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M – Moxie, Marriage and Money

A-Z Survival Guide to Life

M – Moxie, Money and Marriage

This is the thirteenth installment in the A-Z Survival Guide to Life I am writing for my boys.

I had a really difficult time coming up with something for M. I finally decided I would do Moxie, Money and Marriage (because I love alliteration).  There are countless books on money and marriage, on how to have a happy marriage and how to be financially independent and savvy.  It makes me wonder if people are reading these books, what with the divorce rate so high and so many people drowning in debt.

All of what you are about to read is based on my experience, and I am hoping that you can learn from my mistakes, because these were all hard lessons to learn. If I can spare you even a few trials and tribulations than I will feel like I accomplished what I set out to do.

Moxie – This definition comes from the Free

  1. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.
  2. Aggressive energy; initiative:
  3. Skill; know-how.

Moxie is not a word you hear too often these days, but it is a great word. There used to be a Moxie soda back in the 1900s that had “medicinal” properties which gave one courage and vigor.  In the 1920s it outsold Coca-Cola and then faded into obscurity.  But the word moxie still lingers on.  I tell you all this, because it is good to have moxie in how you approach life, your career and marriage.

Face difficulty with spirit and courage – I can come up so many clichés for this. Bottom line is – never let life get the best of you.  Life is not going to be great all the time.  That’s just impossible.  You are going to be thrown all kinds of little challenges, hopefully they are just little blips in the road and nothing bigger.  Think of it as a video game with obstacles and challenges.  Get your best armor on, fill your “Life” bar up, be sure you have plenty of potions to keep the fight going and beat the crap out of the “Big Boss” or whatever challenge you are facing.

Aggressive energy or initiative – What this really means is don’t wait for stuff to come to you, you go and get it, within reason. This doesn’t mean stepping on others to get what you want, but it does mean taking opportunities, and running with them.  This can also be applied to simple household tasks such as laundry – take the initiative, run with it and don’t wait for someone else to do it.

Skill – Having a skill is a huge plus. Get really, really good at whatever you choose to do with your career.  Like my Mum always said “If you are going to do a job, do it well.”  She also said she didn’t care what I did for a living, but hopefully it was going to be something I enjoyed, even if I chose to be a garbage man.  I have watched the garbage men in our cul-de sac, maneuvering that claw thing, it looks like it would take an enormous amount of skill. And complete your education before getting married, and having children, if possible – it so much easier.

When married, try not to use the excuse “Oh, but you are so much better at doing that than I am.” It’s a lame excuse.  Learn to do whatever it is, and share in the responsibilities. This could be applied to cooking, cleaning, making reservations, taxes and the list goes on.

Marriage – Like I said, or maybe I didn’t – but marriage is not a walk in the park or a stroll on the beach (see L-Laughter). It is not nightly candlelit three course dinners with Baked Alaska for dessert served on fine china.  It will probably be more like spaghetti in empty margarine tubs, or if you have kids, it will be dinosaur chicken nuggets or fish sticks with macaroni and cheese. The romance will for the most part dissipate, but hopefully in its place will be a solid and true friendship.

Marriage takes work, dedication, the ability and willingness to compromise. Sometimes it means you have to be the adult and admit an argument is stupid.  Take some deep breaths.  Go to your respective corners (like boxers) squirt water in your mouths and cool down.  The biggest argument your Dad and I ever got into was over a hotdog and who had eaten it.  It turned out it was Newman, the Great Dane who had eaten it.   What a disaster that was.

Moxie and Marriage – these two things are not mutually exclusive. You can maintain your moxie even when married.  It is important that you both maintain your individuality.  Just because you are bound by law and a piece of paper, does not mean you have to meld together into one indistinct person. Do not ever give up the things you enjoy, do not be told you can and cannot do things.  Sometimes it is good to spend time apart doing things that each person relishes. It should be an even split, each person should be able to have the time to do those things.  It should never be one-sided, because that is when the first bubbles of resentment will pop to the surface, and fester.

You have to have moxie in a marriage. There must spirit to face any challenge together. You must have initiative to take the issue on, whatever it may be.  Challenges are not the time to go into your respective corners, they are the times when you band together and come up with a solution.  Pointing fingers and blaming each other for past mistakes will get you nowhere, it will accomplish nothing.

Moxie, Marriage and Money – Money, I suspect, is one of the biggest reasons for the dissolution of marriages. If you feel you both should work, then this should be determined and agreed upon long before you get married.  It is much easier when two incomes are filling the tills. And in today’s employment arena and economy, it is easier to survive with two incomes. And if you have children, being placed into daycare will not be detrimental to the child’s psyche (you both turned out well and you started daycare when you were only 6 weeks old).

Go into the marriage with as little debt as you can. And do not agree to an expensive wedding, as far as I can see it is just a big waste of money.  And people say women dream of their wedding day, the day they are a princess.  So does that mean – the rest of the marriage is going to be anticlimactic for them?  Why not do it the other way around?  Start with a small wedding, no debt and build on the extravagance year after year.  It’s just a thought.  Might take some moxie to do things differently when entering a marriage but it sure will save some money and start things off on the right foot.

And don’t ever let me hear you say you have a “Man Cave” because I will go completely ballistic.


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