Sharing your life with a partner involves a lot of adjustment in those first few years, and not just as it relates to how toothpaste tubes should be squeezed or what to do with the toilet seat. Many practical aspects of everyday life become collaborative projects. And here is where technology can help.
We are using the following techniques to help keep our little family organized, maintain appreciation and build a marriage that we are proud of.
1. Keep Track of Milestones & AdventuresI've mentioned recently that I use Evernote to journal. In addition to ramblings about daily life, I have a tag specifically for journal entries about marriage milestones or special occasions, like anniversaries.
|Clip from a photo journal of an anniversary trip|
A shared Evernote notebook is a good repository for scans of cards, copied and pasted song lyrics, clipped poetry or anything else that feels like 'us.'
I also have a specific hashtag on Instagram that I use for photos representing these kind of occasions, so I can easily view all of them at once.
2. Keep Track of.... All That Other Stuff TooOccasionally, I find myself filling out paperwork for my husband and I can't remember little details. So we keep track of things like license plates, contact prescriptions, allergies, etc. in a shared Evernote notebook.
|A note in Evernote with information that we occasionally need access to|
3. Don't Forget the Little ThingsWhenever my husband does something adorable or unexpected, I jot it down in private note in Evernote. I take photos of flowers that he picks up, scan little love notes that he leaves on occasion and write down sweet things that he says.
Then, when we are stressed or going through a phase of not communicating as well as usual, I review those little expressions of love. They remind me while things aren't always easy, our relationship is always worth the effort.
|Photo + a simple memory|
|Scan of a note|
4. Work Together to Achieve Financial GoalsI don't like to talk about money or my past financial mistakes. It makes me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. But, we've found that having a shared budget makes everything easier and helps me keep my financial anxiety in check.
For the first half of our relationship, we maintained separate bank accounts and paid bills independently. It didn't work well.
We eventually realized that we needed to create a budget, so we created a Google Spreadsheet and itemized our income and monthly, incidental and annual expenses.
|We periodically review our budget in this shared spreadsheet and make adjustments as needed.|
Once we started using Simple and their awesome Goals functionality, we were able to work toward paying off debt and start sticking to a budget.
Simple recently made shared accounts available in beta and we jumped on board!
5. Stay Organized with a Family CalendarWe maintain a shared "Family" calendar using Google Calendar that we both access with our mobile devices (on both Android and iOS).
Having this as a separate shared calendar associated with my email account means that I can create private events like my daily schedule or personal reminders on my primary calendar. But for anything that involves us both or that my husband should know about, I add it to the Family calendar.
Another shared calendar (that I've named "Finances" for obvious reasons) keeps track of monthly bill due dates and payment plans for unexpected bills like medical expenses following an emergency surgery.
Each monthly bill event has a reminder a few days in advance to help prevent late payments. When I make a payment, I update the event for that month (not the whole series) to include "PAID" in the title and the amount applied to the account. This makes it easy to confirm at a glance that we paid those bills.
Here's how to create a shared Google Calendar.