Marriage is difficult. That’s something every wife can attest to. When Becky and I first started to talk about this For Better or Worse series it was important that we brought to you the perspectives of several different women. Today’s guest is a full time working wife and mom and is one of my favorite people to do life with. Please join us in welcoming Kimi LoMaglio to Bare Feet and Curls.
How did you meet Alfie? How long have you been married?
Alfie and I met online, via Yahoo Personals, back before online dating was really a thing. We dated for just over one year and then were engaged for almost one year. This August, we celebrated 11 years married! When we look through all the mutual friends and connections we have in common, we are always surprised that we had never met previously. It’s crazy… or maybe it is just meant to be…
How do you successfully practice work/life/church balance?
Both Alfie and I work full time. We have a 6 year old daughter and an 8 year old son who live in the house with as well as a 18 year old (step) daughter out in Colorado. Occasionally it feels like we don’t balance life successfully at all. In full honesty, sometimes we are on point and there is this perfect balance, while other seasons of life we are holding on and praying for things to come back in line. It is an ebb and flow, so my answer could change depending on the day you ask it of me. For today, and this current season, I would say things are fairly balanced. Neither of us travel for work, so we have the benefit of spending a lot of time together as a family throughout the week. When we do run into social/work/church events that we need or want to attend we use our family calendar. I’m sure many were hoping for a more profound answer, but for us it really is that simple.
We share a calendar on our phones. Anything going on beyond work hours (especially if it impacts who needs to be around to watch the kiddos) goes on that calendar. We both get notified anytime something new gets added. We always discuss what is going on, but sometimes adding it to the calendar will spark that specific conversation. Having one central location for all our events really helps keep us on the same page.
Also, I would be crazy if I didn’t mention that we have an AAAA-MAAAAYYYY-ZINGGG support system of local family and friends. My mom and 2 sisters live within a 3-mile radius of each other, my dad within 15 miles, and my in-laws within 20 miles. My mom, mother-in-law, and sisters have all watched our kids for us while we work and they consistently help us out when we have sick kiddos or work conflicts. We would not have nearly the amount of balance we have without them and to say I am grateful would be an understatement.
How do you share responsibilities?
Usually we just leave the chore and whoever caves first, owns it. Ha! Just kidding. We’ve never sat down and divvied up the chore listing, it has mostly derived out of what we like, what we are better able to do, and occasionally a good old fashioned argument. For the most part, we both chip in evenly when it comes to doing things around the house (pretty certain Alfie is going to save this statement forever for that next time I complain he isn’t helping me… hahaha you know how that goes). Alf takes on a lot of the outside tasks, and I more of the inside ones.
One of my most favorite things, a blessing of all blessings, is that Alfie does the laundry. Yes, you heard it. My husband does ALL the laundry! This 100% came out of “what we do best.” I am very lackadaisical when It comes to laundry. I sort into colorful and whites and everything goes in the dryer! Alf is more specific about how to wash and dry his clothes… complete with shirts being hung the right way (hook facing to the left, top button gets buttoned then every other the rest of the way down). Now, I do my best to chip in. If I know the baskets are filling up or there is laundry that needs to be folded, I will help out.
In the chores I typically do, Alfie is really good about helping out too. Sometimes I ask him for help and sometimes he just does it. It has taken us a while to get to this point and we are far from perfect. We still argue about chores left undone, or about who feels like they are doing more than the other. We also try to be intentional at cutting each other some slack. We are both working and busy and drained by the time we get home. It is tough to do the long list of things that we both need/want to get done around home, spend time with the kids, and then time with each other. Something needs to give. Sure, we would love to go to bed with no dishes in the sink or with floors swept/mopped/vacuumed, or without weeds overgrown in the flower beds, but our sanity dictates that I can’t do it all and, in those moments, we really try to extend grace to one another.
How do you deal with disagreements and difficult situations?
We can usually tell quickly when one of us isn’t thrilled with the others decision. Back in the day we used to push each other a lot faster for resolution, which more often than not turned into bigger arguments because the person upset wasn’t ready to talk and the person not upset was determined on forcing the discussion at that moment. We do a much better job at reading the other person these days. Letting things diffuse and talk about them when we are not in the thick of feelings.
We are also better at recognizing the impact external features have on our relationship: work, kids, extended family, friends. Each of those factors can both positively and negatively impact how Alfie and I interact with each other. We try to be more mindful of what might be going on that can be adding to whatever disagreement or difficult situation we are in.
Full disclosure: While we try to be mindful of the other, we aren’t perfect. Sometimes we don’t take external factors into consideration. Sometimes we attempt a resolution at that moment without thinking if there is a better time for a discussion. Sometimes we argue and sometimes we really do need to give each other that space to diffuse. A lot of it depends on how passionately we feel about our disagreement or situation.
What words of advice or encouragement do you have for women who may be struggling in their marriage?
I have 3 pieces of advice that have significantly impacted my marriage:
- Recognize that marriage is hard and takes work. One of the things growing up I always remember my mom saying is that marriage is hard and marriage takes work. So when I got married there were two things I knew were going to be true: Marriage will be hard and marriage will take work. Now I also grew up reading Christian romance novels. So you can imagine the internal conflict of hearing that marriage will be hard and take work but reading these fictional fantasies claiming that marriage is easy, that your spouse is a mind reader, and that your husband should be the ultimate romantic. Many of those early years were spent adjusting my expectations to reality. But knowing it isn’t easy and understanding that I have to also put in effort, because a good marriage won’t just happen, has helped me in the choices I make surrounding my marriage.
- Find your couple. You know, that couple who you can laugh, cry, pray, argue in front of, and do absolutely nothing with but still have a great time? Them. Find them. That couple who lovingly (and laughingly) calls you out for your idiocy when you or your spouse is acting unreasonable, who openly shares their similar experience so you feel less like an idiot yourself, and who helps you move past it. We have that couple and it has made all the difference. They are also the couple who is rooting hard for our marriage and who fights for our marriage as hard as they fight for their own.
- Talk with trusted friends. Many work under the mentality of “If I talk about the challenges my marriage is facing than I am negatively talking about my husband”. I call shenanigans. I’m not saying bash your husband or marriage, but share your struggles and find common scenarios with other marriages. Hearing options on how other couples have worked through similar situations is huge. There is potential damage to be done when a person feels their experiences are solitary and that they are alone in their feelings. Find friends to gain sound biblical wisdom and advice from.