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Written by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, the Marriage in a Box blog shares insights into common relationship struggles, gives ideas for moving beyond the roadblocks, and helps you find your path to happiness – both individually and within your relationship.

Learn To Set Boundaries With Your Partner For A Healthy Relationship

In any relationship, particularly in a marriage, boundaries are vital. They serve as guidelines that ensure both partners feel respected, valued, and understood. Setting boundaries may seem daunting, but it is a crucial step toward maintaining a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Here, we explore why boundaries matter, how to establish them, and the benefits they bring to your marriage.

Understanding the Importance of Boundaries

Boundaries define the limits within which you feel comfortable and safe. They are not about keeping your partner at arm's length but about establishing a mutual understanding of each other’s needs and expectations. Healthy boundaries promote respect, reduce conflict, and help maintain individuality within the relationship.

Without clear boundaries, partners may inadvertently hurt each other, leading to resentment and misunderstanding. Boundaries help prevent these issues by providing a clear framework for acceptable behavior, communication, and emotional support.

Steps to Setting Boundaries with Your Partner

  1. Reflect on Your Needs and Limits Before discussing boundaries with your partner, take some time to reflect on your own needs and limits. Consider what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed and what you need to feel safe and respected. Understanding your own boundaries is the first step in communicating them effectively.

  2. Communicate Openly and Honestly Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. When discussing boundaries, choose a calm and private setting where both of you can speak freely without interruptions. Use "I" statements to express your feelings and needs without sounding accusatory. For example, say, "I feel overwhelmed when we don't discuss big decisions together. I need us to communicate more about these matters."

  3. Be Specific and Clear Vague boundaries can lead to misunderstandings. Be specific about what you need and why. Instead of saying, "I need more space," explain what that means to you: "I need some alone time each weekend to recharge."

  4. Listen and Validate Boundaries are a two-way street. Be prepared to listen to your partner's needs and validate their feelings. Show empathy and understanding and be willing to negotiate and find compromises that work for both of you.

  5. Respect Each Other’s Boundaries Once boundaries are set, it’s crucial to respect them consistently. Trust and respect are built when both partners adhere to the agreed-upon boundaries. If either of you feels a boundary is being crossed, address it promptly and calmly.

  6. Review and Adjust as Needed Boundaries are not static; they can change over time as your relationship evolves. Regularly check in with each other to see if any boundaries need to be adjusted or if new ones need to be established. This ongoing dialogue helps maintain a healthy and dynamic relationship.

Benefits of Setting Boundaries

Enhanced Trust and Respect When both partners respect each other’s boundaries, trust and respect naturally flourish. Each person feels valued and understood, which strengthens the emotional bond between them.

Reduced Conflict Clear boundaries help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. Knowing each other’s limits and expectations allows both partners to navigate the relationship more smoothly and resolve disagreements more constructively.

Greater Independence and Personal Growth Boundaries allow individuals to maintain their own identities and pursue personal interests, which is essential for personal growth. This independence can enrich the relationship, as both partners bring their best selves to the partnership.

Improved Communication Setting boundaries necessitates open communication, which enhances overall communication within the relationship. Couples who regularly discuss their needs and limits tend to have more meaningful and effective conversations about all aspects of their lives.

Setting boundaries with your partner is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires patience, empathy, and commitment. It is a vital component of a healthy relationship, fostering trust, respect, and mutual understanding. By taking the time to establish and maintain clear boundaries, you and your partner can create a stronger, more resilient marriage that thrives on open communication and respect for each other’s needs.

Consider using marriage In a Box for professional support, helpful suggestions, and guidance. Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques that professionals use to address relationship issues. On the site, you can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 6/19/2024

Prevent Friends and In-Laws from Intruding in Your Marriage

Marriage is a deeply personal and intimate relationship that thrives on trust, communication, and mutual respect. However, even the strongest marriages can be strained by external influences, particularly from well-meaning friends and in-laws who may inadvertently overstep boundaries. 

Here are some strategies to help you maintain the sanctity and privacy of your marriage, ensuring that your relationship remains strong and resilient.

1. Establish Clear Boundaries

Define Your Space: The first step in preventing intrusions is to set clear, mutual boundaries. Discuss with your spouse what constitutes an intrusion and agree on how to handle these situations. Make sure both of you are on the same page about what is acceptable and what is not.

Communicate Boundaries to Others: Once you and your spouse have established these boundaries, communicate them respectfully but firmly to your friends and in-laws. Let them know that while you value their input and support, there are certain aspects of your marriage that you prefer to keep private.

2. Cultivate Direct Communication

Speak Directly to Each Other: When issues arise, discuss them directly with your spouse rather than involving external parties. This not only helps in resolving conflicts more efficiently but also strengthens your bond by reinforcing the habit of direct communication.

Limit External Venting: While it can be tempting to vent to friends or family, especially in moments of frustration, try to limit this practice. Over-sharing can lead to unwanted advice or opinions that may complicate your situation.

3. Foster Independence

Develop a Strong Couple Identity: Spend quality time together and develop traditions or activities that are unique to your relationship. This helps in creating a strong, independent identity as a couple, making it easier to resist external influences.

Encourage Mutual Interests: Engage in activities that both of you enjoy. This not only strengthens your bond but also reduces the chances of either spouse seeking companionship or validation outside the marriage.

4. Address Intrusions Calmly and Firmly

Stay Calm: If an intrusion occurs, approach the situation calmly. Reacting with anger or frustration can escalate the situation and create unnecessary conflict.

Be Firm and Consistent: Politely but firmly remind the intruder of your boundaries. Consistency is key; if you enforce your boundaries regularly, others will eventually learn to respect them.

5. Seek Professional Help if Needed

Consider Counseling: If friends or in-laws continue to intrude despite your best efforts, it may be helpful to seek professional counseling. A therapist can provide strategies for maintaining boundaries and offer a neutral perspective on handling difficult situations.

Join Support Groups: Sometimes, talking to others who are in similar situations can provide new insights and coping strategies. Support groups can be a valuable resource for sharing experiences and gaining advice.

6. Nurture Mutual Respect and Trust

Build Trust: Trust is the foundation of any successful marriage. Ensure that you and your spouse are consistently honest and transparent with each other. This mutual trust will make it easier to face external challenges together.

Respect Each Other's Families and Friends: While setting boundaries is crucial, it’s also important to respect each other’s relationships with friends and family. Strive to find a balance that allows for healthy interactions without compromising your marital privacy.

Preventing friends and in-laws from intruding in your marriage requires a delicate balance of communication, respect, and firmness. By setting clear boundaries, fostering direct communication, and nurturing your relationship, you can protect your marriage from external influences and ensure that it remains a strong, private, and supportive partnership. Remember, your marriage is a unique bond that deserves to be cherished and protected from unnecessary intrusions.

If you're struggling with relationship issues, consider using Marriage In a Box as a resource. This platform provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship counseling. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching services on the site. Check out the available kits and sources of information online to improve your relationship.

Posted 6/12/2024

Don’t Let Differences in Values and Morals Ruin Your Marriage

Differences in values and morals are common in relationships and can pose significant challenges if not addressed effectively. However, with understanding, communication, and mutual respect, these differences can be navigated to strengthen rather than weaken a marriage.

Understanding Values and Morals

Values are the principles that guide a person's behavior and decision-making. They are deeply rooted in one's upbringing, culture, and personal experiences. Morals, on the other hand, are standards of behavior that differentiate right from wrong. While values can vary greatly among individuals, morals are often influenced by societal norms and ethical considerations.

The Impact of Differing Values and Morals

When two individuals with different value systems come together in marriage, conflicts can arise. For instance, one partner might prioritize career success and financial stability, while the other might value family time and personal fulfillment more highly. Similarly, differences in moral beliefs, such as views on honesty, integrity, or fidelity, can lead to significant disagreements.

These differences can manifest in various aspects of married life, including parenting styles, financial management, social interactions, and even daily routines. If not addressed, they can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and ultimately, marital discord.

How to Navigate Differences in Values and Morals

Effective Communication

Open and honest communication is key to navigating differences in values and morals. Couples should engage in regular, meaningful conversations about their beliefs and expectations. It is important to listen actively and empathetically to each other’s perspectives without judgment.

One effective strategy is to practice reflective listening, where one partner paraphrases what the other has said to ensure understanding. This not only clarifies the message but also demonstrates respect and validation of the other’s viewpoint.

Mutual Respect and Compromise

Respecting each other’s values and morals is crucial. This involves acknowledging that differences are natural, and each partner’s beliefs are valid. Rather than trying to change each other, couples should focus on finding common ground and making compromises.

For example, if one partner values financial security while the other values leisure and experiences, they can create a balanced budget that allows for savings as well as discretionary spending. Compromise ensures that both partners feel their values are respected and incorporated into the relationship.

Seeking Common Ground

Finding shared values and creating new, joint values can help bridge the gap between differing individual beliefs. Couples can explore activities, traditions, or goals that they both value. Establishing common values helps in creating a unified vision for the marriage.

For instance, volunteering together for a cause they both care about can reinforce a shared moral commitment to community service. Shared goals, such as saving for a home or planning a family, can also bring couples closer.

Professional Guidance

In some cases, differences in values and morals may be deeply entrenched and difficult to reconcile. Seeking the guidance of a professional counselor or therapist can provide a neutral space for addressing these issues. Therapists can offer strategies and tools for effective communication, conflict resolution, and mutual understanding.

Differences in values and morals need not ruin a marriage. With effective communication, mutual respect, compromise, and a willingness to seek common ground, couples can navigate these differences and build a stronger, more resilient relationship. Embracing each other’s unique perspectives can lead to personal growth and a deeper, more meaningful connection.

Seeking additional support and guidance? Consider exploring resources like Marriage In a Box. This platform offers access to professional tools and techniques to help you navigate the complexities of blended family life. With features like goalsetting, rewards, and marriage coaching, Marriage In a Box can be a valuable companion on your journey towards a harmonious and fulfilling blended family experience.

Posted 6/5/2024

You Don't Have to Choose Between Being a Good Parent or a Loving Spouse

Imagine juggling a shrieking infant in one hand while cooking dinner with the other hand and your spouse is working late again. This is all too common among couples trying to balance out the demands of parenthood and maintaining a loving relationship together. And the great news is you don’t have to choose the lesser evil when dealing with family. Using effective communication, sharing responsibilities, quality time and making time for yourself can help you strike a balance and enjoy a harmonious family dynamic. 

How to Be a Good Parent and a Loving Spouse

Communicate Effectively

An open and honest conversation between partners is important for a healthy relationship. Plan time to talk with each other about what you are feeling and what you need. Even a brief heart-to-heart while you're doing the laundry can help. Plan how you can resolve conflicts in constructive ways by finding solutions without placing blame.

When both of you communicate in front of your children, you should model good communication for them to emulate with others. Show your children how to describe their feelings calmly and listen to others. 

Share the Load

Parenthood is a team sport, and sharing tasks is important. Divide responsibilities by strengths or by schedules and stay flexible as circumstances change. For example, if one parent is good at bedtime stories and the other is a morning person, consider which parent does which job.

Collaborative decision-making is as important as standing together on this journey. Be consistent in your parenting methods and discipline so your children see a united front. This brings continuity and safety to them, even when you sometimes don't agree behind closed doors. Remember, you are partners not only in love but also in raising these little humans.

Prioritize Quality Time

With the pressures of working, attending to household chores, and bringing up children, life can drive a couple away from each other. Fight this by scheduling regular date nights or intimate time without the children. Use a babysitter or depend on your support system so that there is quality time with no child in the way. Whether it be a nice dinner out or even an intimate movie night at home, focus on reattaching and nurturing your relationship.

But don't forget to include family activities. Plan outings involving both parents and the children. It could be a picnic, game night, or even weekend getaways. Develop family traditions that all look forward to, such as Sunday brunches or even annual camping trips. These activities build memories and deepen ties among family members.

Practice Self-Care

Parenting and keeping a relationship going tends to sweep you into a whirlwind that forgets your needs. But the single greatest step you can take in being a good parent and a good spouse is the practice of self-care. Hobbies and personal interests will keep you in touch with yourself and remind you that you are still a person outside your roles. Reach out for help when something weighs you down mentally and exercise to keep physically fit and healthy. You cannot give to your family when you are running on an empty cup.

Moreover, support each other in their growth and well-being. Support and celebrate your partner's personal and professional successes. Be a source of emotional support during tough times and serve as the biggest encouragement to each other. A strong and rewarding relationship is one that is based upon mutual support and understanding.

Overcoming Challenges

One of the main challenges to balance parenting and marriage is guilt. Our culture often puts pressure on us to be perfect in both roles and when we fall short, there is that feeling of incompetence. Stop feeling the need to choose between being a great parent or a great spouse. A balanced approach is going to help your entire family. When your children see you modeling a healthy, loving relationship, they thrive.

Another challenge that couples face is adaptation. Life is going to change as your children grow older and become more mature. Be willing to reassess roles and strategies. What worked when your kids were toddlers might not work when they are teenagers. Talk it out openly, and seek to find solutions that work best for all.

Building a Strong Foundation

Ultimately, the thing that gets you through as both a good parent and a great spouse is establishing trust and respect. Create an appreciation of each other's roles and the different contributions you are making. Say thank you for the little things, a well-packed lunch, or a thoughtful gesture. A strong foundation of trust and respect prepares you to get through any storm.

Balancing the roles of a good parent and a loving spouse can be challenging but achievable with the right mindset and tools to go about it. With the tactics of effective communication, sharing responsibilities, making quality time for each other, and self-care in the bag, a thriving family dynamic is in the works. Remember, your relationship sets the tone of your household, so set it with the same love and attention you give to your children.

Don't be afraid to seek help. If you feel defeated in being a parent and a spouse, know that there are resources that will help you. For example, with Marriage In a Box, you access tools, techniques, and relationship experts who can help you make things work. You'll be given features that include goal settings, rewards, and marriage coaching. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 5/22/2024

Struggling With Parenting in a Blended Family?

America’s Bureau of Census reports that 1300 blended families are formed daily. When two separate families unite through marriage or partnership, they embark on a unique journey filled with joys, challenges, and a whole lot of adjustment to new roles and norms. There are bound to be challenges along the way. Preparing to meet those challenges goes a long way to ensure family harmony.

Typical Parental Challenges Encountered within Blended Family Structures

Role Confusion and Issues of Authority:

The main challenge of blended parenting is finding out who does what and who has command over whom. Stepparents often feel unsure about how much control they should exert as disciplinarians. Simultaneously, biological parents may struggle to relinquish control or find a balance between their parenting style and that of their new partner. This can cause confusion and tension among family members.

Loyalty Struggles:

Children in blended families often feel torn between being loyal to their birth parents and wanting to accept their stepparents and grow close together with them. They might also feel guilty about enjoying time with their stepparent as it might upset the biological parent. This could be achieved through open communication coupled with mutual respect for each other’s role in bringing up children for step-parents living apart from the biological parents may be delicate negotiations.

Emotional & Psychological Adjustments:

Creating a blended family involves making significant emotional and psychological changes besides logistics alone. If still grieving or healing from earlier family breakups, children may have trouble accepting new additions into the family structure. They may choose not to make connections at all, but instead express themselves through defiant behavior patterns. These emotions have to be recognized and accepted for the children to settle in this new environment.

Difficult Communication:

Blended families have a special challenge with communication, which is a cornerstone of any healthy family. Misinterpretations and misunderstandings are very easy when there are different caretakers who all expect different things or use dissimilar means of communication. If feelings, desires and expectations are not openly discussed then resentment may begin to build up leading to dysfunctional family patterns.

Effective Parenting Techniques for Blended Families

  1. Establish Clear Roles and Boundaries.

Couples should sit down together and honestly define their respective positions within the family unit including those of biological parents and stepparents. How  will parenting decisions be made? Everyone must respect each person’s privacy while still working together.

  1. Create a United Front.

Children need predictability and structure, so presenting them with a consistent approach to parenting is crucial. Parents must take time to align their rules, expectations, and consequences without sending mixed signals through punishment methods. On-going check-ins will ensure that everyone stays on track toward goals that do not conflict with each other.

  1. Foster Open Communication.

A family meeting is organized on a regular basis to allow for those present to voice their concerns, feelings and solve problems as a group. Developing skills like attentive listening and showing understanding helps parents and stepparents make each member of the family appreciated.

  1. Create Strong Relationships.

It is not easy for stepchildren to have close relationships with their step parents. This kind of relationship cannot be forced as it takes time. Genuine concern or care about the kids’ lives, attending events involving them, and being there when they need you are some ways that trust can be established over time.

  1. Flexible Parenting

Parenting children in blended families requires parents who can adapt to different situations. A method that works for one child may fail completely on the other, while an approach that worked well in the previous unit may not be effective at all. Therefore, it’s important for parents to openly listen to what children and other members of the family feel coming up with new ideas of approaching matters to ensure peace prevails among themselves.

  1. Individual Relationships should be Maintained.

As much as unity should be created among all members of a blended family, individual relationships also need nurturing within this context. Having alone time with each child is one way of making him/her feel loved by his parent hence valued by others too. Balancing between activities meant for the whole family unit and spending lone moments with every child usually develops strong parent-child bonds leading to satisfaction of each child’s personal requirements.

Parenting in a blended family is a journey filled with unique challenges, but it is also an opportunity for immense personal growth and the creation of a loving, supportive family unit. By addressing common struggles head-on, establishing clear roles and boundaries, fostering open communication, building strong relationships, and seeking help when needed, blended families can thrive.

Seeking additional support and guidance? Consider exploring resources like Marriage In a Box. This platform offers access to professional tools and techniques to help you navigate the complexities of blended family life. With features like goal-setting, rewards, and marriage coaching, Marriage In a Box can be a valuable companion on your journey towards a harmonious and fulfilling blended family experience.

Posted 5/15/2024

Can Your Marriage Withstand the Stress of Raising Teens?

Raising teenagers can be one of the most challenging phases of parenthood. It's a time when your children are navigating the complexities of adolescence, seeking independence, and pushing boundaries. For parents, this period often brings about significant stress and can put a strain on even the strongest of marriages. In this article, we delve into the various ways in which raising teens can impact a marriage and provide strategies for couples to navigate this tumultuous time together.

The Strain on Marriage

The teenage years are marked by a myriad of changes and chaos, both for the teens themselves and for their parents. Adolescents are grappling with identity formation, peer pressure, academic stress, and hormonal fluctuations, while parents are faced with the challenges of setting boundaries, managing conflicts, and balancing their roles as nurturers and disciplinarians. These stressors can easily spill over into the marriage, leading to tension, disagreements, and feelings of frustration.

  • Communication Breakdown

One of the most significant challenges couples face when raising teens is communication breakdown. As adolescents strive for autonomy, they may become more secretive or resistant to sharing their thoughts and feelings with their parents. This can lead to conflicts between parents who may have differing approaches to parenting or who feel disconnected from each other due to the lack of communication about their children.

  • Shifting Priorities

Another common issue that arises during the teenage years is the shifting of priorities within the family dynamic. As teens become more involved in extracurricular activities, socializing with friends, and pursuing their own interests, parents may find themselves feeling sidelined or neglected. This can lead to feelings of resentment or jealousy within the marriage if one spouse feels that their needs or desires are being overlooked in favor of the children's activities.

  • Financial Strain

Raising teenagers can also bring about financial strain, particularly as children enter high school and college. The cost of education, extracurricular activities, and teenage socializing can add up quickly, placing a burden on family finances. Financial stress can exacerbate existing tensions within the marriage and may lead to disagreements over budgeting, spending priorities, and long-term financial planning.

Strategies for Strengthening Your Marriage

While raising teenagers undoubtedly presents its challenges, there are steps that couples can take to strengthen their marriage and navigate this phase of parenthood together:

  1. Prioritize Communication: Make time to regularly check in with each other and discuss your feelings, concerns, and frustrations about parenting teenagers. Encourage open and honest communication, and actively listen to your spouse's perspective.

  2. Maintain a United Front: Present a united front when it comes to parenting decisions and discipline. Avoid undermining each other in front of the children and work together to establish consistent rules and boundaries.

  3. Carve Out Quality Time: Despite the demands of parenting teenagers, try to prioritize quality time together as a couple. Whether it's going on a date night, taking a weekend getaway, or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, nurturing your relationship is essential during this time.

  4. Seek Support: Don't be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or professional counselors if you're struggling to cope with the challenges of raising teenagers. Having a support network can provide validation, perspective, and practical advice to help you navigate this phase of parenthood.

  5. Focus on Self-Care: Remember to prioritize self-care and individual hobbies or interests outside of parenting. Taking care of your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being will enable you to better support your spouse and navigate the ups and downs of raising teenagers together.

Raising teenagers can be a stressful and challenging time for couples, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and strengthening your marriage. By prioritizing communication, maintaining a united front, carving out quality time together, seeking support, and focusing on self-care, couples can navigate the stresses of raising teens while maintaining a strong and healthy relationship. Remember, you're in this together, and with patience, understanding, and mutual support, your marriage can withstand the challenges of parenting teenagers.

Consider using marriage In a Box for professional support, helpful suggestions, and guidance. Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques that professionals use to address relationship issues. On the site, you can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 5/8/2024

Good communication is essential to managing finances successfully with your spouse.

Money is a large part of your life, and you must deal with it every day. It affects your lifestyle, family, and your future.  However, not all couples are on the same page about their finances. Couples may have conflicting money views, which can lead to a lot of problems. 

At some point, every marriage will face some type of financial issue. It could be a job loss, unexpected medical bills due to illness or surgery, or not enough money to pay the bills due to a lack of money management skills. Whatever the reason, you and your spouse must sit down and discuss your finances and the problems you are facing. Money talks are not easy and often end in fights or arguments the leave both partners feeling angry, stuck, and alone.  If you are tired of arguing or fighting about money with your spouse, it’s time to try a better way.

Start with a positive approach to finance discussions.

Set a convenient time to talk, so you won’t be distracted. Casually talk about 3 things each of you would like to do in the future together. Talking about your dreams for the future can help take the animosity out of dealing with your money. Voicing your goals gives you a sense of purpose and direction.

Be Honest About How You Are doing Financially.

Choose another time to sit down with your spouse and be honest about how you are doing financially. Relieve financial stress and resentment in your marriage by being open about your spending and the amounts in your financial accounts. If your financial situation is not that good, talk calmly about what could be causing the problem. 

Don’t play the blame game. 

Blaming puts your spouse on the defensive. When someone feels they are being attacked, they will likely switch from a co-operative to a self-defense mode. The only thing blaming will accomplish is to shut down the conversation. Approach the discussion with “I” statements rather than “You” statements. 

I feel that I do not have much input into our finances.

You never discuss financial things with me…” 

The “I feel...” statement is non-threatening, whereas the “You never discuss…” statement immediately puts your spouse on the defensive.

Work together to create a budget you can stick to.

Instead of living paycheck to paycheck to pay your day-to-day expenses, make achieving your financial goals a priority. Use a budget template to determine exactly where you stand financially and track your earnings, expenses, and savings every month. A budget will help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can reduce spending to pay down debts and increase your savings. You can find the official Google Sheets Budget template here.

Identify your financial goals.

Getting your spending under control is financial management. You also should start to identify your short-term and long-term goals. For example:

Short term financial goals could include saving for a down payment for a home, paying off debt, building and emergency fund, etc. Long term goals could be saving for a child’s education, investing for retirement, or paying off your mortgage. Determining your goals keeps you motivated to work towards achieving them. 

Develop Your financial plan.

Now that you have determined your goals and built a monthly budget to keep expense on track, work together to determine a financial plan to reach your financial goals and ensure you have financial security. 

Make your Finances a Joint Effort. 

Many money problems can arise when one spouse makes the financial decisions, balances the checkbook, and invests the money. Marriage is a partnership, so both partners should have a voice in the financial decisions for spending and investing your money. Share the financial workload and discuss how you are doing financially on a regular basis. You are building your finances to prepare for a happy lifetime together, so both should be part of that building.

If you're struggling with relationship issues, consider using Marriage In a Box as a resource. This platform provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship counseling. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching services on the site. Check out the available kits and sources of information online to improve your relationship.

Posted 4/24/2024

Financial Red Flags To Watch Out For In Your Marriage

Does your spouse get irritated anytime you bring up the subject of money?  Not wanting to discuss money could be a red flag they have something to hide. Building a life together takes both of you working together. Discussing your finances regularly, no matter how you are doing financially, is essential to paying your bills currently, making good financial choices, and planning for your future. 

Keep trying to get your spouse to sit down and talk with you about your finances. Schedule a monthly date night where you can look at the bills and your budget and see where you are. The more you try to involve your spouse, the easier it should be to get them to join in. If not, there could be something they don’t want you to know about, and you may need to research it.

Out of Control Spending

Is your spouse a compulsive spender? When you open your credit card statements and see several purchases made that your spouse did not discuss with you, your spouse’s spending is out of control. Credit card debt can accumulate quickly and often at high interest rates. 

If your spouse has run up credit card debt, you must confront them about the problem. Some people cannot control their spending, so they may need to cut up their credit cards and go on the cash system until they can get the problem under control. You can work together to develop a budget, teach them money management skills, or offer to take a course together at a local community college. 

Lying About Purchases

While most couples don’t ask where every penny is spent, large purchases should be discussed before making. What do you do if you find a receipt or a charge on your credit card for a large purchase that you don’t recall discussing with your spouse? Most people would ask their spouse about the purchase. There may be a good reason, like an emergency expenditure they had to make. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

However, something is going on if they get defensive and their explanation does not sound right to you. The problem is that they have broken your trust. They spent a large sum without telling you and then tried to cover it up. Many a relationship has been destroyed by financial deceit or infidelity.

Financial red flags could be signs of an addiction. 

Most people think of alcohol or drugs when they think of addiction. However, addiction is defined as a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects. 

The top 8 types of addictions are as follows:

  • Alcohol
  • Anger
  • Drugs
  • Food
  • Gambling
  • Nicotine
  • Sex
  • Spending

Someone experiencing a financial addiction will often:

  • Be unable to stay away from places or things they spend money on. 
  • Display a lack of self-control.
  • Have an increased desire to spend more.
  • Denial or dismissal of how their behavior may be causing problems.

How to Deal with Financial Red Flags in Your Marriage

  1. Discuss the Problem with Your Spouse

Calmly show them the evidence of the spending and explain that their financial problems could push you into bankruptcy. Ask probing questions. Are they in trouble at work? Are they involved in an affair? Try to express your love and encouragement for them to be honest with you so you can work this out together. 

  1. Don’t Fight or Argue About the Financial Indiscretions

Blaming and Anger will not force your spouse to admit the problem. If you want to find out what motivates their financial spending, deceit, or secrecy, you must approach them in love. Remind them that you’re committed to seeking help with them, but intervention is necessary. If your efforts at communication fail, ask your spouse to talk to a trusted financial advisor or counselor with you.

  1. Protect Your Joint and Separate Finances

While you and your spouse work through the financial issues, you should protect your Marriage from financial ruin. Collect all the credit cards and lock them in a safety deposit box. Close the joint checking account and open separate bank accounts. Talk to a financial advisor about how to protect savings and investments.

If you're struggling with finance and relationship issues, consider using Marriage in a Box as a resource. This platform provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship counseling. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching services on the site. Check out the available kits and sources of information online to improve your relationship.

Posted 4/17/2024

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