!”)

 

When did y’all know you were going to get married?

Z: It was pretty early. Probably in the first six months.

J: Well, I went through a weird phase where I thought, “Mmm, yeah we’re not gonna end up together. But I don’t feel like I should break up with him yet, so we’ll just hang out.” At some point towards our first summer together, something clicked. I knew he was awesome and I wanted to end up together, forever. It started to become a conversation, and we discussed timelines. As a teacher I knew we’d have to get married in the summer.

Z: One of my married friends kept asking questions about me and Jessica. He said, “Do you love her? I can tell you do. Listen bro, my wife and I had a 37 day engagement (WHAT?!). Just go for it.” Yeah, no. Funny, though - their story isn’t too different - they met at church and reconnected years later on MySpace (#tbt). I still asked him for advice, and he encouraged me to make it a conversation. Within a few weeks of talking about it, she started sending me pictures of rings.

J: Zach wanted to wait another year because he felt like our relationship was moving a little quickly. But because of our life situations, we decided we couldn’t wait - just seeing each other on the weekends wasn’t cutting it. We wanted to be married and be roomies.

 

Do you think you would’ve met without tinder?

Both: I don’t know…..

Z: Seriously, when I pray, I say, “God, thank you for Tinder.” I’ve gone through some tough things in the past year, especially medically, and I had this amazing source of hope and encouragement in Jessica. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. Tinder is amazing.

J: If it was meant to be, I feel like God would’ve worked out. But Zach never came to Gwinnett County (where Jessica works, a suburb of Atlanta), and we only had one mutual friend, so I don’t know how our paths would’ve crossed.

 

Would you recommend Tinder?

Z: It depends what you’re looking for. I had just dated two psychos and I had given up on girls. I thought, “I’m just going to be a monk.” But Jessica was in pretty much the same place, right, babe?

J: With girls it’s so hard. It’s weird (in the South) to be 24 and single. My best friend and I were in the same boat. Everyone around us was getting married (because we Southerners are crazy), but eventually I accepted what God had given me. So would I recommend it… I don’t know.

Z: Same for me. I think Tinder was just the vehicle that God gave us to meet. It might not be for everyone, though...

 

If you liked Zach and Jess's story, check out these posts we think you'll love:

I'm an Extrovert Who Married an Introvert
10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage
Long Distance Relationships Suck
A Newlywed's Guide to Honeymooning

How'd you and your sweetheart meet? Let us know in the comments!

I'm an Extrovert Who Married an Introvert

By Derek Reimherr

When I was dating, I always tended to gravitate toward females like me: love being the center of attention, loud, gets along with anyone, boisterous bordering on obnoxious (in an endearing way of course), etc. You get the picture.

However, I will say I always had a soft spot for the shy women. There was something about flirting with a shy girl and seeing her get out of her shell a little bit that I always found attractive. That’s how I found myself in the situation I’m in now.

I wouldn’t have known it at the time, but when Maggie and I met, she was probably the most awkward with guys, most shy woman I had ever spoken to post-middle school. In the beginning of our relationship, I could tell she was a little quirky and nervous. Hey, who isn’t in the beginning? But I had no idea the introvert that I was saddling up next to.

We’ve worked out our kinks and now it’s actually a pretty nice balance. I pull her out of her own head and push us into social situations, and she helps me be okay with “just sitting still.” It wasn’t always this easy, though. Here are the things I’ve learned about being in a relationship with an introvert:

When they clam up, you just have to keep pushing.

The first year and a half of our relationship revolved around me telling (begging) Maggie to COMMUNICATE WITH ME. Literally just repeat the things that are going on in your head without processing through them 16 times. A lot of times, she knew exactly what she wanted to say/how she felt but wasn’t sure how to tell me. I learned that a little persistent encouragement was needed. I became the king of poking and prodding, except not in the creepy Facebook poke kind of way.

 

…But sometimes you have to let them think.

However, sometimes “I don’t know” really just means “I don’t know.” Unlike extroverts, introverts don’t figure out the great mysteries of life talking about them. They need a 45 minute bubble bath and laying on the sofa staring at the ceiling for an afternoon first. And then maybe they’ll know. Or maybe not and a Gilmore Girls binge will do the trick. Look, I’m still figuring this out. Altogether, being with Maggie has forced my patience to grow… a lot.

 

Introversion Shy

While she started out that way, my little introvert has grown into a social butterfly. Like bacon on the frying pan, though, leave her in a crowd too long, and she sizzles to a burnt crisp. She may be a little awkward at first, but she’s great at initiating conversation. Speaking of…

 

Extroverts go wide; introverts go deep.

We approach parties totally differently. I want to meet everyone there, get a snapshot of their hopes and dreams, and recite all of their names to Maggie afterwards. She’s a little different, but I think I have found a tactic to accommodate her. We walk in, find a corner, and stay there for a while. We’ll push through the initial awkwardness meeting strangers, and then I leave her to her own devices. While I’m frolicking through the masses of people with glee meeting everyone, she’ll leave with a new best friend.

 

Being introverted is not an excuse to be rude.

Ah, my favorite. What, you need an 8th night in a row to “recover” from a weekend of friends visiting before you can go out again? And you want to bail on previously made plans? Yeah, no. Just because you haven’t had 6 straight hours of quiet alone time does not mean you get to be cranky. Suck it up and be a person.

 

We extroverts wear people out easily.

Yeah, I’m kind of grating. I ask a crapload of questions. I beatbox and make up songs on the fly, and I yell at my anonymous teammates while playing online video games. I like to randomly pick Maggie up and fling her around in circles (apparently short people do not like to be picked up?) for no reason. I’m really freaking annoying. And sometimes I just have to shut up and go in the other room so that Maggie can watch her 3rd Big Brother episode of the week in peace.

 

Proximity = spending time together?

This is probably the weirdest revelation I’ve experienced. I can sit at the desk and write, read, game, whatever all day long while she does her thing on the couch. At the end of the day when we’re eating dinner, she’ll say, “I’ve loved spending this nice day together.” Wait, what? We actually didn’t spend any time…(sigh) y’all, I just go with it at this point.

 

Our opposite personalities have challenged me to understand a different point of view. Maggie has learned a lot from being married to this extrovert, too.

If you're an extrovert married to an introvert, what have you learned? Let us know in the comments!

More Lessons on #MillennialMarriage:

10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage
Guy's Perspective: A Primer on Getting Engaged
Fixer Upper Taste on an Ikea Budget

Guy's Perspective: A Primer on Getting Engaged

BY DEREK REIMHERR

Engagement was one of the most terrifyingly exciting times of my life. To say I was emotional and conflicted would be an understatement. On one hand, I had this fantastic woman who I loved dearly. On the other hand...officially locking myself down for life.

Ultimately, as evidenced by this blog’s existence, I went through with it. Surprise! The journey was fun but stressful. I’m here to offer some tips on what we did right and wrong.

Step 1: Evaluate the Relationship

“Why would I do that? I want to marry this person!” That’s all well and good, but this process is not for the faint of heart, and therefore it’s important to do more than a passing glance at the situation. Ask around to your friends, family, and any trusted people in your life. What do they think? It’s easy to be blinded by our affections, but you’d rather reconsider before they are legal ramifications, right?

List off all the endearing and irritating qualities about your significant other and why you want to move forward with this person. Reasons should not include, “Literally all of my other friends are engaged/married.” A good rule of thumb to live by is the 5:1 ratio, something I learned about while getting my psychology degree. Basically, couples who have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions are more likely to stay together. I don’t recommend keeping a tally, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Step 2: Determine the “When”

IMHO: Don’t start talking about your engagement plans 3 months into the relationship. In fact, the less you talk about it, the better. I persistently steered our pre-engagement conversations away from the topic. Why? You overlook serious issues in your relationship when you’ve already decided that you’re getting married.

However, once marriage is clearly the right step for your relationship, it’s not a bad idea to actually plan the engagement. For example, if your future wife is getting her Ph. D, maybe it would be best to wait until she’s finished her dissertation. Or be like Maggie’s cousins, who got married when they were both in the beginning of grad school and are walking through that process together.

Based on when I proposed, we were engaged for over a year. It was awful. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than looking at your future mate and just WANTING TO BE MARRIED but still having to wait 14 months. Our take: 9-month engagements seem to be the sweet spot. Just enough time to plan, not too much to drive yourself crazy planning. Enough time to digest the engagement and get pre-marital counseling, but not so much that you go bonkers like we did.

Step 3: Buying the ring

This part may be the most stressful for many men, but it should be an exciting time. The best advice I can give: plan in advance and pay cash. I was able to do that and it relieved an unbelievable amount of stress. Don’t overthink the process, though. This is truly the most exciting decision you’ve (probably) made up to this point of your life.

  • Make a budget. We like budgets. Whatever you’ve heard about spending on a ring, forget it. 3 months salary? Bollocks. I spent roughly 5 weeks’ salary, but we’re all different. Pick the number that works for you and try to stay within 5% of that number.
     

  • Pick the Style. Potentially the most daunting task. I asked one of Maggie’s friends and her sister (shout out to Lindsay and Claire). Ask several months in advance so you’re not too obvious. Next step, go to the treasure trove that is Pinterest - should be all the help you need. Try to figure out your lady’s style: traditional (diamond) or nontraditional (precious gem). All women are different and some don’t want a diamond because they’re a ripoff.
     

  • Educate Yourself. 4 C’s, y’all: carat, cut, color, and clarity. Learn them, know them. Decide which aspects are important and don’t compromise. If you want more info, peruse GIA’s website.  Whatever you buy, make sure it’s a certified gem. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), American Gemological Society (AGS), and European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) are all considered reputable agencies, with the GIA considered to be the highest standard.
     

  • Choose a Jeweler. Please don’t go to a chain store - the markups are ridiculous. Go to a family friend or go to a wholesaler. I went with the latter option where my ring immediately appraised for 50% more than I paid - probably what I would’ve paid if “He went to Jared.” If you don’t know a family friend and are near Atlanta, I went to “The Mart.”
     

  • Make the purchase. My advice: Don’t go with your significant other. You can go alone, but I took a close friend who was married and knew more than I did. I think it was more fun for Maggie to be surprised, and I think she agrees. When you’re searching for the ring, see if there’s a matching band. That makes it easier to assess your budget and not have to go back to the jewelry store again later.

    Always negotiate that price. Whether you’re under or over budget, it’s worth shaving off more money. I managed to shave about $900 off the list price of Maggie’s ring. BINGO.

That’s it! If you can make it through those 3 steps, you’re probably already engaged and don't need my advice. Congratulations!

Married friends: Any advice for the singles out there? Singles: Any hopes you have for engagement? Let us know!

Read More on #MillennialMarriage:

Fixer Upper Taste on an IKEA Budget
10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage
When an Introvert Marries an Extrovert

10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage

By Maggie Reimherr

I cannot even count how many times I’ve heard this sentence in my short 24 years of life: “Marriage doesn’t exist to make you happy; it’s to make you holy.” (#christianprobs) There’s something about this sentiment that’s a little unsettling, that suggests that marriage is a miserable relationship, BUT don’t worry - it’s making you holy.

In 3 months of marriage, here’s what I believe to be true: marriage is like one of those extremely well lit, magnifying mirrors that women use when applying makeup. You look at yourself and think, “Yikes. There’s some room for improvement here.” Here’s what I also believe to be true: you can work on the areas that need improvement and concurrently choose joy. The goal? To be happy and become more holy at the same time.

If you’re reading this and have been married for longer than 3 months, you’re probably thinking this:

Via giphy.com

Via giphy.com

I know that we have a lot of life left to live. It’s not always going to be as simple as it is in these days with no babies, 2 stable jobs, a 1 bedroom apartment, and the freedom to travel, to go out to a nice dinner on a random Tuesday, and to do whatever we want within reason. But hear me out: I’m learning a lot of lessons that I think will stick as we traverse the next 60+ years side by side. If we learn the basics now, we’re laying the foundation for a good life. Here’s what I’ve learned in just 3 months:

1. I am not a perfect angel person who is an absolute dream to live with.

Wow, can you imagine that? I’m kind of rude sometimes and a little bit lazy. Sometimes I’d rather leave my shoes and clothes strewn about than put them away. I’m prone to let the dishes stack in the sink for a day or two before dealing with them. I’m really loud when I’m trying to get dressed in the morning while Derek is still sleeping. Oops...

2. It’s easy to be a jerk when you’re living with someone.

This was a hard lesson for me, because I like to think of myself as a generally kind person. But I often find myself thinking, “WHY IS THIS PERSON ASKING ME SO MANY QUESTIONS??? LEAVE ME BE.” Sometimes, I just don’t want to speak to anyone, and this dude keeps trying to talk to me (#introvertproblems). The other night, after asking a series of questions earlier in the evening, Derek asked me what I was doing, and I replied, “OH MY GOSH, I’m looking at Twitter. UGH.” I could have handled that better.     

3. It’s easy to not be a jerk when you’re living with someone.

Here’s a hard truth about point #2: you are in control of your actions and emotions. Seriously. Other people aren’t responsible for the way you handle your feelings. If you’re annoyed that your husband didn’t rinse the ketchup off of his dish from dinner, and now it’s crusted on (gag), you can still control how you react to it. Instead of, “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THIS AGAIN, YOU SLOB,” you can say, “Hey honey, just want to remind you to rinse off your plates! Thanks!” If you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of an outburst (does anyone?), don’t be the one who dishes it out. Pun intended.

4. Life does not have to be one long date.

Before we got married, I couldn’t really picture what marriage would be like, because I couldn’t imagine spending that much time with another person. Anyone who’s ever lived with me knows that I like to go into a room by myself, close the door, and binge watch Netflix. I thought when we got married, we’d have to hang out ALL. THE. TIME. I was a little nervous. However, we fell into a groove really quickly. We discuss what we want to do in the evenings (read more about that here). If those things happen to align, great! Let’s hang out! If not, I’ll be camped out in front of the TV watching Gilmore Girls while Derek plays games on his computer.

5. …But you still need to date.

Your husband is also your boyfriend. There’s something really nice about sitting across the table from your spouse at a restaurant while decompressing from the week. We have planned, out-on-the-town date nights at least twice a month, and this works really well for us. I lovingly force Derek to sit through musicals on a regular basis in the name of dating me. Dates at home are great too. We spent a series of Fridays in our second married month watching Marvel movies, eating pizza, and drinking beer (and now I realize why my clothes are tighter than they were before the wedding). I’ve also taken up cooking fancy food as a hobby, and we’re loving dinner dates out on our balcony this summer.

6. Marriage works a lot better if you put away notions that it’s supposed to be a fairy tale.

This is real life. A Bachelor style romance isn’t sustainable. You and your spouse probably won’t go on Instagrammable adventures multiple times a week. You’re doing your whole life with this person - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Things you will probably experience:

  • Tiffs over how you should spend your money
  • Botching the recipe you were really excited about making your husband for dinner and having to go to McDonalds
  • Conflicting expectations of how you’re going to spend your weekeday evenings (I just wanna watch Parks and Rec, but he wants the TV for video games)
  • The brunt of your spouse’s frustration over a hard day at work
  • Irritation over the fact that he sheds body hair all over your bathroom
  • Rage that she chews with her mouth open (*guiltily raises hand*)
  • The desire to just be alone every once in awhile

7. There are good ways to handle conflict and really bad ways to handle conflict.

Don’t get defensive. Don’t be mean. Express your feelings calmly and rationally, and be open to the other person’s point of view. You might find that they have a point. If you don’t, they might come around to yours. Those chances increase significantly when you handle the discussion like a reasonable human being.

8. You might have conflict over stupid things, like “roommate issues.”

This isn’t something I anticipated when we got married. However, I think it’s pretty healthy that the majority of our conflicts are over household annoyances. For example: loading the dishwasher, doing the laundry, “WHY DID YOU LEAVE YOUR TOWEL THERE?”, “why is  your dirty laundry NEAR but not IN the basket?” etc.

9. Being in love with your roommate is really fun.

While we have “roommate conflict” every so often, the best part of living together is that I have a constant support system and best friend sharing 800 square feet of space with me. When I’m down, I have someone right there, 24/7, who will cheer me up. When I accomplish a goal or am successful at something, I have him there to celebrate with me. When he has a whim, like wanting to have a sleepover in the living room, I help him move the mattress. When I say, “Wanna go get ice cream?” he’s got his shoes on and car keys in hand in .5 seconds. When he texts me, “I’m hungry” (#millennials) from the bedroom, I whip up an omelette and take him breakfast in bed. When I want to snuggle, he snuggles with me. I get hugs and kisses all the time. It’s the best.

10. People may tell you the first year of marriage is REALLY hard, but that may not be true for you.

As we walk through the newlywed season with other couples who’ve gotten married within the last few years, we’re realizing this: everyone’s experience is vastly different. The first year of a marriage might be really hard. But it might not be. It’s been pretty easy for us so far because we learned to communicate really well through being long distance for a year and a half. Your story or your friend’s story might be different. I’ve found myself looking around thinking, “Why isn’t this harder? Everyone said this would be harder! WHEN IS THE OTHER SHOE GOING TO DROP?” Instead of being fearful for what might come in the remainder of this first year, I’ve just learned to accept that year 1 might just not be a hard year for us. There are going to be plenty of challenges down the road as our circumstances change, so there’s no need to borrow trouble. We’re basking in the simplicity of our DINK/newlywed life for now.

So three months in…I think I have all the answers to a successful marriage now! LOL JK. I’ll never have all the answers. What I do know is that no other relationship has ever challenged, encouraged, and inspired me like this one has. Marriage is such a gift. It’s a relationship that’s refining me to become the person who I aspire to be.
 


What about you? Married folks, what did you learn in your first few months of marriage? Leave us a comment on the blog or on social! We’d love to connect!

Read more from #MillennialMarriage:

City Living: Our Narrow Avoidance of a Rental Scam
Measure Once, Buy Once: A Furniture Shopping Story
Budget Basics: Where Did All My Money Go?
Fixer Upper Taste on an IKEA Budget

When an Introvert Marries an Extrovert...

By Maggie Reimherr

What a wonderful time to be an introvert. Over the last few years, introversion has somehow gone from “antisocial” to cool, hip, and introspective. Good news to me, as some of my favorite hobbies are journaling and watching Netflix. Time alone ~*revives*~ me. However, the whole marriage thing has really thrown this introvert for a loop. How do you be a person who’s refreshed by spending time alone when you share 850 square feet + your bed with another person?

I always thought I was a morning person until the first few weeks of our marriage, when my extroverted husband would walk into the living room and try to speak to me while I was journaling and drinking my coffee. Rude, right? Mornings as a single person had always been a sacred time: I woke up early, made a cup of coffee, and curled up back in bed to write. Now there’s another human in my space. He's another human who I love to spend time with, but sometimes I just need some peace.

My insistence that this was “how I did the mornings” did not fly with my husband; it actually ended up hurting his feelings. Human interaction fills his tank and makes him feel loved. When he’s around another person, he wants to talk. Sometimes he wants to be social, and I just do not. Here’s how we are learning to meet each other’s needs as well as our own:

1. Ask your spouse what they need.

I know you’re not a mind reader, so you may not intuitively know exactly what your spouse needs with regards to how you spend your time at home. So just ask. Derek does a great job of this. I get home from work, and Derek asks me what I want to do that evening. Sometimes, I want to hang out together. Sometimes, I want to take my laptop into our room and watch Gilmore Girls.

2. Communicate your needs with openness and honesty.

If I said, “Yes, babe, let's do something tonight!” every night, I'd be doing myself and our relationship a disservice. The same goes for Derek if every night he said, “Yes, sweetheart, you spend time by yourself, and I'll just play video games.” We each have emotional needs that we have to communicate if we’re going to meet them.

3. Set expectations.

Have clear expectations for how you want to spend your time, both individually and as a couple. Derek and I talked a lot about the best ways to handle the mornings. We realized that we can get up at the same time. He heads straight for the shower, using up all of the hot water in the process, and I head for the Keurig and the couch. By the time he’s done singing through the greatest hits of Justin Timberlake, I’m done with my cup of coffee and my morning writing. For the rest of the morning until one of us leaves for work, we spend time together eating breakfast, packing lunches, and chatting. It’s a perfect balance between Derek’s and my desires.

A little less than 3 months into marriage, we’re by no means experts, but this introvert and extrovert are learning to love each other better each day.

How We Met: Girl Pursues Boy

BY MAGGIE REIMHERR

I think it’s safe to say Derek and I started dating in an...untraditional way. The storybooks want you to believe it goes like this: boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy pursues girl, girl returns boy’s affections, they get married, and they live happily ever after.

Storybooks are wrong. It was 2013 people! And I was a 2013 woman.

I was a junior, and Derek was a senior at the University of Georgia. We were in a communications class together, and he caught my eye for two reasons:

  1. He had stickers on his laptop for the church I went to and the Christian fraternity at UGA.

  2. He was wearing a wristband from Passion, a yearly conference for 18-25 year old Christians.

These things signified to me that we were destined to meet. He loves Jesus; I love Jesus. Let’s love Jesus together forever. These are really normal thoughts to have the first time you notice someone, right?

Disclaimer: I used to be pretty shy. I’ve outgrown it now, but at the time I took weeks deciding how to approach Derek. Suddenly, it came to me in a stroke of pure, awkward brilliance. I just blurted out one day before class, “You went to Passion??! I went to Passion!!!” I spastically held up my own wristband as proof, and we started talking. Nailed it.

The next time we spoke was the following week before a test. Derek asked to borrow a pencil. He watched as I fetched one from a backpack pocket…which was bursting with *feminine hygiene products*. I was horrified. Out of the kindness of his heart, Derek pretended that he hadn’t seen. He totally had. And from that day forward, we were class buddies. Can’t spell bonding without tampons!

One day after class, Derek noticed that we always left in the same direction, so he said, “You’re walking with me today.” This was my first introduction to “Cool Guy Derek.” Cool Guy Derek was just being casually flirty. Awkward Girl Maggie swooned over his simple request. We started walking together after class twice a week, and those walks became the highlight of my week.

I started mulling over the idea of asking Derek to my sorority formal, but I I didn’t have his phone number. Opportunity soon struck. A few weeks later, he Facebook messaged me something about class and I oh so smoothly typed, “I have to log off but you can text me your question!” and sent along my phone number. He texted me. Number procured, straight killin’ it.

source: giphy.com

source: giphy.com

On a Friday night, I sent him a text asking if he would be my date to formal. I promptly threw my phone across the room and took the longest shower of my life to avoid checking my phone obsessively. But of course he replied (hours later), yes.

Plans were made. I bought a new dress. Here’s a photo of me getting ready. I mean, who can say that they have a mirror pic taken before their first date with their husband? I can.

Peace, y'all.

Peace, y'all.

Formal was our very first date. Liquid courage was flowing. The formal was at the nearby Botanical Garden, and after the dinner portion of the evening, Derek and I went on a walk through the gardens. We laughed about the weird plant names on informational plaques as we walked - pure romance. At one point, Derek tried to steer me onward after looking at some of the plant signage. It seemed like he was turning me around to face him, so I thought, “This is my moment.” I spun 180 degrees and planted a kiss right on his lips. He was surprised, but he was into it. He totally kissed me back. Then we kissed a bunch more times throughout the evening, even when friends were watching.

After no communication from him for 2 days, I confronted him via a “Thanks for being my date!” text. Actually, that’s a lie. A sorority sister’s boyfriend sent him a text him from my phone that was edited and proofread by 4 sets of eyes before it got sent (#millennials, amirite?).

All I got back was a one sentence reply that just thanked me for taking him. I was mad now. I texted back, “Are we going to talk about Friday night?” He called me and said he thought I was attractive but wasn’t “into me.” Definition of a backhanded compliment much? Oh well, you win some you lose some.

24 hours later, Derek texted me, “I know this might sound weird, but I can’t stop thinking about you. Would you want to hang out sometime this week?”

 

🎵Hot then you’re cold, yes then you’re no🎵

 

...But who am I to turn away a date?

So we went on a little date. We strung up hammocks and talked for at least 3 hours. We got serious after that, and we’ve been serious ever since.

To say our relationship was touch and go in the beginning is an understatement. But we’ve kept on pursuing each other ever since. Storybooks are wrong, ladies. You don’t have to wait around for your man - go get him yourself!

Our love story is no fairytale, but I like it better that way. The awkwardness and the missteps of our beginning reflect life: the best things aren’t wrapped up in a nice package with a pretty bow. The best things are real and imperfect.

Read more from #MillennialMarriage:

Long Distance Relationships Suck
A Newlywed's Guide to Honeymooning
10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage
When an Introvert Marries an Extrovert

Long Distance Relationships Suck

BY DEREK REIMHERR

For the longest time, I refused to do long distance relationships. I even went as far as saying, “I’ll NEVER do it." I broke up with my high school girlfriend because we went to college in different states. I ignored potential dating opportunities because the woman and I lived an hour and a half apart. I couldn’t wrap my head around being exclusively tied to someone when I wouldn’t see them but every so often.

Funny how the phrase “I will never ____” never really works out.

Maggie and I started dating about 6 months before I graduated college. A year into our relationship, and 4 whole torturous months after graduation, I accepted a job based in Los Angeles. Before I even left the final interview, Maggie was chewing her nails in anxiety knowing how I felt about our upcoming arrangement.

From July 2014 until January 2016, we didn’t live in the same city. Specifically, we lived 2,200 miles apart for 9 months and 1,000 miles apart for another 9 months. The only way to see each other was weekend trips involving time-off from work and a plane ticket.

My interactions with Delta, Southwest, and (ugh) American Airlines went something like this during this time:

Source: giphy.com

Source: giphy.com

Not the point of this post. I’m still bitter if you can’t tell. This is why I didn’t want to do long distance - hemorrhaging from the wallet is not my favorite activity.

Eventually, we figured out a system and learned a few thing about being long distance. These lessons have carried over into our life as a married couple *finally* living in the same place.

 

1. You HAVE to be committed.

Did you miss the title where I said long distance is terrible? You need to seriously consider if this person is worth it. For every long distance success story, there has to be at least 4 stories of burnout. Maggie and I each had our own rounds of questioning the relationship. It’s just a necessary step.

 

2. Block off time for phone calls (or Skype)

TBH, texts aren’t gonna cut it. Phone calls are the only way to download your day/week with each other to get the full picture of daily life. We always talked immediately after work. Stuff happens in the evening like hanging out with friends (or Netflix binges if you’re Maggie). Skype was not our cup of tea, though. “Hey, let’s talk for an hour while staring intently into each other’s souls.” Nah, we’re good. But more power to you if it works!

 

3. If you’re not good at feelings now, learn quickly.

Maggie was not good at feelings. I thought I was good at feelings (I wasn’t). The trick with normal distance relationships is that when things go wrong, you can use visual nonverbals aka body language. Over the phone? Not so much. Miscommunications can happen frequently and you have to be prepared to deal with them. Honesty and openness are key.

 

4. Make the weekend trips count.

In my opinion, this is not the time for lounging. Unless you have the disposable income to fly more frequently or you can make reasonably regular drives, get out there and spend your weekend visits dating each other! We were such tourists when I lived in LA and we’re not sorry about it. We could watch TV and movies together via speakerphone or a (shudder) Skype call. We couldn’t do the Hollywood sign hike anytime.

 

5. Keep the end in sight.

Summer-long reprieve when you’re in your hometowns? Only 2 semesters left? Hoping to relocate jobs? Moving in together? Whatever your end goal is, always keep that at the forefront of your minds. For us, it was marriage. Anytime it got really tough, we focused on how many months were left. I couldn’t image just casually dating someone for 5 years long distance. Get outta here, you crazies.

 

At the end of the day, a long distance relationship is tough, but you learn a ton. I have become a much more organized person with my calendar (sometimes to the chagrin of my friends). I hunt for deals on flights and activities like I wouldn't have before. I know how to keep in touch with my long distance friends.

I’m still team #NeverLongDistance. But if you do find yourself in that situation with the person you love, I promise you: it will be worth it.

Do you have any long distance advice? Share it in the comments! We love hearing from you!

Read more about relationships on #MillennialMarriage:

When an Introvert Marries an Extrovert
How We Met: Girl Pursues Boy
10 Lessons Learned in 3 Months of Marriage