How Good Do You Want It To Get?
Note: this post appeared on my previous blog and was published on 11.15.2017
Recently, my wife had to travel for work. She was gone for 4 days during the school week and 2 days on the weekend. And since Sutton started kindergarten this year, it also happens to be the first year we haven't had full-time child care.
No problem, right? The kids are on the bus at 9a and off the bus around 4:30p. I'm a very engaged parent. Plenty of time to work, too. I got this!
Only it happened to be a week with two half days at school (SERIOUSLY?!). Thomas decided it was a good week to channel his inner Mike Tyson and use his siblings as punching bags. Oh, and it was Sutton's 6th birthday.
It wasn't just our run of the mill week. It was going to take some serious discipline on my end to balance being present as a parent and present at work.
I'm writing this on Friday. My kids get off the bus in about 2 hours. Jill's flight lands on Sunday afternoon. I am wiped out. And I still have the rest of today, Saturday and Sunday in front of me. Prayers welcome.
Quick aside: To all of the stay at home parents out there, big ups! And to all of the single and working parents…how in the HECK do you do this each and every day?! You deserve to run out of your bedroom every morning to a standing ovation, getting high fives all the way down the stairs. HUGE UPS!!!
Okay, Thursday night, after a half day at school, three playdates, a quasi birthday party for Sutton, getting the kids to bed, and squeezing some work in between everything else, I finally sat down to relax...and it hit me.
How fortunate am I to have a supporting, amazing wife who keeps our chaos from spinning out of control? She's a tremendous mother to our kids and an incredible wife & partner, the best a guy could hope for. Not that I didn't already know it, but those are true facts.
This week has helped me appreciate our partnership, and her, so much more.
More importantly, what in the world would I do, how would I manage if I was a single parent? What if something happened to Jill? Or what if our marriage fell apart and ended in divorce?
See, this is really important.
I do a lot of work to help couples plan responsibly for retirement. We focus on things like protection, cash flow, investments, etc. And there's one factor we often assume and don't often discuss.
All of our planning, all of work together - it ALL depends on our marriages staying together. If our marriage ends in separation or divorce, the entire equation changes. Roughly 50% of today’s marriages end in divorce.
In my experience, couples rarely take pro-active steps to make sure that they are in the 50% that stays together.
That's a powerful sentence right there.
I want you to take a few minutes right now and, if you have a partner - a wife, husband, whatever - check in with them. Identify a couple steps you can take to help strengthen your partnership. Maybe it's something small like making the bed or showing more affection. Maybe it's something bigger like communicating more effectively and with purpose. Or getting away, just the two of you. I don't know. Just do it.
Look, most of the time I'm writing here about how we can do well and be well, financially. That's all well and good, no doubt. Perhaps more importantly, this week has confirmed and affirmed for me just how important a strong relationship is to our personal lives and to our families. And that's equally important to your financial future, too.
So ask yourself: how good do you want it to get?