How do you decide what to keep and what to replace?
Everyone deserves the chance to build a life they don’t need a vacation from. Unfortunately, not everyone can quit their job and pursue their passion until it becomes a success. Most of us have to work a 9-to-5 during the day and burn the midnight oil at night, bit by bit, month by month, year by year in order to make our dreams a reality. We have to balance our dreams of entrepreneurship and financial independence with the realities of supporting our families.
Every once in a while though, I get this intense longing to just leave my job and do it. Take a leap of faith, so to speak. I’d totally do it if I was single, but when you’re married, you can’t make these types of decisions alone. I did make the attempt a while back, and I learned some really valuable lessons from the experience.
In 2016, I decided that I wanted to take a year of maternity leave from my job as a science teacher at a middle school. I really felt like God was calling me to step out on faith and blog full-time so that I could have more time at home with my kids. So I talked to my husband about it, and he was on board. At the time, he was in grad school working on his marriage and family degree. We figured that we could survive on his income alone if we had WIC and food assistance to supplement.
Building a successful blog turned out to be much harder than we anticipated. In my mind, I thought that since people really liked my blogs, it would take a year or so for my blog to take off and make at least $1000 dollars a month.
I was so wrong.
We had to figure out our brand message, our brand story, what products and services we wanted to offer people, and so much more. We invested money into hiring a brand strategist to help us, a professional photo shoot, and email service to send out weekly newsletters. I was home with our newborn baby and our one-year-old most of the week. We started sending her to daycare twice a week so that I’d have time to blog. We had two additional family members staying with us at the time, and I had postpartum blues, so there was a lot going on.
The job that my husband thought he had secured fell through, so he started looking for another job, but in the meantime we had rent to pay. We started to fall behind on some of our bills. After a while, it became clear that we desperately needed money in order to catch up, and I made the decision to go back to work. It just so happened that my school needed a biology teacher fast, so I figured that was a clear sign that I was meant to go back to work.
Going back to teaching meant I had to make time to write articles and market my blog on social media in between lesson-planning, grading, and being mom and wife.
It’s hard. And I’m still not blogging full-time 3 years later, but I’m still working toward my goal. I once read a quote by Brian Tracy that says, “There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines.” So if your spouse (or you) have a passion you want to pursue and you feel like you want to quit working to invest in it, here’s what I want you to learn from my story.
You have to have a plan.
When I decided to quit teaching, my husband was behind me 100%. He really believed in my talent for writing and he wanted me to get paid for it. So we figured that we could survive on his income. But at that point, he hadn’t been hired yet, and we had very little money saved up. So we didn’t have a real plan; what we had was a bunch of hopes. If you’re really serious about taking that leap of faith, you have to have a rock solid plan that includes having money saved up in the bank for emergencies.
Save, save, save!
Emergencies come up, unexpected things happen, and you need to make sure your family is taken care of. Find a way to get a year’s worth of your income to stash away. Sell one of your cars, pick up an extra shift, and do whatever you can to make sure your bills can get paid if your business idea takes longer than you expected.
Expect your plan to get detoured.
Launching a business will require you to learn a lot of stuff really fast. Sometimes things will take longer than you expect, and sometimes they’ll be more expensive than you thought, or just be harder than you anticipated. Sometimes you’ll have to start over or take a class to learn a skill you need. Inevitably, there will be bumps in the road, and it will save you from a lot of discouragement if you know that before you start.
Don’t give up!
Remember, there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines. Your dream is yours, and no one can stop you from making you a reality. It just takes the right information and time. It may take a lot longer than you thought (like it is for me, lol) but you have to keep going at it. If you keep working, there’s a 100% possibility of success. But if you stop, well, there isn’t any.
Pursuing your dreams will make you a more fulfilled person, and your family and marriage will benefit from you being as happy and fulfilled as possible. Just make sure your plan to pursue your dreams will also allow your family to thrive too.
Here are some great resources to help you and your spouse get on the same page about your goals for this year:
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When you’re married, it seems like all you do is work to pay bills every weekday, looking forward to the weekend, which always seems to end way too quickly. Before you know it, you’re just…..surviving. Day to day, year to year, and slowly but surely, your relationship gets stale.
But I’m here to tell you...don’t get caught up!
If you’re feeling like your marriage and life as a whole has gotten blah and you no longer look forward to the newness of every day, week, and year, pump the brakes and have a vision board date night together. Planning your vision for your future as a family is guaranteed to help you connect and and help you re-evaluate where your lives are headed. Couple goals are super important to the growth of your relationship, and the both of you as individuals.
1. Goals keep you focused on the important things in life.
When you first got married, each of you had dreams for yourselves and for your future together. What happened to those dreams? Have you been actively working on them, or have you gotten caught up in survival mode?
Doing a vision board together will bring you and your spouse back to the basics of your lives-and your marriage. The most important things in life are your relationships with the people you love. Doing a vision board together will help you get intentional about putting first things first and making sure it stays that way every day.
2. Goals help you make the most of each moment.
When you don’t have a clear focus, you take on a lot of different responsibilities. All those little extra things may be taking valuable time and energy away from the things you really want to achieve in your life. When you do your vision board, talk about the top 3 priorities for your marriage and family. As you make more time (and money) for those things, you have to cut out all the unnecessary stuff. This will leave you free to make lots of progress in your lives and get rid of all the fluff that you only think you need.
3. Goals challenge you to keep growing.
No one wants to be in a stale marriage, but every couple has spent some time in the dead zone where it feels like you’re just existing as housemates, but you don’t have to stay there! Getting together regularly to update your vision board and talk about your progress will keep you accountable for working on those goals (and yourself) every day. As you become a better version of yourself, growing and learning, the quality of your marriage will get enhanced too. That’s the beauty of growth-you bring something to the table in every area of your life. Your focus on your goals will make your life better because you’ll be actively working on your family, not just for your family.
At some point every couple falls into survival mode where life becomes all about bills, debt payments, your careers, and raising the kids. Your vision board date night will get you out of that rut and get you back on track. Re-visit the dreams and goals you originally had when you got married, or had last year even. Think about where you want your family to be in a 1 year, 5 years, and even 10 years. Think far ahead, then figure out what things you want to tackle this year.
Want to have your vision board date night? Download my Vision Board Planner!
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The last 4 episodes of Black-ish had me in tears. When Bow and Dre’s relationship started unraveling, I felt like it was my own parents splitting up. Maybe it’s because I grew up seeing my parents argue all the time the way Bow and Dre were doing. Or maybe it’s because I saw how easily Bow and Dre’s story could have been me and my husband; point is, it was heart-wrenching to see even a TV couple go through this emotional roller coaster as their marriage hit a huge bump in the road.
I felt that this fictional family was my family. I felt like their marital issues were my marital issues. This speaks to their phenomenal acting skills, of course; but it also speaks to the fact that EVERY marriage has its heartbreaking moments, angry moments, moments where you feel like you need to just go back to being single and start a new life without your spouse. Every marriage eventually hits the point where one or both people think, “I don’t know if this is going to work out.”
Have you ever felt that way? You ever find yourself thinking, “We’re not going to make it..”
I have news for you.
It’s not too late to get your marriage back on track!
Here are some steps Jono and I have taken when we started feeling like we were growing apart...
1. Go to therapy!
When your car needs an oil change, you go to a mechanic. When you need your teeth cleaned, you go to a dentist. So why are you trying to fix your marriage problems all by yourself?? Go to a professional who has the tools to equip you and your spouse and help you guys get back on the same page. I loved the fact that Blackish showed Bow and Dre going to therapy together!
I know a lot of people shy away from going to a therapist because they’re afraid the therapist will gang up on them with their spouse, but a good therapist never takes sides. On the contrary, they will help each of you see things through the other person’s eyes and give you strategies on how to resolve disagreements. Therapy could be a game-changer for your relationship!
2. Cut back on other commitments so you can get reacquainted.
There’s nothing more important than your relationship with your spouse. Even your kids shouldn’t take priority over your relationship (not long-term anyway). How happy and well-adjusted will your kids be if there’s constantly a negative vibe between you and your spouse? Your kids will grow up and leave the house, but you and your spouse will be together way beyond that. So invest in your marriage today and do whatever it takes to reconnect.
Get a trusted family member or friend to babysit a couple of evenings a week so you can get quality time together
Cut back on work hours until your relationship is back on track and you work out a new schedule that works for BOTH of you.
Instead of falling asleep to the TV, take a few minutes every night to talk about the day and your future goals.
STOP volunteering for every church activity! The church will function just fine if you drop one or two activities. Even too much of a good thing is bad.
3. Go to a marriage conference together.
I’ve heard of so many couples who had basically decided on divorce, but gave their marriage one last shot by going to a marriage conference.
I’m not saying that a marriage conference will fix your marriage. But it will get you around people who are having problems similar to yours, and give you much-needed hope for your relationship. At a marriage conference, you’ll get to hear from other couples who are having problems similar to yours, as well as professionals who have helped couples get their marriages back on track.
There’s a great marriage conference called Weekend To Remember hosted by Family Life Today. They’re held all around the country all throughout the year, and they only cost $300 per couple! Your iPhone costs more than that! And your marriage is definitely more important than an iPhone.
If you can’t afford a marriage conference right now, start listening to a marriage podcast together. and discussing how you can implement the advice. There are tons of great ones out there!
If your marriage isn’t getting any better with you and your spouse trying to do it alone, get help! Put your marriage in intensive care and get to the bottom of your issues. The first step is to find a licensed marriage and family therapist to guide you through the process. This decision in itself is a game changer. The next thing to do is to cut back as much as possible on other commitments and put your marriage FIRST. And finally, get around other couples who are trying to improve their marriages. Go to a marriage conference together. You’ll see firsthand that other people are have the same struggles as you. It will also allow you to be away from every distraction and re-focus your attention on what’s most important: your marriage.
When you feel like you and your spouse are drifting apart, don’t wait for it to fix itself. Invest time, money, energy, whatever it takes, to have a great marriage. A happy marriage doesn't just happen; you have to put in the work!
Till next time!
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*****Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Black Panther, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you know what to do 😊
Last Sunday husbae and I went to see Black Panther and it was A-MAZING! Aside from all the deep lessons on politics, race, and culture, I also got some great takeaways from it on love and family.
1. Deal with your past. Because of choices his family members made, Killmonger grew up without a father, in the hood. Worse, he KNEW that he had family out there somewhere, living a life way better than his, and had left him to face it alone. Understandably, he had a lot of bitterness and anger about that. So when he tried to make things better for his people, all that resentment was still there, driving his decisions. The scene where he kills his own girlfriend, his ride or die, in order to kill Klaue and get to Wakanda, shows this in a big way. He was willing to sacrifice her life in order to accomplish what he thought was best. He wanted to help black people around the world, but he didn’t realize whatt he was destroying in order to do it. When he came to power, the unity that existed between the tribes of Wakanda was shattered, and civil war broke out.
When we let our pain define us and drive our decisions, we end up destroying everything we touch. Even if you have great intentions, you don’t have the discernment to go about it in a constructive way. When you get close to people, the pain you refuse to let go of will end up driving them away because you won’t know how to deal with stuff that triggers those memories. If you truly love your partner, you’ll do what it takes to get healing and deal with your issues so that they don’t end up dealing with you.
2. Your decisions don’t just affect you. When Eric/Killmonger went to the ancestral plain to talk to his father, it broke my heart. His father said, “No tears for me?” Eric replied, “Everyone dies, that’s just the way things are around here.” His father decided to stay in the hood and live off illegal activities in order to accomplish what he saw as Black liberation. But the Wakandan values of family were lost in exchange. His son had become desensitized and shut himself off emotionally. He had no empathy for others, no moral code. He became a man bent on revenge. Tears flowed down his father’s face as he realized what he had sacrificed with his decisions, and the role he had played in his son becoming the man he was now.
In my 4 years of parenting, I can honestly say that ALL of my habits show up in my kids, in some form or another. They don’t just listen to what I say, they listen to what I DO. So there’s been a LOT of adjustment on my part as I realize that I’ve got some things in me that I need to change in order for my kids to be successful, productive, and happy people. If I react emotionally every time they do something wrong, they learn to go by their feelings when making decisions. Everything you do now becomes a legacy for your kids and future generations.
What do you want YOUR legacy to your family to be?
Comment below on your takeaways from Black Panther. What did it teach you about love and family? And what legacy do you want to leave your kids?