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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.

12 Ways to Calm Marital Stress

Stress from work, family, money, and health can make the daily bumps in the road feel like a rollercoaster ride in a relationship. In marriages, stress is a leading cause of interpersonal tension and dysfunctional relationships. How can you help your marriage stay healthy and meaningful in today’s high-stress, fast-paced environment?

Here are 15 things to do to reduce stress in your marriage:

  1. Always put your marriage first.

Time with your spouse shouldn’t be an afterthought. Your relationship with your spouse should come before all other priorities and schedules. As you age in life, your co-workers, neighbors, friends, and acquaintances will come and go. Your spouse is the one you chose to have and to hold until death.

  1. Replace ‘I’ with ‘we’

Marriage involves two people blending their lives together and becoming one. Be aware that everything you do reflects on your spouse. You are a team, so communication, honesty, respect, and openness are critical to the success of your marriage.

  1. Talk with your Spouse daily.

In relationships it’s all about communication. Communication is not all pleasant conversation and agreeing with one another. Many misunderstandings and fights occur because one spouse did not take the time to sit down and talk to their spouse about what is going on. Make it a point to set aside time each day to sit down and share the good and the bad about your day.

  1. Provide a listening ear.

Partners need to open their ears and listen to what their spouse is saying. Your partner may be trying to convey an important message, experience, or just need your love and attention. Give them your full attention and hear what they are saying. 

  1. Enjoy Sex Often.

Having sex releases feel-good hormones that reduce stress. Intimacy calms you down and allows you to bond with your spouse.  

  1. Demonstrate your affection for your spouse regularly.

Physical contact is a proven stress reliever. Hugs and kisses go a long way in staying connected with your spouse. Snuggle up on the couch to watch TV. Reach out and take your spouse’s hand while walking. Kiss your husband or wife good morning and good night.  

  1. Live within your means.

Money problems are a leading cause of stress in American marriages. Most of the stuff we get into debt over is simply not worth the aggravation. Make a budget together and stick to it.

  1. Have fun together.

Laughing, playing, and enjoying every moment you have together is great relationship medicine.

  1. Don’t waste energy arguing over small stuff.

Arguments are often spurred by minor disagreements that aren’t problems. Usually, they represent bigger issues. Try to look beyond the surface, talk it out, and identify the issues deeper down in your relationship. Remind yourselves what really counts.

  1. Know when to leave it at the door

Bringing stress that is rooted in friendships, work, school, etc. into the relationship can create a spill-over effect that creates or worsens relationship problems. recognize this and don’t take it out on your partner.  

  1. Be supportive of your spouse.

Criticism always leads to more stress. Playing to your spouse’s strengths works better than focusing on any weaknesses. Be supportive and build them, affirm, and encourage your spouse.

  1. Nurture Yours and Your Spouse’s Friendship

Research has shown that couples that have a great friendship have a higher percentage overall of marital satisfaction. Friends treat each other with respect and support each other through good and bad times. Friends look forward to spending time together and genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

Maintaining and growing love in today’s stressful world consists of decisions. It’s a matter of daily choices. You must decide to tune out the stress and choose your partner every day with your head, your heart, and your actions to make your marriage work.

Posted 6/29/2022

Are the Pressures of Parenting Ruining your Marriage?

The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion in the majority of couple’s lives. However, most couples are unprepared for the demands of parenting. Every waking hour is spent feeding, changing, and tending to the needs of the baby. Parenting is challenging on your body and mind because you don’t have time to get proper sleep, eat healthy meals, exercise, socialize, or focus on keeping the home fires burning. Approximately two-thirds of couples see the quality of their relationship decline within three years of the birth of a child.

As children get older, the demands change to overseeing homework, and taking children to and from sports, ballet, music lessons, school functions, etc. You spend so much time taking care of their needs that it is easy to neglect your own. Yours and your partner’s needs take a backseat to the children. Don’t let the stress of parenthood destroy your marriage!

Get the proper amount of sleep.

Experts say that your body needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day to function at its best. When you don’t get enough sleep, you are sluggish, irritable, and less effective. It will take you twice as long to do things, you are likely to make more mistakes, and you’re prone to getting into arguments without proper rest. Set a bedtime and stick to it. Since it can take a while for your mind to calm down enough to sleep, start setting the stage for bedtime by turning off the technology at least an hour before bedtime.

Share the workload.

Parenting and taking care of the household is tough to do alone. In today’s world, both parents may work outside the home or in a home office, or one may work while the other takes care of the household. Either way, both partners need to share the responsibility for the children and the household. AS an example, one partner may decide to take care of the cooking, laundry, and daytime childcare. The other partner may agree to take care of the outdoor maintenance, garbage, and nighttime childcare. Both of you may decide to share the household cleaning once per week. Carve out some time to sit and talk and come up with an equitable division that plays to your strengths.

Plan your calendar wisely.

There are so many competing demands for your time, that you need to become very protective of your time as a family and as partners. Don’t pack your calendar so tightly with activities and events that you neglect to leave time for yourself, your family time, and your marriage. Learn to say no to invitations for friends and relatives that take up too much time. If your kid’s activities are packing the daily schedule to tightly, learn to limit the activities. Schedule a block of time for yourself every day to exercise and just unwind. Your partner should do the same. Planning helps control the chaos and reduce the stress.

Prioritize your time with your spouse.

You need to make time to enjoy being with your spouse. This is the glue that holds your marriage together. Set aside time each day to sit alone together and talk about you and your marriage. This is not time to discuss your obligations, vent or spend time on your cellphones. This is time to enjoy getting to know each other better by communicating.  Every marriage needs time for intimacy and romance. Schedule a date night once a week and treat that time as sacred. Get a babysitter and go out or put the kids to bed and have a quiet evening in.

Removing the stress from a marriage with children takes both of you planning and working together. The rewards, however, are worth the effort. Your kids will have parents that are fully there, you and your spouse will enjoy your family and your relationship, and you each can breathe a sigh of relief.

Posted 6/15/2022

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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