Category: Life Lessons

What I’ve Learned In 4 Years of Marriage

Kyle & Destiny Johnson

I’m really excited to share what I’ve learned in 4 years of marriage, not because I think I know all the answers but because marriage is so interesting. Your marriage can reveal your biggest life lessons and develop your longest lasting relationship. In 4 years I have learned so much from friends, family, books, blogs, and most importantly my husband. I am a rookie at marriage; we are still in the very early stages and we haven’t even moved into the kids stage but, I wanted to tell you a few marriage tips I believe to be pure gold…

Fight With Resolution in Mind

In marriage, disagreements will arise. The question is not if you will fight, but when. Arguments can stem from important life choices or they can develop from dirty dishes in the sink. Regardless of the problem, remind yourself that the goal is to resolve the confrontation you are having with your spouse. Many times people argue with their goal being to prove they are right or even more so that their significant other is wrong. Usually this leaves both parties feeling frustrated and hurt. Change the way you think, instead come at the problem with your mind set to end the argument with a resolution. Is “being right” worth getting divorced? Remember you are in this for the long haul.

Go to Bed Angry

Now this may not work for everyone, but I highly recommend it. I have found that in the heat of an argument, emotions and exhaustion can escalate an argument quickly. I urge you to sleep on it. If the situation is not life or death, drop it, go to bed and evaluate your position in the morning. Some people say they just can’t sleep when they are angry but take some deep breaths and learn to LET IT GO. Go to bed angry, wake up and see if you still feel as vehement as you did the night prior. If yes, set aside a time to talk it out and think about what you could apologize for first. Did you say hurtful words you didn’t mean? Did you overreact? First think about your responsibility in the issue before pointing fingers.

Assume the Best Intentions

This one is tricky so let me explain. Some personality types take everything personally. For example, stinky socks on the ground are not just laundry left on the floor because your spouse is lazy/busy, but instead a personal insult to you as a person. Again, this one takes a mindset change. When your spouse does something that is hurtful, annoying, careless or rude DO NOT assume they did that action on purpose to stab you in the heart. Assume the very best case scenario and if you can’t find one ask kindly what their intentions were. Think instead, “I know my spouse loves me and doesn’t do things to purposely hurt me, he/she must have been too busy or just has bad habits”. 

Think of Everything as 100% Your Responsibility

It is so easy to think if marriage as 50/50. We naturally want “fairness” in our relationship or evenly split responsibilities. This idea of half and half just isn’t realistic. Someone is always going to make more money, someone is always gonna be a better cook, and someone is bound to be the tidy person in the relationship. Many times we get angry with our spouse saying, ” The _____ is your responsibility and you have not done it!”. Then we huff and puff, doing the deed that went undone and begrudge our spouse for it. We may not say it, but we sure do think it, harbor it, and remember it for life. Always assume all the household chores are 100% your responsibility. This works best when both partners have this mindset of course. If you feel your spouse is not chipping in as they should, repeat after me, “Hey honey, I really appreciate it when you do __________, thank you for working so hard”. In the blank, insert anything they already do well that you can praise them for, that you really do appreciate.

Read it, memorize it, and say it until you are blue in the face. After a solid month of not asking for help AT ALL ( no nagging, no hints; just shut up and do the task you want done yourself) you move on to phrase two, “Hey honey, I really appreciate it when you do ____, thank you for all you do for me. Do you think you would be able to help me ____ when you have time?”. Plan this conversation at the best possible time, when they are the least tired, well fed, awake, and preferably in a good mood. Mix this in with with phrase 1 and be patient. Give them grace and love to help them WANT to help you because ultimately who wants to help someone that is always yelling or nagging?!

For more in depth details on this one, read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.

Put In The Work

Any career, sport, or hobby you want to be good at takes work, time and effort. So why do you assume marriage will come naturally with no work at all? Ask yourself, “What can I do to be a better wife/husband?” and “How can I better my communication skills?”. Read the books, do the research, study your spouse, and put in the work! Set out to be the best spouse ever!

Make Time For Your Spouse

Truth about humans, we always make time for the things we enjoy doing. We always have time to watch our favorite show on Netflix, but somehow we are just “way too busy” to eat healthy and workout. We always have time to go on social media, but we are “too busy” to have a date night. Sometimes we forget that we need to set aside time for each other so we can remember why we fell in love. You may be at the point where you don’t enjoy your spouse anymore because you haven’t been putting in the work. If that’s where you are at, this should be a red flag that you are not making time for your spouse. You are setting your team up to fail by not planning quality time together. 

Eliminate Negative Talk

Saying negative things to your spouse or about your spouse is a solid NO GO! Become conscious of how you speak to your husband or wife. Are you putting them down with sly remarks, sarcastic jokes, little comments, or cuss words? Are you talking bad about them to friends and family? If you were a cheerleader for your spouse, how would you be doing? If your positive words were water and your spouse was a tree, would there be any leaves left on it? Check in on your words, become aware of what you say, and eliminate negative spouse talk. 

Those are just a few of my big Ah-Ha moments I’ve had, but I hope you have enjoyed them! Wishing you all the best in your marriage and if you made it to the end of this I’m proud of you, that’s a great start!  

You Won’t Believe It Until You’ve Been There

Destiny's Adventure

Life. She definitely has a sense of humor. I’ve found that she holds some universal truths that remain secrets until you’ve experienced them for yourself. Generally these truths are foretold to you by your elders. I remember thinking to myself, “Oh that’s not true, you’re exaggerating. Sure, that’s how it was for you but it won’t be that way for me”. Almost everyone of these ideas were told to me by my parents, grandparents, or teachers and for some reason, I never believed them! As I grow up, life has revealed some of her truths to me one by one. Every time I experience another, I laugh and remember the time it was told to me long ago. Here are some of my favorites that are truer than true:

  1. Don’t rush to grow up, you’ll miss being a kid when you’re older.
  2. School is better than work. Enjoy school while you can. 
  3. Don’t eat too much cookie dough, it will give you a stomach ache.
  4. Be nice to everyone, you never know when you will cross paths again. 
  5. Everything you’re stressed about now won’t matter years from now.
  6. You can’t eat pasta by the plate your whole life without getting fat. 
  7. Marriage takes work, it’s not as easy as you think. 
  8. Getting fired isn’t always a bad thing.
  9. Friends will disappoint you but don’t give up on them.
  10. Time goes by exponentially faster with age. 

Have any truths of your own you care to share? Spare me the experience. Please, do tell.

Why I Quit My Day Job

Lots of people have been asking me why I quit my successful social media job to go into real estate. For your reading enjoyment, my explanation for the big decision is depicted in giphs.

Anyone that has worked at an agency will tell you it is tuff. I dreaded every Monday and would walk into work unenthusiastic like…

You are always expected to be the first one there, and the last to leave, there is no such thing as turning off your cell phone or computer, and the clients always come first. That’s why I left all of that agency life drama to go into real estate….where the client always comes first, there is no such thing as turning of your cell phone, and you work almost every weekend. Irony at it’s finest, cue the Alanis Morissette …

My 9-5 taught me about time management, team work, and taking criticism which is essential in any work environment. I love social media marketing and still plan to pursue it, just on my own creative time schedule, like 10pm-3am instead of being in my office all day like….

On a side note, its really funny that there are two popular songs about work right now.
My life felt like Rihanna…

But now I’m feeling like 5th Harmony….

Anyway, the decision to go back into real estate was a topic of prayer for a long time and I knew it was what I needed to do. When I envision my life 5 years from now, I see myself in a lifelong career instead of being a slave to my boss, my desk, and my computer.  Working with people and helping others is the best part of real estate and finally my everyday job. So if you are looking for a great real estate agent and wanting to buy/sell a house in Las Vegas, you know who to call!

How to Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

Adulthood has taught me many things, like the importance of good friends, good health, and great credit. Since I am always looking for ways to save money, I decided to investigate my options in real estate. My husband and I bought our first house together in November of 2014 when interest rates were slightly higher and we were just starting our new jobs in Las Vegas. Fast forward one year later, we are now in the position to refinance our home to a lower interest rate, get rid of our private mortgage insurance (PMI), and cut our mortgage down from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage. Saving money is on our house means more vacations to Harry Potter World….and other fabulous places!Destiny Knocking on DoorRefinancing to a 15 year fixed mortgage can save you thousands of dollars in interest. For us, it will save us over 80k in interest and our house will be paid off in 15 years! Although our payment will be higher, more of our money will be going towards the principal of our loan. Here are the steps you should take if you are looking to refinance to a 15 year mortgage.

How to Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

1. Don’t Take Out Credit

Before you have a lender pull your credit make sure you have not gotten any new credit cards, car loans, or personal loans in the last three months. This could hurt your credit and hinder you from qualifying for the best 15 year mortgage rates available.

2. Gather Information on Your Current Mortgage

You will need to know how much you owe on your current mortgage, how much your annual taxes are on you house, and how much you pay for home insurance each month.

3. Shop Around for The Best 15 Year Fixed Mortgage

Once your credit has been checked by the first lender, you can have it pulled by others for the next 14 days without it hurting your score. Get at least three different quotes for your 15 year mortgage so you can see all of your options and pick the best option possible. We ended up using Quicken Loans and we were extremely happy with their service and it cost us little to nothing to refinance.

4. Know What Your Paying For

When your looking for a mortgage, there are three things to consider: interest rates, fees, and hidden costs. You want the lowest interest rate available without having to pay any “points” or “discount fees”. A lot of lenders will offer lower rates if you buy them down, but this is typically not the smartest decision. Most lenders charge fees for refinancing and wrap up all of those fees into the new mortgage amount. Make sure to have every cost and third party fee broken down. Also make sure to ask about closing costs, title insurance fees, and other fees that are not always in the original rate quote.

5.Don’t Lock In A Rate Until Your 100%

After you’ve gotten full estimates from three different lenders, you will want to look at all of your options and choose the best one before locking in your 15 year fixed interest rate and moving forward with your refinance.

I am so happy we made the decision to refinance and learned a lot in the process. I know this topic isn’t super exciting but if you have any questions feel free to post in the comments below!

Dealing with Envy

Hidden BeachSocial media is both a blessing and a curse. Images of beautiful places, friends, family, and even celebrities fill our feeds daily. We stay connected to people through their posts, videos, quotes, and dog photos, but we can easily slip into the treacherous trap of comparison. I often find myself thinking, “I wish my hair was as pretty as her’s” or “I wish I lived in New York like he does” or ” Why can’t I be the next 25 year old millionaire like the owner of Snapchat?”.

As a Social Media Manager, I spend an unusual amount of time on social media. 8+ hours every day on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest can make you green with envy without even realizing its happening. It’s hard not to compare yourself to the celebrities on Instagram or the bloggers on Pinterest, but it is important to be conscious of how comparison is stealing your happiness.

Since I never take a break from social media, here are a few tips I’ve gathered to choose happiness and deal with envy:

Start Your Day With Gratitude

Before you pick up your cell phone in the morning, acknowledge 5 things you are thankful for in your life. I like to spend my drive to work meditating on my blessings and thanking God for the gifts he has already given me. Dealing with envy is easier if you are mindful of your blessings.

Dismiss Unhealthy Friendships

Take a moment to rid your social media channels of people who make you feel less about yourself. This may be celebrities that always look perfect (because they have a team of people to make them up and the magic of photoshop) or a friend who doesn’t add meaning to your life.

Realize You’re Green

Be conscious of thoughts that start of with, “I wish” or “Why can’t”. When you have moments where you turn green with envy, disconnect and go back to your list of what you are thankful for. Don’t forget about what you have, because I can guarantee someone is wishing they had the things you take for granted each day.

Hold On to Truth

Find a saying, mantra or quote that reminds you to refocus on truth. For me, I remind myself that my worth is not based off of my looks or achievements but instead the fact that I am loved by a God who has given me so much. Focusing on loving yourself as you are and others isn’t easy, but it’s rewarding. If you don’t have a quote or saying, you can borrow mine:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves ” -Philippians 2:3.

At the end of the day social media isn’t the problem, envy is an emotion that can pop up anytime. Having control over your thought-life and being aware of how your feelings are affecting you is key to choosing happiness. And remember, you are not alone. Someone, somewhere is looking at your Facebook post and wishing they were as beautiful and amazing as you are!