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Read below for a welcome message from our Married Without Kids editors: Cece and Elle. While thousands of writers and bloggers contribute their stories and essays to StageofLife.com, we work closely with our married editors who are here to comment on your blog posts, lend a helpful voice, and answer your questions about StageofLife.com. If you would like to meet all of our Editors working on the Stage of Life initiative or apply for an Editor position, please check out our Staff page and Contact Us.

Weekly Message from the Editor

Married Without Kids Editor's Welcome: July 16th-31st, 2013

Thermostat Wars

By Cece Kemp, Married Without Kids Editor

When it gets warmer outside it gets warmer inside and when it gets warmer inside the AC goes on. And when the AC goes on so begins the AC wars. I'm always cold. He's always hot. So you can imagine the kind of battles we have in our household.   When we first moved into our house he thought it was cool to have the thermostat running on low all day long.  I was skeptical (and cold) but I didn't argue.  Some theory about your bill being lower if you just keep it cool so that the system doesn't have to work so hard cooling it down after it gets too warm.  Our electric bill told a different story so we don't do that anymore.  That theory is bunk as far as I'm concerned.

But every year the minute the weather starts warming up his first instinct is to run to the thermostat and crank it down to arctic freeze.  I know it's warmer now, but do we really want our electric bill to double?  He literally wants to freeze me out of  house and home.  I complain and reach for my granny robe even though it's almost Summer and 90 degrees outside.  We take turns turning it up and down on each other.  In my book anything below 74 is ridiculous unless I'm working out and leaving it that low overnight is way too cold AND expensive when a fan can do the job.  Or an open window.  Either way, I often find myself going to bed in a cute nightie and waking up looking like a bag lady as I blindly reach for more clothes to put on throughout the night.  After a year of seasons in our house I figured out in general when it should come on and off and at what temperature.  We aren't always home on weekends so it's set really high or really low depending on the season so it doesn't come on unless we adjust it so it's not running all day in case we forget to turn it off.  He better not mess with my thermostat settings but I can't do anything about him sneaking over there before bed and putting it on whatever he wants to.  

He does the same thing but in reverse when it starts to get cold.  As soon as it starts getting chilly in the house he goes for broke and starts cranking up the heat except this time he's the one complaining about being too cold.   I tell him to put on more clothes.  If you can put on some pants and a robe and not be cold then do that first before costing us money by running over to the thermostat says the bag lady.  I mean, that's what I do.  If I have to be a bag lady then he can be a bag man every now and then.

My dad is the exact same way only 10x worse and he absolutely refuses to listen to reason.  He turns on the heat full blast until the house is a sauna and my mom is always the one who has to turn it off.  What is it with men and their thermostat?  Or is it just that I'm cheap?  Probably a little bit of both.  When I lived alone in my condo I had one of those built in Electric AC Units that sit right below the window.  There were times I'd literally be sitting up in my house sweating because I didn't want to use it.  Mj does not believe in suffering when he doesn't have to so he places comfort over budget every time.  I on the other hand am a glutton for punishment.  If it will save me money I'm willing to suffer a little bit.

The good news is that once we settle into the new climate he tends to back off a little and let my strategically planned thermostat settings do it's thing.  I'm cold, he's hot, I put on more clothes, he has to take some off.  We figure it out.  It's just one more training exercise in compromise.

And don't forget to enter our Marriage Writing Contest!

Married Without Kids Editor's Welcome: July 1st-15th, 2013

Marriage Myths

By Elle Lamboy, Married Without Kids Editor

I had to chuckle when I read this Huffington Post article about lies that wedding well-wishers tell brides and grooms- to-be about marriage.

Being very vocal about my wedding planning while I was going through that magical stage of life two and a half years ago, I received many bits of advice and, I must admit, most of them were as flowery and fairy tale-esque as this article depicts.

While I am very blessed to have a wonderful marriage, I have busted a couple of these myths.

My favorite has to be: "You won't have to worry about money anymore!"

I can honestly say that now that I am sharing my funds with another person, I have to focus on finances even more than I did in my single days. It’s not the 1900s…if women want the independence of working outside the home and purchasing things for themselves, we also need to help out with the household expenses and save for mutual retirement. R-E-S-P-E-C-T isn’t free! Whether you are contributing to your bank account by working or by watching your spending, married life doesn’t equal a financial free ride.

Gone are the days where every extra cent went to my Louboutin fund. Now, I have to consider saving for a family, hardwood floors, and putting wholesome food on the table!

What myth have you busted in your marriage? And don't forget to enter our Marriage Writing Contest!

Married Without Kids Editor's Welcome: June 16th-30th, 2013

My Husband is Awesome

By Cece Kemp, Married Without Kids Editor

I don't think working full time and going to school is for everybody.  Lots of people are doing it but I seriously don't know how they survive it.   I am weak.  I'm a baby when I don't get enough sleep and I get stressed out when I have a lot on my plate.  I did two semesters part time at community college and it just about killed me.  I came home from class in tears because I was so exhausted and so tired and had no idea where I would find the time or energy to get everything done.  My husband is a lot stronger then I am.  I already knew that.   WE already knew that, but doing what he did is just one more example of how much stronger.  For the past three years Mj has been a fixture at the dining room table doing homework for hours and hours on end.  I come home from work and there he is posted up in front of his laptops.  I'm chilling on the couch on Sunday catching up on the old DVR and there he is doing homework all. day. long.  I really did feel sorry for him slaving away while I dozed in and out of sleep on the couch.  Some week nights we'd hardly even talk because he'd be doing homework from when I got home until we went to bed. 

He's been counting it down month by month, week by week and day by day.  Literally.  I got an update every week.  I "used" him as motivation to get some writing done and got him to come with me to my favorite coffee shop to work.  I wish I'd started it sooner because I got a lot done with him and it was fun.  He spent all Sunday working on his final project and now after years of hard work he finally has his degree and is so happy to be getting his life back.   Not that he ever really stopped living it.  My husband is a busy body.  He still hung out with his friends.  He cooked and went through all kinds of random baking phases.  He did his Army Drills.  We went on vacations.  We had date nights and DVD nights at home.  He went biking.  He did two cycles of P90X last year.  He did kick ball, dodge ball and is in his second flag football league in a row right now.  In fact, he's in two different leagues.  He just does not stop.  Needless to say he's really good at multi tasking while I'm tired just thinking about it. I'm such a slacker. He says he doesn't know what he's going to do with all this extra time and I'm thinking he may not want to tell me that because I'm sure I can think of a few things to help fill the void.

I'm so very proud of him.  When we met he told me that getting his Bachelor's degree had been a goal that he set out for himself a long time ago.  He did active duty Army, traveled the world then once he went to part time Army the degree was next on his list.  He had some setbacks.  It took him longer then he planned.  Army reserve training, deployments and life in general got in the way but he buckled down and got it done.  And what's really awesome aside from the whole getting your college degree thing is that between the GI Bill and his job benefits he hasn't paid a dime out of his pocket.  How freaking amazing is that in a time where most college graduates are drowning in student loan debt?  He even has a new job position lined up for next month.  He's a smart one alright, and he's cute. I'm just glad I snatched him up when I did.

And don't forget to enter our Marriage Writing Contest!

Married Without Kids Editor's Welcome: May 16th-31st, 2013

You Know How I Am

By Cece Kemp, Married Without Kids Editor

My husband is so... I guess a good word would be unaffected. He doesn't stress. He doesn't worry.  He is like, whatever about most things.  So when it comes to his Birthday I'm usually at a loss as to what to do for him. He wants to treat his Birthday just like any other day but I think he is special and therefore his Birthday is most definitely not any other day.  What do you want?  I don't know, I don't really need anything.  Do you want cake? No.  Do you want anything special for dinner? No as long as it's low carb and healthy I don't care.  Do you want to go out to dinner? No, it's a Thursday.   He want's nothing and wants to do nothing.  Am I just supposed to ignore my husbands Birthday and act like it's not happening just because he tells me he doesn't care?  Well, luckily his tennis shoes are on their last legs.  They broke this week so a gift card to get new ones was the obvious perfect gift.  Birthday Present-check.

I briefly contemplated picking up KFC on the way home for dinner.  It was a long busy week and we all know I'm not the cook in this operation but it felt wrong to allow my husband to eat KFC on his birthday when I technically had time to make something.  I surfed the interwebs and decided that he was having meatloaf for his Birthday dinner.  Yes, meatloaf but I impressed even myself with how I got creative with it.  I came home, I cooked and I conquered because I made the meatloaf into muffins and he loved them so much that he had 4.  They are only 85 calories each so why not.  Birthday dinner-check.  I've never made him a Birthday cake.  It just feels lame because I would go Duncan Hines and he makes cakes from scratch.  On my lunch break I picked up bundtinis in five different flavors from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  This cake is really amazing.  It literally melts in your mouth and we both love it.  Birthday Cake-check.  We spent the evening drinking wine with dinner, eating cake and watching a movie.

My husband may not care about his Birthday but I do.  I've already established just how awesome I think he is and I would feel like the crappiest wife ever if I didn't at least try to make it a little special for him even if it was a Thursday and he could really care less.  What to do for a man who wants nothing to do with his Birthday.  I mean, you can't do nothing.  A thoughtful gift, a tasty dinner and something sweet and indulgent.  That about covers it.  When we went to bed that night I told him that I hoped he had a good day.  His response.  You know how I am.  And I do.  Which is how I knew he would say that he didn't care and that I would take it upon myself to care for him and do what I could to make it special anyways.

And don't forget to enter our Marriage Writing Contest!

Married Without Kids Editor's Welcome: May 1st-15th, 2013

The Important of Break-up Proofing

By Elle Lamboy, Married Without Kids Editor

A few days ago, the world celebrated the wedding anniversary of Prince William and Duchess Kate. For a moment, romantics everywhere dropped their cynicism and embraced the concept of happily ever after while reading about or watching the happy couple still in love and prepping to welcome their new bundle of joy into the world—two years after they tied the knot.

Unfortunately, the news is also constantly ridden with the marriage collapses of Hollywood royalty: Diane Lane and Josh Brolin, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, Katie Holms and Tom Cruise…and the list continues.

These couples aren’t a Kim K. 72 day marriage either—Diane Lane and Josh Brolin were together for close to 9 years, as were Amy Poehler and Will Arnett.

As a still relatively newly married woman, I can’t help but wonder about the fate of my own marriage. Sure, we are at Prince William and Duchess Kate status now but how do we ensure that spark continues when we cross the 7 and 9 year marks?

This video talks about ways to “breakup proof” your marriage from relationship expert and Huffington Post Divorce blogger M. Gary Neuman. He gives some interesting insight, including the importance of “date night…”

What steps do you take to "break-up proof" your marriage? And don't forget to enter our Marriage Writing Contest!

Read Past Editor Letters