Years Married: 8
Occupations: Bubba is an Entrepreneur; Jordan is a Blogger at Fun Cheap or Free and an Entrepreneur
Hobbies/Interests: We are known for our kitchen and car dance parties. We love to hike with our kids and go on bike rides. We love going on dates, going out to eat, and going to plays and shows. Bubba likes to mountain bike, play volleyball, and ride his dirt bike and motorcycle; Jordan loves to get a great deal shopping. She loves being a mom, blogging, and watching the Bachelor.
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Jordan - Cotton Candy; Bubba - Snickers/Reeses
Website: Fun Cheap or Free and QuotaDeck
Q. Why do you feel dating in marriage so important?
B: Dating is key. It was how you first developed your relationship, and once you are married, dating helps you keep that one-on-one time going.
J: I have a story to illustrate this. When Bubba & I were dating, we were driving in the car with some family members and we noticed that they had no physical interaction with each other. We spent the whole weekend with them, walking places, in the car, etc, and we noticed that they never held hands. There always seemed to be a kid in between them. Bubba whispered to me, “Can we never do that?” And he has always made it a point to hold my hand, but more than that, we’ve made it an important point to have time together without the kids. If we have a busy month and it’s hard to get away on one-on-one dates, we notice a difference in our relationship as opposed to the months where we make it a priority to, at least once a weekend, do something together. Even if it is just going in the basement and watching a movie together. It’s important to unplug, and have time together without the kids.
Q. What are some of the obstacles you have faced in making date night happen, and how have you overcome them?
J: For Bubba, by the end of the week, he just wants to be home. Bubba travels a lot, he is in a lot of meetings, and eats out almost every day for lunch, so when Friday comes, he is wiped out and just wants to be home! By 5:00pm Friday, I am out of here. I don’t want to be in the house anymore, and I don’t want to eat my own food. I’m clocked out. That’s a challenge for us. One way we have overcome that is by finding dates that both of us take an interest in.
B: She took me shooting for Father’s Day last year, and that was AWESOME. What we have found, is that we both have a fairly high social need. We love double dates, or getting groups together to do date nights, or whatever. And with or without kids, obviously the adult time is important.
J: As far as finances being an obstacle, we probably spend more on babysitting than we do on just about anything other than our mortgage, or maybe groceries, so we like to trade with other couples (which is not convenient, but you do what you have to do!), or we’ll invite people over a lot, or just have dates at home.
B: We love to host, we’ll host people at our house regularly.
J: In terms of time, we just kind of know that Friday night is our date night. We try and do family dates on Saturday and couple dates on Friday. We just have it on the calendar.
B: It doesn’t happen all the time, just to clarify.
Q. Who plans the dates, and how do you make sure they happen?
B: I’ll speak up, because I’m in trouble. I should be planning a lot more dates than I currently am. I’m often so focused on work, that I have a hard time stepping out of work-zone and thinking about planning the date for Friday night. So Jordan steps up and helps me a lot with getting good ideas and saying, “Hey, why don’t we do this or that,” etc. She helps me remember her need of needing to leave the house. I’ve been out of the house the whole week and she has been inside!
J: We have also learned to simplify. When we were first married, we would surprise each other, and do these extravagant things, and honestly, it’s just not super realistic. If you start doing that, you burn yourself out. We’ve learned that it’s just more about getting out of the house and being together. A lot of our dates have become very simple. For example, we’ll go to dinner somewhere just so we can sit and actually make eye contact with each other, or we’ll watch a movie in the basement so we can actually cuddle and watch a movie for two hours, or in the summer we’ll sit out on our deck and watch fireworks.
B: Sometimes she lets me drive around my motorcycle.
J: We’ve lightened up in our old years.
Q. Can you share some examples of how you two celebrate holidays, like anniversaries?
B: One thing we do, that works really well, is that we’ve tried to set it up with holidays or with anniversaries that we rotate planning.
J: So, if he does Valentine’s one year, I do our anniversary that year. And then we switch the next year.
B: That helps a lot. Jordan planned a trip to Park City, without me knowing, for our anniversary. It was a staycation for two nights. I think we had a gift card to Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and for me it was, by far, one of the coolest things that she had planned - an overnighter, steak (which I love), and just total alone time. I think her parents were in town and they watched the kids. It was really inexpensive. It was a super cheap hotel, it wasn’t anything fancy, and we had a gift card for dinner. And then we just had fun in Park City, we didn’t go do anything extravagant, so it was fairly low cost, but super fun.
Q. How do getaways help nurture your marriage?
J: Think of Pavlov’s dogs. We, as humans, are set in a routine. Our bodies respond to physical triggers and routine. Most days are very similar. You wake up, you eat, you do your thing, you come home, you get ready for bed, you turn out the lights, and you go to bed. Your body reacts to those triggers. If you find yourself getting in a boring rut, it’s important to disrupt that. Getaways disrupt the ordinary and renew and reset us. Bubba knows, that for me, if I’m outside of the house, I can turn my brain off to the elements so much easier. I don’t have my mom ears on listening to the kids, I’m not distracted by the laundry in the corner of our rooms. Getaways are the ultimate disconnect in a good way.
Q. What advice would you give a couple who is struggling to be intimate, in any aspect of intimacy?
B: Read Five Love Languages. It helps you understand each other.
J: The love language book is good, because if Bubba fills my love bucket then I am much more likely to fill his. I am the one that struggles with that in our marriage. For Bubba, physical touch is way up there for him, it comes naturally, it comes easily. For me, it’s like the absolute bottom of the list. I feel like it is not a priority for me in any way. But, knowing that it’s important to him, I have to concentrate on it. It’s hard when other things get in the way - distractions, exhaustion, stress, whatever. You have to get out of the house. Date nights help a ton. Those little weekend getaways. We know several people who have never left their kids for longer than six hours at a time, and I’m sure that that directly affects their intimacy.
B: It’s important to understand what your spouse needs. It’s critical. If you can help to fulfill that need, then the love is more flowing.
J: It floweth over (laughing).
B: I definitely think that is key.
Q. What is the best advice you can share about sex?
B: Oh, boy. For a woman, it’s okay if she needs help.
J: How so, Bubba? (Laughing)
B: If she needs help. From my understanding, guys have a little bit easier time getting excited about what is going on. Girl’s don’t always have that. It’s important to be open about sex and to talk about what helps and what doesn’t. I think it’s really important, as often as is natural, that most people can climax, but not that it necessarily is going to happen at the same time.
J: Nah, it’s not like the movies for sure.
B: If you can help each other get to that point, climax is really important. Guys need to understand that girls will need help to get there, and it’s probably not just the act of sex that is going to do that.
J: I would say, coming from someone where physical touch is lower on her scale, my advice would be that it’s not about physical pleasure...that’s just a perk. I think if you go into with that mindset, then everything goes better. You go into it, knowing that it is just an opportunity to express love to the other person in a physical way. I think people expect fireworks and movie passion, and breaking the bedside table kind of thing, and maybe it could be about that, but I think that if you force that image in your mind, that it leads to disappointment. It is more about the emotional connection, and then everything else just happens naturally.
Q. How did you handle being apart? What did you learn from being apart and how did you strengthen and nurture your marriage during that time?
B: I was in Boulder for four months last summer. I was part of Techstars community. It’s a start-up accelerator program, so it’s just right there in Boulder - the mecca of Tech-startups. I went through this accelerator program for four months and I left Jordan and the three kids (and Jordan was pregnant) at home.
J: STILL MARRIED!
B: I tried to get home every other weekend.
J: Yeah, the first month he wasn’t able to come home, and the second month he came home every weekend, and then the third it was every other weekend. It was rough. We made it though. It was hard. For both of us, our love languages are quality time. And that’s virtually impossible when you’re living a state apart. We went through every scenario possible, and it just didn’t make sense for me and the kids to move out there for such a short amount of time, We knew it was going to be really hard love language wise. And it was.
B: Facetime was helpful.
J: I absolutely hate talking on the phone. Like, I hate it so much! Bubba really prepped me and helped me realize that a lot of our relationship was going to have to be over the phone. So we got good at talking on phone.
B: Facetime, though.
J: We facetimed every night and he would try and facetime each morning during breakfast, that was nice.
B: Every once in a while I’d get a chance to facetime at dinnertime. Not every day, though.
J: Facetime was good.
B: When I came home, it was just play all the time.
J: Even though when he came home exhausted, Bubba was really good at taking me out and getting me out of the house. He took me on a date every night he was home. If it was a Sunday, we’d play a game at home, or something like that. He made it a point to give me a lot of quality time and to...entertain me.
Q. How have you learned to communicate effectively in your marriage?
J: Communication has been really huge for us. And The 5 Love Languages book has been one that has helped a lot. Something we learned, that has been profound for us, is that a lot of times communication breakdowns happen because you’re just dancing circles around each other saying the same thing, but you’re not quite understanding what the other person is saying. It’s important to be quiet and let the other person talk. Not rant, but just take a minute or two to say things in “I” terms. “I feel like when I’m approached in this way, it makes me feel this and this and this.” You talk for a minute or two. And then the other person repeats what they hear. For example, say I’m telling Bubba, “My feelings were hurt when you said that, because I felt like you were undermining my decision as a wife.” And then he would say, “What I hear you saying is (repeats what I said)...” And then I would verify if that was what I was trying to say or not. And then he would take a turn. It’s amazing when you communicate that way. It actually works. If we are in a heated debate and are super frustrated and can’t see eye-to-eye, we go back to that and it helps a lot.
Q. How do you two handle the finances in your marriage? Are you both involved? How do you get on the same page?
B: We divide and conquer. It’s not a sexist thing, we just decide together who is going to be in charge of what, depending on the couple’s circumstances. In our family, Jordan is at home, even though she works way harder than I do, she is at home, so she is going to take care of more home things, where I’m going to take care of…
J: The cars, and date nights, and insurance, and bills…He is at the computer all day. It’s easy for him, if he can log into Mint, and handle all the stuff, and use all the apps (I’m horrible at those)...
B: Autopay. Autopay is my friend.
J: For me, anything that requires writing a check, mailing something in, paying tuition for the kids, buying their shoes for soccer, like all of that is what I’m better at, what I enjoy, what I do day-to-day.
B: It has to be communicated, right? You literally have to make a list with each other, in a little sit-down meeting, and agree on who is going to do what. In the beginning of our marriage, we were dropping the ball left and right.
J: Yeah, in his family, his mom managed the money and paid all the bills. In my house, it was my dad. He basically gave my mom a cash allowance each month and he didn’t even know what she did with it, because it was cash. So, when we were first married, the bills would come, and they would land on the kitchen table and a week would go by, and we’d look at each other and ask, “So are you going to handle that, or what?” It led to a lot of financial distress because we didn’t really know what we were doing. Once we decided we were on the same team, just different positions, it helped immensely. It’s helped us to not fight about money as much, because it’s not him sitting down and saying, “Well, what did you spend on this, what did you spend on this?” Now I have a budget, I have my responsibilities, and as long as we have food in the fridge, and I’m not going over that budget each month, he doesn’t really care.
B: That budget aspect has been super helpful. In the beginning, I was questioning everything. I was looking at every single purchase and saying, “What the heck is this?” or “What was that?” “What did you spend at this place and that place?” and the reality was that I had no business trying to figure out everything that was going on. I just needed to say, “Let’s find a realistic budget to cover all of the responsibilities we agreed that you would have, and that I would have, and let’s try and fit within that budget. And if you do, and there is extra money, it’s yours. You keep it. Do whatever you want with it. You have an extra fifty bucks, go buy an extra pair of shoes, whatever.” If you’re able to get creative and be smart, but still make sure your family has what they need, then the budget thing is amazing. You have to have a lot of trust with this, right? You have to build up the trust, but she earned that trust like crazy, because she is so frugal, and then she had complete autonomy to do whatever she wanted. We always had plenty of what we needed, and she almost always had money left over.
Q. What about categories? How do you figure that out?
J: In terms of breaking down a budget, a lot of it comes down to deciding what is important for your family. For example, we had a family over to dinner recently and her thing, her hobby, her passion, is fancy gourmet organic food. She is an ultra healthy eater. They spend so much money on groceries, but they just decided as a family that that is something that is important to them and they don’t really argue about it, they just cut other places to make that happen. If you go into a budget with a mindset of, “We must spend this much on this and we can only spend this much on on this,” it’s never going to work. That is why the envelope system is really tricky. You’re telling yourself, “I’m only giving myself twenty dollars for eating out this month,” but what happens when you really want to eat out and you want to go on a date? Decide as a couple what is important, but make sure you are only spending 75% of your take-home income. Then, just shift things around and make them work around your priorities and goals. Work within percentages instead of dollar amounts.
B: We’re big credit card users, but purely for the points. We pay everything off at the end of the month and try not to hold any kind of a balance. Luckily, we’re in a financial position to pay it off every month, but I know sometimes credit cards are hard for others because they get out of control, because they don’t really watch their spending. I love that you can track everything, that you can look back and see where everything went,
J: That is a big tip, whether that is a debit card or credit card, to pay digitally.
Q. If you were to counsel a newly married couple on where to put their finances, what would your tips be?
J: What we practice and what works, is to live off of 70% of your take-home income. That is take-home, not just what your income says on tax records, but what you actually deposit in your bank account. And then 20% should go into savings, or if you have debt, to pay off immediate debt, then the other 10% can go to tithing, donations, investing, or your kid’s college funds.
Q. You are still married. What is your secret to a happy marriage?
J: Have fun. We have been through some really stressful situations. We have had some pretty big fights. We’ve had some pretty scary situations. We haven’t been through as much as many people we know, but we have experienced a lot in our marriage, and at the end of the day, if we can still lay in bed, and laugh, and make fun of life and each other, then we’re good. We’ll be goofy - he’ll tickle me in the kitchen and tackle me on the couch in front of the kids, or we’ll go in a store and he’ll put something weird on his head - we still have fun together like we did when we were dating. Having fun together helps you get through anything.
B: I would totally agree, but just to be different, I think, one thing that I learned from Jordan, early in our marriage, was how quick she was to say sorry, even if it wasn’t her fault. There were a few circumstances where she came and apologized, and because I was newly married, I had never really had that, and it caught me off guard. I thought, “You’re really coming back and saying you’re sorry, even though we were still like arguing about this?” but it made a huge difference. It broke down barriers that I had, and it made me instantly want to say, “Oh my gosh, well, I’m sorry too! I didn’t mean to say x, y, and z…” The ability to say you’re sorry quickly can help mend any strife or conflict. Oh, and just be happy.
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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