We’re Back!

Hi GW Readers,

We hope you’ve had a fantastic summer. We think it’s safe to say that it’s been transitory for us, but we are now officially settled and ready to start this new season of our lives!

Over the past 4 months, we’ve heard from many of you who wished to help continue this blog. We were overwhelmed with the responses, and grateful to know how much this virtual community has impacted your own graduate journey. It affirmed for us that even though we are now former graduate wives, it’s important that it keep going.

We have a team who’ll be assisting us in running the blog (seriously, go check them out here), doing a myriad of things from writing, editing, idea mapping, etc. We’ve all worked very hard this summer to make this a reality, which is no small feat considering we are scattered all over the world!

We are still looking for people to write for us, so if that’s you, please do get in touch with us at: thegraduatewife@gmail.com.

As a new school year kicks in, we hope your journey is filled with love and life.

In admiration to all of you with the daily support you lend to your other halves!

-Mandy and M.C.

An Alternative to Micromanaging

Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 9.56.33 AM

Written by Keeley, a current graduate wife

In the life of a graduate wife or husband, I think it’s typical to feel as though so many things are out of our control. “Will my spouse get the grant she applied for?” “Will his advisor be supportive of this new direction the dissertation is taking?” “Will we end up in the same time zone as our families?” Not to mention other worries about the educational and job-finding processes. As a result of this perceived lack of control, I’ve noticed that it’s easy to shift to micromanaging those things I feel I do have some say over. While there are undoubtedly books written on the topic and how destructive this tendency can be, I thought I’d just share a little bit about how it’s possible to turn this around for good. Just because there may be significant decisions with far-reaching consequences over which we may have limited input doesn’t mean that we can’t inject the everyday motions of our lives with intention, gratitude, and significance.

Intention

When I get up in the morning, or when I get home from a long day at work, I have decisions to make. I may feel that my day will be, or has been, nothing but a long string of hustle and bustle, none of which is particularly significant to me. But if I take the opportunity to choose how I spend the free time I do have, I am more fulfilled, and our marriage reaps the benefits. Nobody makes me turn on the television; I could just as easily choose to run by the library and pick up a book or two that look interesting or take my violin out of its case and play a few favorite songs (insert your skill here!). No one makes me sit down and waste an hour surfing the internet with nothing to show for it; I could have just as easily taken a brisk walk outside for a few minutes (or better yet, asked my spouse to accompany). I find that life is so much more fun when I see it as a series of choices to make, instead of something that simply happens to me.

Gratitude

I think (and hope) there have been several posts on The Graduate Wife about gratitude, but I’d like to restate the importance of this small virtue. I find it to be an excellent way to inject goodwill into my life and our marriage. In this specific context, I am talking about being intentionally grateful for the “small things.” For me, these include taking a few minutes to pet our cats, or even just notice how beautiful they are and how calming it is to watch them sleep. I love having a deliberate cup of chai and enjoying the sweetness and spiciness of the flavors. When the weather is cold, I take special relish in wearing my flannel pajama pants (with mugs of hot chocolate printed on them) for as much of the day as possible. It’s the small things.

Significance

There are certain tasks that we all have to do, or at least find ourselves doing frequently, so from time to time I look for ways to make them more meaningful. My husband and I enjoy cooking together, so I often plan meals in advance that are healthy, cheap, and easy to make. It’s so much more fulfilling than grabbing fast food or pizza (although I adore this occasionally!). There have been many posts on this site about home decor as well, and about making the most of the small spaces we often live in by refurbishing cast-off items or making something beautiful from something plain. When my husband and I kiss goodbye in the morning, it can be a regular old “Have a good day” peck, or I can think about it for two seconds and make it something we both remember throughout the day. A significant, free way to make the day better.

Obviously, there are ways to live with deliberation and significance through the work we do and through caring for our spouses and children (and cats) in more overt ways. However, I have been surprised to find how much little adjustments like these can add meaning to my life and make me less anxious and/or resentful when I am feeling as though so many decisions are out of my control. Marriage, under any circumstance, is a three-legged race that one person cannot run alone, and I have found the Graduate Wife experience to mirror this illustration aptly. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share with one another on this website, and to encourage each other to fight for peace and significance in our lives and marriages, even when the going gets tough!

Wednesday’s Weekly Tip: 99 seriously amazing little tips

wwt

Today I had originally planned to post a different set of tips, but after a friend shared this fabulous link earlier, I couldn’t help but pass along.

Amazing right?!  Toilet paper rolls to help store wrapping paper, an old lotion bottle for a handy cord holder, old CD holder for a bagel tupperware…random and genius!  I’m so inspired by this comprehensive collection of easy tips all in one place. I’m a HUGE fan of recycling and  re-using odds and ends and this list has so many great ideas for just that! Enjoy being thrifty and handy today.

-MC

sdf

Taking A Break….

Dear Graduate Wife readers,

We hope you are having a fantastic summer, and are gearing up for another exciting school year!

We’ve had an incredible summer. Between the Olympics, visiting family back in the USA, parties with friends, and enjoying the amazing weather in Oxford (seriously, it is something to note), it’s been a season full of remarkable memories.

Due to family committments, upcoming school events, and just an overall need for a time of rest, we will be taking a break from the blog for the next three weeks. We will plan to be back the week commencing the 10th September!

We are looking forward to some of the topics we will be tackling in the Autumn, and hope they will encourage and support you. Meanwhile, if there is a topic that you’d like to see us cover, please write to us to let us know. Some of our most popular posts have come from ideas given to us by our readers. This is truly YOUR blog, as much as it is ours!

Thanks again for reading, and for sharing your own journey with us.

With love and blessings,

~Mandy and MC

PS Would you do us a favor? If you haven’t already, would you go to our facebook page and ‘like’ us?

PSS You can also follow us on twitter – @thegraduatewife