We get engaged, we have a wedding and then we live happily ever after, right? Thatís the plan according to Disney anyway. But thereís a lot more to it than that. Things shift in a major way after getting married, and sometimes we donít even see it coming.

Sure, some of those changes are wonderful. They run the gamut from having a plus one for practically every event, to coming home to your best friend everyday. But there are some things that arenít so hot Ė like figuring out whose job it is to take out the trash or trying managing the money for the entire household.

The money thing was my big surprise. I had worked at a bank for years and I just assumed that when I got married, weíd combine our finances and accounts and that would be it. Little did I know how hard it would be for me to actually go through it. My husband and I each had our own system of how we paid our bills Ė he was more evolved, where as I was still using checks and mailing my bills like it was the 50ís. And, to be honest, Iíd gotten used to buying a new top here, or dropping some dough on a new outfit there, without having to answer to anyone about it.

So, when it came time to combine our accounts, we weighed the pros and cons of how each of us paid for things and, honestly, his method won out. It took less time and was much more efficient. With his way, I wouldnít forget to pay my credit card bill because the statement was hiding under papers on the desk.

At first, it was really hard for me. It was even harder to listen to that voice in my head that said ďIf you buy this, youíll have to explain why you need it right now,Ē especially since my definition of need is completely different than his. But interestingly enough, my biggest hurdle was letting go of MY money. Even when it was all mixed in with his, I still thought of it as separate. Iíd gotten so used to splitting things when we were dating that I couldnít let it go, and I had to figure out how to wrap my brain around it.

Iíd love to say that one day it just clicked, but it hasnít been that easy. It took me some time to learn one of the simplest things: that all the checks go in one account and itís all ours. Lucky for me, I have a wonderfully patient husband, who even joked, ďOh, this oneís on me,Ē when he threw down our credit card for dinner one night. The funny thing is now, if you asked me to go back to the way it was before, I donít think I could.

Lesson Expert

Ashley Ruiz