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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.

Is Your Marriage Taking A Backseat To Your Work Or Schedule?

Despite the constant talk about work-life balance today, it remains elusive for too many families." The economy, the uncertainty of careers, make leaving work at the office is more difficult than it seems. Technology allows us to work virtually anywhere, and anyone can reach us at any time. Working at home is not a luxury, it has become a necessity for many. Working too much can have a negative impact on your marriage.

Every company and spouse value a hard worker. However, there is a difference between being a hard worker and being a workaholic. A workaholic is someone who works compulsively at the cost of sleep, health, and spending time with loved ones. They don’t just work hard; work consumes their life.

  • They miss out on life events for work.
  • They try to find ways to make more time for work.
  • Hobbies and leisure are sacrificed due to work.
  • The amount they work has negatively impacted their health.
  • They find a way to work even if sick or injured.
  • They rarely take vacations, and if they do, they still work while out of the office.
  • They always bring work home with them.
  • They find it hard to be "in the moment" because they are thinking about work.

In a workaholic marriage, everyone suffers. The workaholic experiences tendencies to entitlement, irritability, frequent physical ailments, angry outbursts, and constant guilt over their work habits. The workaholic’s spouse feels disconnected, abandoned, or estranged from their partner. The marriage lacks physical and emotional intimacy, communication, and togetherness. Sooner or later, something will snap and both partners will have to confront the issue.

If you or your spouse recognize signs of being overcommitted to work, you are putting your marriage in danger. Here is how to make a lifestyle change and turn things around before it's too late.

Communicate your feelings to your spouse. As your spouse is engrossed in their work, you are silently raging with resentment at always putting your needs on the back burner for the sake of his or her career. Sacrificing in silence will not change the situation. You need to have an honest conversation with your spouse. They may not be aware of how much they have neglected you and the family. Gently let them know how much you love them and need them to be present in your life instead of always at work.

Once you open the door to the issue, it allows you both to discuss how to solve the problem. Start with one or two small steps that could begin to make a difference and go from there.

Create a boundary between work and home life

Your work life can bring many benefits such as a sense of accomplishment, success, money, and recognition. However, no matter how good you are at your job, it will not bring you lasting peace, happiness, love, or comfort. People were created to need other people. When you develop a relationship with someone, you open yourself to them. You get to know them, and they get to know you. As time goes on and you become more involved with each other, love blossoms, intimacy occurs, and two become one. That sharing, communication, and building a life together is what gives life meaning.

Work is what makes your life outside of work possible. A healthy marriage and family life is possible because of the boundaries you set. Set a specific time that you will arrive at work and that you will leave work every day and stick to it. Learn to protect your family time. If your boss asks you to stay late, let him or her know that you have already made a prior commitment that you cannot break. Offer to come in early the next morning to attend to the project.

Establish Technology Free Zones.

The master bedroom should be set up to use for relaxing, cuddling, and sleeping. It should be a couple’s sanctuary. If you have an office set up in the bedroom, relocate it to a different part of the house. If you are a laptop or tablet fanatic, have a specific place that you use it and stick to that space. Don’t take your office with you everywhere you go, every minute of the day. You need to unplug to get rest, decompress, and focus on your family relationships.

Make your Spouse a Priority

Your career, your work, or your schedule should not be at the expense of your marriage. To have a great marriage, requires devotion of time, energy, communication, and intimacy. If you are consumed with work or your schedule, what is left for your spouse? If this sounds like you, you need to get back to investing some time in your marriage.

When you leave the office (whether is a home office or an out of the home office), put work out of your mind. Establish a weekly date night for “just the two of you.”

Set Aside Family Time

Gather as a family for meals and make it a rule that cell phones are turned off during your time together. To create and maintain a close bond, you need to spend time being completely present, talking with and enjoying your time with your family. If it’s been a while, start off by making an effort to connect. Ask about how their day went and share something about your day. Mealtime is an essential time to decompress from work and get back into family life.

Every couple struggles with finding the right balance between family life, couple’s time, work, and scheduled events. Talking about and sharing your struggles with your spouse brings you closer together and motivates you both to work at improving your life and marriage.

Posted 6/10/2022

10 Ways To Build A Strong, Emotionally Connected Marriage

Without a solid emotional connection, relationships can easily drift apart.  A strong emotional connection includes love, friendship, open communication, commitment, and investing in one another. Sharing is the glue that holds it all together. Here are ten ways to build a strong, emotionally connected marriage by sharing.

  1. Share Your Commitment to the relationship. In a healthy marriage, both spouses are committed enough to the relationship to face the challenges. Believe that your relationship is worth much more than the momentary feelings, and you’ll do what it takes to work through those issues. Learn to see the issue as the enemy, not each other. Even when you become frustrated, concentrate on the issue, and commit to working on it together instead of letting it come between them.

 

  1. Share What You are Feeling. Don’t expect your partner to be able to read your mind.  Open communication is essential to keep the peace and express needs and feelings. Learn to listen deeply. When your spouse speaks, put your phone across the room, turn off the TV and give them direct eye contact. Ask questions to explore their thoughts.

 

  1. Share quality time. Make sure you are both making time for each other. Schedule weekly time with each other before anything else. Keep dating. Talk about things you love and try new things together.

 

  1. Share Affection & Intimacy. Be sure you are showing your spouse affection, whether mentally or physically. Whether words of affirmation or physical touch, make sure you fulfill your spouse’s need for love and physical closeness. Make time to meet each other’s sexual needs and try to spice things up from the usual bedroom routine. 

 

  1. Share an Investment in Each Other. If both spouses focus only on meeting their own needs, the relationship becomes one of “taking” instead of “giving.” Suppose that both spouses focus on the happiness and growth of each other by making their partner their top priority. In that case, they are investing in each other and building a genuine emotional connection in marriage.

 

  1. Share forgiveness. Needing to be right or have the last word is detrimental to most relationships. Would you prefer to prove you’re right or maintain a happy marriage? Learn to let go of grudges and allow others to have their own opinions can save the peace.

 

  1. Share your dreams. Make a point of sharing any dreams or goals you have for the future with your partner. It helps keep them alive and motivate you to continue working toward them. It can also prompt you to dream together.

 

  1. Share Admiration & Respect. Everyone needs to be respected and appreciated for who they are. Having your spouse support you means they value you. Try to support your spouse’s achievements, build up their self-esteem, and fulfill their emotional needs. Make sure you respect their differences as much as you respect their similarities.

 

  1. Share Responsibility. For your marriage to be successful, make sure you are fair in your division of responsibilities between you and your spouse. Putting most of the load onto your spouse will likely lead to them feeling overworked and underappreciated.

 

  1. Share Experiences. Plan activities with friends and loved ones that enable you to share what’s been going on in your life and create deeper bonds. Find new fun, ways to spend time sharing experiences together and connect with others.

Posted 5/25/2022

How To Recognize When The Emotional Marriage Bond Is Broken

Marriages are fragile. They are held together with the emotional bonds of love, respect, and intimacy. Many married couples go through rough times. Living with another person, blending your lives is not always easy, no matter how much you love one another. When you have children, you can become so busy with activities, work, and running the household that you may miss signs that tell you your marriage is in trouble.

However, letting the friction go on for months could lead to irreparable damage that may not be easy to mend. Temporary roadblocks can lead to separation unless you find a way to overcome them.

How do you know if the emotional connection is broken?

  1. You and Your Spouse have little to talk about anymore.

When the only thing you both talk about is the kids, or keeping the household running, there may not be an emotional connection between you anymore. Of course, parents must talk about the children, and, unfortunately, bills and meals, and grocery shopping also must be regular topics of conversation. However, if these things are all you talk about, the bond between you may be broken.

  1. The verbal language in your marriage has shifted from caring and kindness to impatience and criticism.

When you care about someone, you are careful not to speak harsh or angry words that attack their character because you love them. If your spouse criticizes everything you do, snaps at you when things don’t get done in their timeframe, or ridicules you in public, they have lost respect for you, and your emotional connection has been broken.

  1. You Have the Same Argument Repeatedly.

Arguments will happen in every marriage, even healthy ones. Research shows that couples who argue effectively are ten times more likely to have a happy marriage than those who sweep issues under the rug. If your time together is plagued by the same old argument and there is no resolution, there's a significant disconnect. Before long, you’ll start avoiding each other for fear of sparking another argument.

  1. You avoid spending time with each other.

In the first years of love, most couples can hardly stand to be apart. Even after years go by, you should still enjoy spending time with one another, laughing, and engaging in lighthearted, playful behavior, at least occasionally. 

Coming home late daily, spending weekends and holidays away for work or with friends and trying to spend less time at home all indicate a failing relationship. If you can’t hang out with your partner, something is wrong in your marriage.

  1. Date Nights Are a Thing of Days Gone by.

Can't remember your last date night? If you're not planning any important or special events together and not spending time together generally, that's not good news for your relationship.

  1. You Don't Have Sex Anymore.

Sex may not be all there, but it’s an essential part of a healthy, intimate marriage. A Social Psychology and Personality Science study found that, on average, happy couples had sex once a week. Every marriage goes through lull periods in the bedroom. Not wanting to rip your partner’s clothes off every night is no reason to panic. However, if you’re both physically healthy enough but go months or even years without sex, a deeper issue like a lack of emotional intimacy or romance may be the issue.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to repair your Marriage!

Have a conversation with your spouse about your concerns about the issues with the emotional bond in your marriage. The most powerful tool we have for resolving our conflicts is listening and understanding one another. When we invite our partners to share, truly listen, and understand their feelings, you can get to the bottom of the real issues.

Stop Defending your castle and Say I Love You, and I’m sorry.

The healing of the emotional bond in marriage is best accomplished with the commitment of both parties, where both parties are willing and motivated to spend 15 minutes each day to put your marriage back together.

Marriages requires work and putting in the effort on things that bond you as a couple is part of that. Marriage in a Box is a set of 173 marriage therapy techniques that you and your spouse can work on together in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Posted 5/20/2022

How To Emotionally Re-Connect To Your Partner

When you said your marriage vows, you and your partner promised to love, honor, and cherish each other until death. Somewhere along the way, some couples can get so distracted with the busyness of life that they no longer spend much time together, and when they talk --it is more like a to-do list. What happened to that spark, that emotional connection you both used to have?

The number one cause for divorce today is lack of communication.  Just a decade ago it was adultery, but today failing to communicate, communicating poorly, or just letting the emotional gap widen between a husband and wife can be fatal to marriages.

If you are feeling distant or isolated from your spouse, it is time to take action to reconnect with your spouse with these seven steps.

STEP 1: SIT DOWN AND TALK THINGS OUT

When you start to notice that you and your partner have become distant, make it a top priority to sit down with them and talk things through. When one of you retreats emotionally, there is something going on. Did you have a fight or argument where one of you hurt the other?

If you are deliberately staying distant because of an argument, try to get to the root of the problem rather than staying silent to punish your partner. Whether you were at fault or not, start with an apology for hurting your partner’s feelings. Be the peace maker. Good communication skills are essential when attempting to reconnect emotionally.

STEP 2: PAY ATTENTION & LISTEN TO YOUR PARTNER

It is a general fact that we skip 75% of what is said. It can be less than that if we are preoccupied all the time with cell phones, games, computers, etc.  Give your undivided attention when your spouse or partner is talking.  Look your spouse in the face to show sincerity. If you have a phone in your hand, make sure your spouse sees you turn it off so that you can give your undivided attention deliberately.

STEP 3: TALK TO EACH OTHER IN LOVE

No matter what the issue is, always use a respectful tone of voice with your partner. You married them because you love and cherish them, not to mistreat them. If the discussion begins to get heated, take a time out before you say things in anger that you cannot take back. Let what you say build up and soothe your partner.

STEP 4: SPEND TIME DOING THINGS TOGETHER

Try to do activities you wouldn’t usually do and step out of your comfort zone together. Be more intentional about the time you spend together; have the tough conversations and the funny ones and everything in between!

You could finally go through your mutual bucket list or make your favorite meal together. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant or outlandish activity, just make sure that you are making each other a priority and are using the experience to actively connect.

STEP 5: EXPRESS YOUR APPRECIATION FOR YOUR PARTNER

Don’t just shower your partner in love on the big important days, but make sure to show them how much you appreciate them for the smaller things too. Say Thank you. Pay them a compliment. Show how much you appreciate your partner often.

Learning how to express why you cherish your partner will also remind you both why you got together in the first place. Often the smallest act of kindness or affection can be the most significant. It is these significant everyday moments that will help rebuild emotional connection.

STEP 6: ALWAYS SUPPORT YOUR PARTNER

You may not agree with your partner’s goals and dreams but try to understand what they are, why they have them, and support them. When you are supportive and encouraging, your partner feels safe and stronger. Your relationship becomes their haven from the doubters and haters.

STEP 7: DON’T SKIMP ON PHYSICAL INTIMACY

Let your partner know how much you love them. Get your flirt on with a glance, a touch, a whispered sentiment. Give them an intimate hug or kiss and let it linger. Set the mood for sex.

To reconnect emotionally with your spouse, you need trust, honesty, and transparency about your emotions. You must let them know about things that trouble your mind and heart, and don’t forget to give them space when they need it.

Posted 5/11/2022

5 Ways To Talk To Your Marriage Partner About Money

Talking about money does not come easily or naturally to most people. It is one of those “taboo” subjects that you don’t discuss in public. However, you don’t want to wait to talk to your spouse about money when the bills are piling up, and the checking account is empty. If you’re going to establish a strong foundation for your future together, you need to have the “money talk.”

Start small and casual.

Most people wait until a financial crisis to talk to their spouse about their finances.  By then, stress and anger have built up, and you can resort to blaming or shaming your partner. It hurst your marriage when you personally attack your partner. Their defense mechanisms kick in. Instead of being able to talk about your finances, you are screaming and fighting.

Start talking about money when there is no crisis Think of it as planning for your financial future together.

  1. If we want your spouse to share with you freely, you must give them your undivided attention.
  2. Don’t lecture, discuss. Instead of talking at your partner, talk with your partner.
  3. Try to understand each other’s points of view. Ask questions and wait patiently for an answer.
  4. Pick the right time and place. Choose a time when you are less likely to be stressed out, exhausted, or engrossed in something else.
  5. Ease into the conversation slowly. Try one of these introductions.
  • Bring up a money goal you are working on saving for, like a vacation. Ask your spouse what money goals they have.
  • Find an article about couples and finances and share it with your spouse. Bring it up later and discuss what each of you thought of it.
  • Look into Personal Finance classes at a community college and suggest that you and your spouse attend together.

Don’t keep secrets

Honesty is essential in any relationship. Make sure you and your partner share your credit history, debt liabilities, and other obligations. Don’t hide your purchases from your spouse. Don’t keep hidden bank accounts. If you don’t discuss such things, you can never truly develop a strong foundation from which to build on. Tell the truth and be open when it comes to money. 

If you both are open about your financial struggles, you can put your heads together to find a strategy to address them. Struggles could include:

Since both people have disclosed personal money-related information, it can make each of you feel less vulnerable and create a more level playing field when you put it all out there. Both people may feel an emotional connection by opening up with personal and private information.

Create a financial plan

Both partners should look at the joint financial picture in black and white. How much Money do you have coming in each month? What debts do You have? What are your major expenses? Have you started saving?

Who currently manages the budget, pays the bills, or organizes the finances in your household? Many individuals wrongfully assume the other party in the relationship is willing or able to handle all these responsibilities. It doesn’t matter who manages these tasks or how you divide the duties. What  matters is that do it.

Once you have created a Financial Budget and a way to pay off debts, set dates to track how you are doing.

Establish Goals Together

What goals do you have for your future? Perhaps you’d like to travel, change careers, start a business, own a new home, continue your education, or start a family. Whatever your dreams are, be sure to establish a financial plan for them with your partner. Use one of your money dates to jot down some goals and ensure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Money goals could include saving for:

  • A home
  • Retirement
  • Home renovations
  • A new car
  • A cruise
  • Emergencies

Whatever your goals are, they start with an open conversation and a solid plan. 

Set Regular Money dates

Schedule a “money date” once or twice a month to discuss your financial situation, review your budget, and discuss upcoming priorities. You should pleasantly surprised at your progress toward realizing your goals. By taking an hour here and there to check your progress and proactively address potential issues, you are building a solid marital bond to last a lifetime. 

Posted 4/30/2022

Don’t Let Excessive Spending On Your Children Unravel Your Marriage

Don’t Let Excessive Spending On Your Children Unravel Your Marriage

Having children is one of the biggest joys in a couple’s life. Long before that bundle of joy comes into the world…the spending begins. Nursery decorating can be such a bonding experience for a young couple as they pick out paint colors, furniture, blankets, sheets, mobiles, baby monitors, clothing, car seats, bath accessories, etc. While children bring many happy moments of love, they also require a long-list of child-related expenses. Out of control child-related spending can unravel even the best of marriages.

According to a U.S. News & World Report, the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 in the U.S. in 2021 was $267,000, or more than $14,800 per year. Every parent wants their child to have the best of everything. However, some can go completely over the top in buying their child the newest and latest toys and clothes, hosting the best celebrations, and insisting on the top of the line everything for their child. Before you know it, you are overextended and stressed out over how to pay the stack of credit card bills. The average American family had $6,270 in     credit card debt in 2021.  

Credit cards, loans, buy now and pay later deals are NOT free money! Eventually, those cards, loans, and deals will come due, and you will need to come up with the money to pay them off.    A recent survey of Certified Divorce Financial Analysts revealed that 22% of marriages end in divorce because of money issues. The good news is that there are steps you can take now to get out from under that debt and get your family spending under control.

Before any financial plan can be made to get out of debt, you will both need to be willing to do some work to understand where you want to be, where you are, and how you got there.  

  1. Make a Financial Date.

Make a date with your spouse to discuss the family finances and financial goals. Approach the matter in a positive light.

Honey, I feel like we have not really determined our long-term goals for ourselves and our family. I would like to set aside some time to talk about our future. What is a good day, time for us to do that?

Notice that there is no anger in this statement. There is no blame. There is no pushiness or nagging. You married you spouse because you love them and want to spend the rest of your life with them. Now that you are married and have children, you simply want to discuss your future together. To do that, you need to start the discussion with “where do you want to go?”

  1. Remember and Share Your Dreams.

Remember when you were dating? I will bet that you spend hours talking about what you each wanted to do with your lives. Did you want to get an advanced degree? Did you want a house in the country or the city? Did you imagine beautiful family vacations in the mountains, or at the beach? What do you think your retirement will look like? 

Spend some time talking about the things you really want out of your lives and write them down. By sharing goals, you are identifying the things that you feel are worth working and saving toward. Agree to have another financial date to talk about how you feel about money and set that date.

  1. Identify Your Financial Personality

In your next financial date, each of you should try to identify how you feel about money. Many marital fights about money occur because both spouses have completely opposite views about money. One spouse may spend for quality items without giving much thought to the budget or future goals. The other spouse may rein in their wants, try to control the budget, and focus on saving money for the future. 

The saver might feel resentment over the effects of the uncontrolled spending of the spending spouse. The spender might be exasperated with the saving spouse’s constant nagging and lack of appreciation for the finer things of life for their children.  Which one are you? Discuss how you feel with your spouse calmly and without anger. Agree to have another financial date to determine the state of your own finances.

  1. Find out what your financial status is.

You will each need to prepare ahead for this next financial date. Each spouse needs to make a list of their sources of income such as paychecks, alimony checks, investment dividends, or other. One spouse needs to gather the last 6 months of bank statements and the check register or online banking transaction register.  The other spouse should gather the last 6 months of investment or savings account statements. Print off this simple budgeting sheet or copy it onto a piece of paper.

When you sit down for your next financial date, together you will fill out the budgeting worksheet by listing all your income and expenses and subtracting the total expenses from your total income.  You now both now exactly where you stand financially and can discuss your feelings about it. Please do not “blame” or react in anger because they will only drive a wedge between you and your spouse. Instead focus on whether you suspected the results of the budgeting exercise or were surprised by it. How do the results affect your long-term goals? Agree to have another financial date to talk about how you can change those results by reducing expenses.

Every married couple must learn to work together continuously to solve their problems. Money problems are some of the biggest problems you will face. The key is to learn to face your problems together as a team and learn to communicate with each other about the “hard stuff.”  While you want to solve the issue, you also want to preserve the bond of love and happiness in your marriage. Get started on the road to a stronger relationship with a free trial to some of the best exercises and tools used by professional marriage counselors.

Posted 4/20/2022

Does Your Spouse Use Money As A Power Play In Your Marriage?

Does Your Spouse Use Money As A Power Play In Your Marriage?

Money problems in marriage arise from imbalances in power, decision-making, and transparency. They often happen when spouses have a large inequity in their earning power. The spouse with the most income or wealth often expects to dictate the family’s spending priorities.

Power plays can occur in one of these instances:

  1. One partner has a paid job, and the other doesn't.
  2. Both partners would like to be working, but one is unemployed.
  3. One spouse earns considerably more than the other.
  4. One partner comes from a family that has money and the other doesn't.

When one or more of these situations is present, the spouse who makes or has the most money often wants to dictate and control the couple's spending. The power control can manifest itself in numerous ways that are destructive to the relationship.

  • One Spouse controls all the finances, doling out money to the other spouse only after being convinced that it’s use is sensible. In marriage, one spouse dominating another does not usually lead to a loving and intimate relationship.
  • One Spouse makes all the financial decisions without consulting the other spouse. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership. If one spouse controls the decision making, the other spouse has no voice in the marriage.
  • One Spouse balances the checkbook, invests the family’s money, and controls the checkbook and safety deposit box. One spouse could conceivably make bad investments, overextend the family in debt, or make large withdrawals for purchases the other spouse would not approve of.

Few things build resentment more quickly than feeling marginalized, powerless, and kept in the dark by your spouse. Power play issues can get ugly fast and are a predictor of divorce. Some studies also indicate that infidelity is correlated with disparity in earning power.

Income and resource disparities are de-stabilizing for couples. Resentment and fights about money seep into every aspect of your married life. It divides you, breaks down the trust in your relationship, prevents intimacy, and can negatively affect your health.

How to End the Money Power Play

  1. Have an open and frank discussion about your feelings about how the family finances are managed.

No problem can be resolved if you both do not communicate and address the problem. Each of you has a perspective on your finances and you need to get that out in the open. Approach the discussion with an “I” statement rather than a “You” statement.

I feel that I do not have much input into….

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.

Have empathy for your spouse.

If you are the larger income earner or the wealthier of spouses, you need to be sensitive about how you throw your weight around. Try to reverse roles and imagine how you would feel in your spouse’s shoes.

Share a joint bank account that each has access to.

Relieve financial stress and resentment in your marriage by being open about your spending and the amounts in your financial accounts. You are building your finances to prepare for a happy lifetime together, so both should be part of that building.

Make important spending decisions together.

Many spouses set a spending threshold, say $200.00, that require both to talk about before spending that amount or above. It is a way of keeping your finances on track and trusting your partner.

Sometimes the higher-earning spouse will delegate all the routine spending decisions to their lower-earning, or non-earning partners. This is a way of showing respect for your spouse and assuring them a role in decision making.

Build a Future Vision for Your Finances Together

Talking about your dreams for the future can help take the animosity out of dealing with your money. It also gives you a reason to do budget checkups regularly so you can each see your progress toward your goals.

Honey, remember we are saving up for a house, so is this really a good time for that purchase?

Oh, sweetie, we almost have enough for a down payment!

Working through your financial issues in a healthy way preserves the love in your relationship. It takes a lot of security and maturity to give up power, but if have an abundance of trust in your partner, it can work for you. Sharing power fosters a sense of togetherness and increases the intimacy bond in your marriage.

Posted 4/13/2022

Can You Reconcile Your Financial Issues in Your Marriage?

One of the biggest financial issues that can negatively impact a marriage is how each spouse handles and views money.  Each spouse may have different views of money, one spouse may primarily seek to save money for a rainy day, and another could have a spending fetish.

It’s very difficult for partners who view money, saving, and spending in fundamentally conflicting ways to manage household finances successfully as a team. This type of conflict will typically raise trust and intimacy issues in the relationship. After your last fight over money with your spouse, did you spend time kissing, cuddling, and getting passionate? Probably not. Money issues can eventually cause resentment and a lack of desire for intimacy, paralyzing your relationship.

Two big issues that can destroy a marriage are:

  1. Who does the money belong to?

Very few people talk about finances before they are married, so it is easy to get into problems when each spouse has a different view of who us entitled to the marital money. Some spouses pool their money into a joint account and treat it as a joint asset by splitting expenses down the middle. However, in another marriage, one spouse may believe that since they bring in the lion’s share of the earnings, the money belongs to them. In that case, they may become controlling and insist on keeping track of the finances themselves and require the other spouse to seek their approval before spending any money.

  1. How’s your credit?

One spouse may be perfectly comfortable using credit cards and taking out loans. Another spouse may be very wary of using credit. Do you know your partner’s credit score? knowing your partner’s credit score provides some insight into your partner’s past financial decisions. Money is a common source of stress in a marriage, so it is helpful to know how your partner has handled money in the past. It is not unusual for a spouse to find out after the marriage that their wife or husband has a run up a lot of debt and has a poor credit score.

While marriage does not automatically make one spouse responsible for another spouse’s debts, it can cause problems for the future. If you jointly apply for a credit card or a loan to purchase a house or car, the lender will consider both credit scores and, chances are, the poor credit score will result in higher interest rates and fees than if both credit scores were high. 

How to Reconcile Financial Issues in Your Marriage

Financial compatibility is rarely discussed before a couple makes a long-term commitment.

However, money issues are one of the top 5 reasons for divorce. Here are three steps to take to begin reconciling your financial issues.

Don’t Play the Blame Game.

Many partners, rather than working together, start to place blame on the other person. This creates discord and resentment in the relationship. It will be impossible to fix your financial issues if you are bickering, blaming, and fighting.

Gently break the ice on a conversation with your spouse about money.

Talking about money is stressful for most people. It makes them uncomfortable and defensive. To minimize and prevent “money fights”, start off trying to understand each other’s financial priorities and dreams for your future together.

  • What two dreams do you have for our life together?
  • What dreams do you have for your own future?
  • If you could splurge on one thing, what would it be?

Talk openly about ideas to make your dreams come true.

Once you have some positive dreams to work toward, you can talk about how you’ll get there. You and your partner need to agree to review your current finances together and make a specific plan to save for your future together.

  • Do you know how much money you have?
  • Do you know how much money you owe?
  • What do you do with any excess left over?

Commit to meet and communicate regularly about your finances.

Working together and communicating openly about how to use, keep track of, and manage your money will help you avoid the “money fights.”

  • How can we pay down our debt and curb expenses?
  • How will we keep track of our money?
  • Do we know how to invest our money to make it grow for the future?

As you plan regularly and share your dreams, you will be strengthening the bond of your marriage and enjoy the priceless love in your marriage.

Posted 4/6/2022

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