Over the weekend Vonnie and I watched the movie “This is 40″ with a group of friends. I won’t give away many of the details of the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, but the plot revolves around the fact that the two main characters are about to reach that milestone age of 40. The movie focuses on the changes that go on in people’s lives as they move into middle age, and their reaction to those changes. I cannot confirm or deny that both Vonnie and I may or may not be reaching this milestone age this year, but let’s just say we could identify with the movie.
There were many things in the movie that struck home for me, but one specific thing that struck a nerve was that the couple had completely separate financial lives. The wife ran a seemingly successful clothing store that was the source of financial support for the family. The husband owned a record label that was failing miserably. Yet they didn’t seem to know anything about the state of what the other was doing.
They were failing at communicating and as a result, their finances as a couple were failing.
This reminded me so much of Vonnie and I for much of our married life. I completely handled the finances, and repeatedly told her that everything was fine even as I allowed our spending to be wildly out of control. We were not on the same page, and much like the couple in the movie, we failed miserably. Fortunately for us, over the last 4 years we have worked tirelessly to improve that. It has required a lot of trial and error, countless arguments, and a lot of change by both of us. But within the last 6 months have we really found our rhythm.
Together we are succeeding.
The awesome thing about working as a team is that once you learn how to do it, you can apply it towards just about any challenge. I have been consistently exercising 6-7 days a week for over two years now. Quite honestly, it’s become an obsession. I have gotten into the habit of waking up at 4:20am and going to the gym before anyone else in my house would even wake up. On the other hand, over the same period of time, Vonnie has been trying unsuccessfully to become more healthy. She has been going through swings of inconsistent exercising, and completely doing nothing. She tried getting up and going to the gym early with me, but getting up that early just isn’t in her.
Separately we were failing to achieve our goal of being a healthy couple.
A few weeks ago, she had a very honest discussion with me about wanting to do something about her health, but she needed my help. She believed that if she could somehow tap into my motivation and dedication that she could also be successful. Knowing that getting to the gym at 5:00am was not a workable option for her, I decided to change my routine, and go with her to the gym after work. It has been a very tough transition for me, as being the “crazy guy that gets up early and works out” had slowly become part of my identity, almost like a badge of honor. But as a team, we have worked out almost every single day. It has been getting easier for me, and Vonnie seems as motivated as ever.
Together we are succeeding.
I can feel our successes building on each other. As we succeed at getting to the gym together, I feel our confidence building to continue on our journey to become a healthy and happy couple both physically and financially.
Do you find that you and your significant other work better individually, or as a team?