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Survival Tips for the Modern Groom : Intracoastal Outfitters

At some point in your wedding ceremony you’re going to hear a reference to you and your wife becoming one. It’s a great metaphor. It really is. But if you want to stay as one, here are a few useful tips based on my experience these last fifteen years or so.

Don’t take together forever too literally. The best way to remain one is to make sure you remain two enough to remember why you wanted to become one in the first place. If you’re lucky you both maintained good friendships along the way. Find ways to keep them healthy. Take guys’ trips and encourage her to take girls’ trips. Grab a beer after work when you can. And no I don’t mean going out to the point where you’re streaking and asking for KFC late night. But find a balance that works for both of you.

Date other couples and be open-minded. My wife and I moved into a town where we literally knew no one. At some point, we started socializing with other couples. Most were basically blind dates. One particular Sunday we invited a couple over for drinks, barbecue and football, only to find out they were Vegan Baptist missionaries who didn’t drink or follow any sports. At all. Later I met a loud, obnoxious psychology Ph.D. who chain-smoked yet gave nationwide talks on how to quit smoking and constantly made crass comments. Our wives hit it off, though, and on our first night out there was instant chemistry and we became fast, good friends. We started figuring out whom we meshed with, then worked to deepen the friendships where it worked and dump the ones that didn’t. This is important because having other couples around who you really get along with will make you a stronger couple. If one or both of you is constantly struggling to enjoy your time, then the opposite can occur.

Come up with a plan for your money.  In nearly every relationship there is one person who is budget-oriented and there is one who is not so much (for the latter, picture Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber walking down the sidewalk with a huge sombrero, a case of beer, and a paddle ball game). If you’re so different, how do you share money then? Do you keep separate finances and pay bills like you did with your roommates in college? Or do you combine finances and let the budget-conscious one of you manage the money? However you do it, managing money with two people is never going to be easy. But you must come up with some kind of plan. Try it, change it, adapt, and ultimately, find a financial adviser you both like and trust. Seriously. Neither one of you knows nearly as much about money as you think you do.

Kidnap your Spouse. Okay, so you’ve made it past your first year. Things seem to be going well. You’re still watching Thursday night football with all your buddies while she does Bunko. After some dud dates, you’ve found a few other couples you like to hang out with where sparks fly. You’ve even compromised on finances. There is a budget you agree on, you’ve bought your first house, you’re saving a little money, and you even started a “pillow account” which is code for discretionary funds earmarked for absurd unnecessary purchases that you don’t have to fight about (yes, I’ve done this before . . . ). But then, something happens. Your routines get stale, dinner parties are lackluster, and you actually found yourself arguing over toilet paper. That’s when you must recognize that it’s time to kidnap your spouse. It’s very simple, but it works. Pick a destination, book a room, tell your spouse to pack a bag, and then get the hell out of town. Because sometimes even when you work hard in a relationship and do all the right things, you still have to get away from the world you’ve created to remind yourself of why you got together in the first place.

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