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On Marriage (…and divorce)

Hey Contrarians,

A partnership can be really, really powerful.

Also REALLY hard.

It’s true for business relationships – and even truer for marriages.

They say every partnership should begin with the end in mind, but I’ve learned there’s a little more to it than that…

Today in 10 minutes or less, you’ll learn:

✔️ Financial dangers of the D-word

✔️ “Til death do us part” means something must die…

✔️ 12 rules I follow for a better marriage


Fun fact:

The average wedding in the US costs $30,000 per couple according to this 2022 study.

How about the cost of divorce? Median is $7k, average is $15k, and contested divorces with lots of issues run up closer to $100k+.

Children with divorced parents are twice as likely to drop out of high school.

Teenagers whose parents divorce are more likely to experience mental health issues.

Listen, though. I get it. I went through a divorce. I’m not shaming anyone, sometimes sh*t happens. BUT it’s a lot of cash and strain.

I started thinking about marriage and why I think not only is divorce worth avoiding generally but it’s also awful for your finances.

So let’s tackle some ideas to help you continue to say, “I do.”


Flashback: I’m married to a handsome man, with a beautiful house, country club, fancy cars, and friends who look like they’re on the Real Housewives. But tonight, I’m walking into the living room as the sun sets to break the heart of the man I promised forever.

He’s far from perfect, but I’m sure I was too. Besides, in this moment, all I feel is agony.

I speak softly, “It’s not working.” Deep breath. “I want a divorce, and… I’m moving out tonight.”

As soon as the words leave my mouth, I see all 6ft 210lbs of him crumple to the ground, sobbing. It is an awful thing to watch someone strong break. I have never felt greater guilt and shame than in that moment. With eyes so blurry I can barely see, I leave empty-handed out the front door of the “house” I just finished decorating into a home.

I spent the night sleepless and alone. When I told my mother, she also cried. Tears, that’s all I had to give.

I never shared all the hardness in that marriage, it was my burden to carry. But I also didn’t quite realize that moment would change my life forever. I left a man, a city, all my things and eventually a career I’d spent more than a decade building.

I had to lose everything – including the person I was – to become the person I wanted.

Some cliches are true, deals are easy to get into but damn hard to get out of.

Today: Things look a little different. I’m remarried to a man who is disgustingly perfect for me. Don’t tell him, but the best thing about my life is the partnership I have with my husband. It’s far from perfect, yet damn is it delicious for us.

I wrote a letter to myself of the rules I thought kept us in love and in marriage. It’s a reminder for me and maybe helpful for you.


Rule #1: Shared goals

Bruce Paltrow put it best. When asked how he and his wife stayed together so long, he famously said: “We never wanted to get divorced… at the same time.”

Rule #2: Never ever use the D-word

We have a list of off-the-table words:

  • Hate.
  • Divorce.
  • Leaving.

Those three. They’re just not an option. Because when you let them out just a little bit, they take over the place. We chose each other. That means (hopefully) till death do us part.

Rule #3: TEAM

Maybe you’ve heard about our regular check-in. It’s our daily practice to make sure we connect, get things off our chests, and remind each other why we chose one another. It’s a lifesaver to ensure your day doesn’t become constant nagging.

We (maybe like you) were incredibly busy, with tanks on E, and not enough time for each other. This takes just 10 minutes a night:

T – Touch. Hold hands, sit next to each other on the couch. Remind yourselves with touch you’re in this together. (Sidenote: When Chris and I are mad at each other we jokingly barely touch one fingertip like ET.)

E- Education. You each share one thing you learned that day that was interesting. A fact. A hard truth. Whatever. It’s a chance for novelty and endorphins by expanding our brains.

A – Appreciation. You each share one thing you appreciate about the other. Could be how beautiful your partner looks that day. If you’re ticked, it could be that they took out the trash. Only rules are points for creativity and you can’t keep using the same one.

M – Metrics. Here’s the tough part. Usually when you’re upset, you tell them in the moment. That gets naggy 321 times a day. With the check-in, you wait or write it down and bring it to this time. It means you don’t fight when elevated but you always get to explain your point.

Metrics was huge for us. We let cooler heads prevail, now we kind of treasure our check-in.

Rule #4: Us vs The World

Chris is especially good at siding with me. He jokes he likes to “choose sides.”

I had to learn this a bit more. But now whenever we do something for each other or need to choose a side we just say, “Same team.” It’s a reminder that it’s us against ‘em all.

Rule #5: Use safe words

Not that kind (my Dad reads this, you nasties).

Couples always compromise and go to the in-law’s event, or the company meeting, or the friend’s wedding. There’s a societal expectation that your significant other has to like and want to do everything you do.

Throw that away.

Once we gave each other permission to bail, we got a lot happier. We have a safe word, and when we’re really done with something we slip it into conversation (ahem, pufferfish), and it means we bail as a couple.

Remember, same team.

Rule #6: Get a pro

I like coaches.

I hate wasting time when I can steal someone else’s 10,000 hours. Chris is the same. So we’ve always had marriage therapists.

Men: you could really learn something here. Chris is a dude’s dude, but he’s all-in on therapy because it makes us stronger not weaker. Get a pro, steal their homework.

Rule #7: Two-Week Rule

We’ll never go two weeks without seeing each other. With our schedules, that can be tough. But it’s the rule.

That means we usually travel together, work together, workout together. He is my person, and we want to experience life together.

If you don’t, you’re like two petri dishes with different inputs. You grow differently. We want to grow together.

Rule #8: Love language

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. This woo-woo book is real.

Chris likes acts of service, I like physical touch. Read the book and try to not Do Unto Others As You Would Like, but instead do unto them as THEY would like. Small but big difference.

Rule #9: In the trenches

There’s a saying that people in the military say: “We’ve been in the trenches together.” Meaning you’ve been through difficulty together, and that trial strengthens bonds.

It’s the same with marriage, so at least once a year we do something really f-ing hard together. Build a business. Try to have a kid. Climb a mountain. Iron sharpens iron.

Rule #10: Keep it safe, keep it secret

You won’t find us saying things like “the ol’ ball and chain,” or “ugh, my husband did xyz.”

We keep it safe, we keep it secret. There will be problems, but talking to others about it does nothing but allow others into your marriage. No parents, no friends, we’re not into physical or mental polyamory thank you very much.

Rule #11: Temperature gauge

One therapist taught us something really cool. She called it our temperature gauge.

You know how when you start feeling triggered, you can feel it in your body? Your chest tightens, or you grind your jaw, or wrinkle your nose, or start to feel hot, or want to escape? All signs you’re getting elevated.

We’ve been learning how to notice them and then say simply, “Hey, I feel myself getting a little amped, can I calm down and we can circle back?” You take the blame, then your partner gets a willing audience on the back end.

Last rule: Who the f*ck knows.

We’re just doing our best. We’ve been together for 6 years, and known each other for 23 years. But I look at my grandparents and think, that’s the blink of an eye.

Let’s all check back in when we’re 80 and see how we’re doing then. Fingers crossed, eh? 🙂

Try it. A marriage done well is a superpower.

(Also – you could just do it for the insurance benefits? Or as our friends like to joke, I just married Chris for his veteran benefits.)

We don’t have to, we get to.

– Codie

⚔️ Would you rather pay $20k in legal fees, or settle things Medieval-style?

💵 Know how much cash on-hand your biz has? Berkshire’s got over $147B

🏚️ 4 out of 5 Americans believe it’s a bad time to buy a house. Agree?

🍏 Some serious innovation happening at Apple. Not that it matters

☠️ “Worst things to hear from a CEO,” brought to us by WeWork

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Disclaimer – This is the “Be an adult” section. Everything mentioned above isn’t advice, just a recount of what I did. That said: This article is presented for informational purposes only. The opinions stated here are not intended to recommend any investment or provide tax advice. Neither are they an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any current or future investment vehicle managed or sponsored by Codie Ventures, LLC or its affiliates. All material presented in this newsletter is not to be regarded as investment advice, but for general informational purposes only. Day trading and investing do involve risk, so caution must always be utilized. We cannot guarantee profits or freedom from loss. You assume the entire cost and risk. You are solely responsible for making your own investment decisions. We recommend consulting with a registered investment advisor, broker-dealer, and/or financial advisor. If you choose to invest with or without seeking advice from such an advisor or entity, then any consequences resulting from your investments are your sole responsibility. By reading/sharing this newsletter or consuming our content on our other channels, you are indicating your consent and agreement to our disclaimer.

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