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Writing with her signature mix of humor and information, along with relationship and money-saving tips, Ellie Kay coaches women through the critical first year of marriage. Her topics include: the princess bride on a Cinderella budget, crafting a spiritual foundation for the marriage, what to call the in-laws, how to decorate without breaking the bank, and much more. Valuable advice contained in a handy, easy-to-use format, this will be the book the newlywed will use again and again.
About the Author:
Ellie Kay knows firsthand the values of family, home, and children. An engaging speaker, Ellie has appeared on over 300 radio stations and numerous national TV shows. The New Bride Guide is her fifth book. She and her family make their home in New Mexico.
|Publisher:||Bethany House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||7.18(w) x 7.42(h) x 0.60(d)|
Alas, My Love! I Have Found You!
We're Back From the Honeymoon, Now What?
We got back from our honeymoon on a Friday. By that Sunday I realized that I had married a man with a problem.
I had no idea.
I was shocked.
I was embarrassed.
It was then I knew ... this was war! A tug of war, to be precise.
When the Sunday paper arrived, Bob ran outside to retrieve it and brought it back to our front porch with a slightly half-witted expression on his face. That should have been my first hint, but I remained clueless. After all, he was my Prince Charming, my Knight Upon a White Steed. How could he possibly have ... a flaw?!
My picture-perfect image of Bob began to change as soon as I asked to see the morning paper before he had opened it. He looked at me incredulously, as if I had just asked him if we could dedicate our firstborn to Baal. He then responded with the maturity of a three-year-old: "I had it first!"
I was surprised by his reaction, but I nonchalantly reached for the paper and held my ground.
"All I want are the coupons and Parade magazine," I explained calmly.
He quickly jerked it out of my hand, "I said, I had it first!"
Okay, I thought, no more Mrs. Nice Newlywed!
I was quick.
I grabbed the paper and quickly tried to walk away.
I was jerked back and found myself face-to-face with Bob the Newspaper Hog.
I wanted the coupons and he, well, he wantedgasp! the comics!
He pulled and I jerked. He pulled again and I called him a jerk.
We couldn't seem to get a grip on ourselves or the paper, and the plastic bag encasing the morning treasure finally gave way. The paper spilled into ten directions onto the front porch. Bob scrambled for his precious comics, while I scrambled for the coupon inserts. But the real trouble had only just begun.
Bob began to read the comics, right there on the front porch. His guffaws were not exactly quiet and demure like most self-respecting men. They were loud. They sounded like the mating call of a great Canadian moose. I felt like I was at the zoo. Frankly, I would have given anything to be at the zoo rather than on the porch with this cackling weirdo. His bellowing brought the neighbors out of their homes to see what animal had been let loose in the apartment complex. I thought they'd see the slightly eccentric pilot laughing at the Sunday comics and go back into their homes. But no! They pulled up chairs for the gathering crowd. One industrious kid even sold coffee and donuts for twenty-five cents each!
It was then that I realized the honeymoon was over.
When Bob finished the Wizard of Id, the final comic strip in the section, he finally stopped his bellowing, and it was only then that he realized he'd drawn a crowd. With the sideshow over, everyone folded up their lawn chairs and went back into their apartments. But not before Bob bought a donut (that's yet another addiction, but let's handle one at a time).
When I got over the shock of it all and confronted Bob with his embarrassing guffawing "problem," his explanation was simple: "It takes so little to keep an idiot happy."
There tends to be some moment of truth for all couples that happens during or after the honeymoon, when they realize their lives have dramatically changed forever. With me, it was the comic experience, one that I desperately tried to change in Bob, but a habit that he continues to this day. The kids pull up chairs, make microwave popcorn, and are entertained for about fifteen minutes each Sunday morning, listening to their father honk like an injured goose. (Which is the real reason we're perpetually late for church.)
For Bob, the moment of truth was when he noticed that I squeezed the toothpaste tube from the middle rather than the end and put the toilet paper on the holder the wrong way. For my sister-in-law, Debby, it was the first time she had to do laundry for her husband and handle his dirty underwear. For my friend Martha, it was the first time she got sick and still had to make dinner because her husband was on a tight schedule that didn't allow for sick new brides.
For others, it will be the first time they have to sit down and pay bills, realizing that they still have more month left at the end of the paycheck. There are positive realizations mixed in as well. It might be the first holiday you share together when you realize that you and your husband are now a family. Or the first time you give your name as Mrs. So-and-So or tell your co-workers that your husband gave you that string of pearls for your wedding gift. It's a special and a scary feeling all at the same time. But at some point we all realize that the wedding festivities are over, and a new life has begunfor better or for worse!
So where do you start? What do you do now that the honeymoon is over? What's next? This chapter and, indeed, the rest of this book, are going to address some basic "housekeeping" and relational issues that every new bride needs to understand in order to make her home a castle fit for the king and queen.
HousekeepingOrganizing Your New Home
One of the most formidable tasks after the honeymoon lies in getting your home (and yourselves) organized. Here's a basic checklist of tasks you might want to complete during the first month of marriage as well as organizational tips for a variety of household items:
Thank-you notes should be written and mailed within a month of your return from your honeymoon, so make them a priority on your to-do list.
Delegating TasksDeciding Who Does What
There are a lot of details to take care of in the first monthand every monthof marriage. Who's going to make sure the thank-you notes get written, the taxes filed? Who's going to add both names to the titles, your rings to the homeowner's policy, your spouse to the medical plan (if needed)? Is he going to pay the bills, or are you? Who's going to do the laundry, take out the garbage, and make sure there's milk in the fridge and the recycling gets to the curb?
To make sure nothing essential falls through the cracksand to keep conflicts at a minimummake a checklist of everything that needs to get done in your home on a monthly basis and who is going to do each task. Work on this together; it's a little too soon in your marriage for "honey do" lists!
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
I've heard one too many brides gripe and complain about "writing those thank-you notes" as if it were a colossal chore equivalent to the building of the Great Pyramids. Writing thank-you notes is a privilege because it means that you were gifted by someone. It's one less thing you'll have to buy. For five minutes "labor" of writing a note and the price of a postage stamp, you received an item of real value. Where else can you "work" for a few minutes and get a place setting of china? How long do you have to work at your job to earn enough to buy a toaster? By changing your perspective on these notes, you can breeze through them with genuine gratitude. Thank-you notes should be written and mailed within a month of your return from your honeymoon, so make them a priority on your to-do list. I'd recommend that your husband write the wedding gift thank-yous to his friends and family, since he knows them better and would add a more personal touch. It is the bride's responsibility, however, to write the thank-you notes for her shower, her family, and her friends.
As you write, remember the three ABCs of writing a good thank-you note:
1. Accuracy. Address it to the people by name (i.e., "Dear Tom and Alice" or "Dear Dr. and Mrs. Thomas") and be sure to include your spouse, such as "Tom and I thank you ..."
2. Brevity. You don't have to write two-page notes to each person, except perhaps your parents or someone else who went above and beyond to help in your wedding planning. A few sincere sentences will suffice.
3. Clarity. Be sure to mention the item they gave you (i.e., "Thank you for the generous check" or "Thank you for the knitted poodle Kleenex box holder").
You may be amazed at how many mailing lists newlyweds end up on and how much mail you and your new hubby will receive. Here are tips to manage it before you're buried under it!
Practice the four D's:
Do it now (pay the bill, respond to the letter).
Delegate (let your hubby take care of it).
Delay it (put it in the bill drawer or project file for later).
Dump it (into the trashespecially catalogs or other temptations to overspend).
Heart-Keeping: Building Your Relationship
Now that we've got the house under control, let's move on to something even more importantreining in our expectations of developing a flawless relationship with our spouse so that we can work on a realistic one.
You know the saying: People don't plan to fail, they just fail to plan. According to Sally Ride, a successful astronaut who has accomplished more in her life so far than most, there are three secrets to success:
1. Be willing to learn new things.
2. Be able to assimilate new information quickly.
3. Be able to get along with and work with other people.
Sounds pretty simple, huh? But this kind of an approach to life requires focus and diligence. It requires a plan. Let's take Sally's philosophy and apply it to marriage in general and also specifically to the other information you'll be learning in this book.
1. Be willing to learn new things.
The sooner a bride realizes that she doesn't know everything about married life and that she needs help, the better off she'll be. This may mean you learn a new dish to cook that your spouse loves (and you may not love). It also applies to learning better and more effective ways to communicate, organize your finances, and appreciate male/female differences.
The sooner a bride realizes that she doesn't know everything about married life and that she needs help, the better off she'll be.
I have been privileged to be a mentor to and be mentored by many women throughout my life, and there's one and only one thing that will cause me to terminate the relationshipan unteachable spirit. As long as a woman keeps her heart open and teachable, there is hope. The day you believe you have nothing more to learn is the day you begin to shrink on the inside into oblivion and irrelevance. Be willing to learn and you can impact the world.
2. Be able to assimilate new information quickly.
Isn't this a natural trait rather than a learned response? Not really. Sure, there are people who seem to have photographic memories and can reconstruct a conversation or other information almost perfectly. But there's more to this point than an ability to regurgitate information. It means that when we are presented with new information, we become critical thinkers. This requires effort, and if you're used to spending a lot of time in front of the TV, computer games, or other electronic stimulation, you begin to lose your ability to think on your own and think well. So perhaps a good start would be to minimize how much television you watch and other "non-thinking" stimuli.
Then as you read, for example, the chapter on male/female differences, you begin to think about how you fit the description. You can better understand that your husband is not better or worsebut different, and how it could impact your relationship. Soak in all the information you can and let it be released in practical ways that help you grow as a person.
3. Be able to get along with and work with other people.
Let's face it. Some people are "upfront" folks that just love to be around people. But even if you're not a people person in the traditional sense, you can still learn to get along with and work well with other people. It's essential if you are to have success in your marriage, work, and other relationships. There's a Scripture that says, "As long as it lies within you, live at peace with all men." This means that you cannot control other peoplewhat they say, how they respond, and what they do. But you can control your response.
So if we carry that thought to its logical conclusion, we won't be able to say, "They made me mad." Because no one forces you to become angry. We'd have to say, "I chose to get mad over what that toad did." Getting along well with other people means we take responsibility for our thoughts, words, and actions. You will rarely find people who work well with other people going around blaming others for the things that happen in their own lives. This means that when something rubs us the wrong way about someone else, the higher road is to build a bridge and get over it. Now, how's that for a string of clichés?
The New Bride Guide by Ellie Kay
Copyright © 2002, Ellie Kay
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was supposed to get this book for a friend of mine, but as I started to browse through it, I ended up keeping it for myself! And I'm not even getting married! There is a lot of practical information and habits that a single person can use and develop now, as well as knowing what premarital questions to ask. Also, there is helpful in-law information to know before you get into a bind. Kay includes a great reference list of other books and services to help you develop a meaninful and productive life. Highly recommended!!