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Establish Boundaries To Protect Your Marriage

When you agreed to marry, you both decided that you loved each so much that you wanted to spend the rest of your lives with each other. By repeating your marriage vows, you agreed to love each other unconditionally and bond yourselves together as man and wife. To ensure your marriage remains healthy, you both need to do what is necessary to protect that bond between you.

Each partner has parents and relatives, friends of the same sex and of the opposite sex, and co-workers that they spend time with and talk to. How you handle relatives, friends and co-workers can either enhance your marriage relationship or hurt it.

  • How would your spouse feel about you talking to your parents about something you both have not discussed yet?
  • Do you think your spouse would react well to a social media post of you and an old flame having lunch at a restaurant?
  • Is your spouse okay with you choosing to go out with friends rather than stay home with them?
  • Would your spouse be understanding If you stay late at work with a co-worker of the opposite sex?

To protect the bond between you and your spouse, boundaries are important.  Boundaries are the key to keeping your marriage healthy. Here are some boundaries you and your spouse should discuss create plan for to protect you from danger.

Boundaries with Extended Family

While some extended family members can be helpful and supportive, others can be overly critical or difficult to get along with, which can create stress in your marriage. 

Create ground rules that will help you build a healthy relationship with your in-laws and extended family.

  1. Never throw your spouse under the bus. If you receive an invitation from a family member, agree to tell them you need to check with your spouse to make sure that date is available rather than just accept or decline.
  2. Never allow extended family to trash talk your spouse. You and your spouse are a team, and you need to support each other. You both need to agree to politely ask family members to be respectful of your relationship with your spouse.
  3. Never discuss private marriage matters with your family. You may be mad at your spouse and call your sister to vent. DON’T. When you are over your anger and you and your spouse have made up, your sister will still be thinking about the J_ _ K you married.

Boundaries with Friends

Everyone needs friends they can pal around with and talk to about life’s ups and downs. However, sometimes friendships can raise a red flag to a spouse or create a division between you and your spouse. You and your spouse should sit down and discuss how you can both create healthy balance between friends and your marriage.

  1. Don’t air your dirty laundry to your friends. Avoid talking outside your relationship about issues you and your spouse haven’t discussed together.
  2. Don’t spend too much time with friends of the opposite sex. Spending too much time with an opposite-sex friend can endanger the health of your marriage. While there may be nothing untoward going on, why insert jealousy and distrust in your marriage?
  3. Don’t choose your friends over your spouse. While outings with the guys or nights out with the girls are fun every now and then, agree not to make them a regular habit. You and your spouse need time together to bond as well.

Boundaries with Co-workers and Superiors

Relationships with co-workers can often be difficult to navigate. You spend a lot of time a work and often develop close friendships with people you work with. Superiors will ask you to stay late or come in early or perhaps work on a weekend to get projects completed. You and your spouse need to develop a plan to handle your co-workers and superiors so that their demands do not interfere with your marriage.

  1. Avoid talking about private marital issues with co-workers. Leave your private matters and home and your work issues at work.
  2. Avoid staying late to work with co-workers or superiors of the opposite sex. Spending too much time after hours at work can blur the boundaries between working relationships and intimate relationships. Avoid that temptation and spend your after hours with your spouse.
  3. Avoid giving up your free time to please your boss. Ambition is admirable, but you need to make your marriage a priority.

Posted 5/12/2021

Marriage is Two People Sharing their Lives and their Money

Money related conflicts are the most frequently cited reason for divorce. Money is the thing most couples argue about. It really is no surprise that money often divides a couple. Before a couple gets married, they have usually talked about everything except money. When they get married, they really don’t know much about each other’s views about money.

Different views of spending and saving

In a study by the American Psychological Association, 47% of respondents said they and their partner had different saving and spending habits. One partner may be an avid saver, while the other may enjoy spending on the finer things of life. The spender may feel that his or her partner is constantly nagging and cheap, while the saver may feel vulnerable to the effects of overindulging. If you are committed to your relationship, you and your partner need to have an honest conversation about your finances, spending habits, saving habits, financial goals, and anxieties about finances. Once your finances are out in the open, you can both begin working out a spending and savings plan.

Hiding Transactions from your partner

In the same study, 36% of partners in a relationship do not consult their spouse about purchases, even large purchases.  Six percent said they have secret accounts or credit cards. Hiding purchases from your partner is a form of infidelity. You need to be transparent about your finances with your spouse.

Debt needs to be repaid before real financial planning can begin

Many couples come into a marriage with financial baggage like high credit card debt or big student loans. If one partner has more debt than the other , this can become a significant issue in a marriage. Generally, debts that are brought into a marriage stay with the person that incurred them. Debts incurred after marriage are owed by both spouses.

It does not do any good to try to hide your debt from your spouse because it will eventually come out in the open. It is best to just lay all of your cards on the table , the good with the bad.

Either way, before you can really start building a nest egg together, big debts need to be paid off.  Some couples are comfortable tackling this debt together, while others prefer separate accounts to handle that debt.

Money shouldn’t be a source of power

When one partner has a paid job and the other doesn't; or when both partners would like to be working but one is unemployed; or  when one spouse earns considerably more than the other; or when one partner comes from a family that has money and the other doesn't, , the one with the most money often wants to dictate the couple's spending priorities. Money should not be used as a means to control your partner. It also shouldn’t be a measuring stick, such as “I make more than you do so I decide how we spend our money.”  Your marriage is a partnership, so each of you should share in the spending and saving decisions.

How to identify shared financial goals

Setting financial goals as a couple doesn't mean you have to give up all of your own goals. Try to find your shared vision choosing goals that make that vision a reality while also including individual goals along the way. This helps make each partner feel like an equal in the process. 

  • Goals should help achieve the vision you and your spouse have for your life together. Make your goals actionable and attainable .
  • Your strategy for reaching financial goals begins with the money you have left after covering the necessities. Together you should decide how to divvy up the remaining money between your discretionary spending needs and your goals.
  • Set up regular "meetings" to see where you stand. At each meeting, discuss the progress you've made and reassess your financial situation.

How to share the management of your money

Trust, and positive perceptions of how the other partner is doing financially, play a huge role in whether couples decide to merge finances. Most couples pool their monies together and track it with a budget.

However, where a couple is in life also plays a role in finances. Couples who marry late in life or couples who have children from a previous marriage may not be completely comfortable merging finances completely. They may decide to set up a joint account for items that are paid jointly like mortgage, utilities etc. Then, they would keep separate accounts for those items paid solely for them such as a child’s tuition or their business expenses.

Whatever method you decide to use to manage your finances, you still need to be transparent with each other about your finances. You should plan a time to sit down together every week or couple of weeks to discuss your finances, what is coming up that you need to plan for, financial goals, and issues you are having with finances

Money is a tool that can help you both do the things in life that you want to do together.  Try to take the influence of money out of your relationship. The money you have together should be planned for, managed, budget for, and spent together.

Posted 4/7/2021

Every Marriage Needs Healthy Boundaries

The presence of healthy boundaries in romantic relationships greatly reduces the tendency to blame your partner. Blame is almost always a maneuver to deflect ownership of a problem. When you take responsibility for your part in the misunderstanding, conflict, or harsh treatment and your partner is willing to take responsibility for their part, resolution of the problem becomes much easier. 

Establishing Healthy boundaries help define which responsibilities in the marriage are yours and which are your partners to protect your marriage.

Boundary #1: Don’t Emotionally Shut Out Your Spouse.

We shouldn’t avoid our spouse and emotionally shut them out of our life. When we do this, we break down the intimacy and leave ourselves and our spouse open to forming unhealthy habits and the temptation to seek connection outside the marriage.

We must always be willing to talk to our spouse regardless of whether or not we feel like it. We make eye contact and connect with him/her because we love and respect our spouse. The more we emotionally connect, the stronger, healthier, and happier our marriage will be.

Boundary #2: Don’t Withhold Sex to Punish Your Spouse.

Sex is an important part of marriage, and it is an amazing way to connect to our spouse . Even so, some spouses use sex as a bargaining chip or punishment in their marriage, and this is extremely detrimental to the relationship. I

A husband and wife shouldn’t withhold sex from one another r(unless it is for health issues, of course). We should strive to keep sex a priority and have it as frequently as possible to stay connected to our spouse and to meet one another’s sexual needs.

Boundary #3: Don’t Speak Negatively About Your Spouse to Other People

If we have a problem with one another, we need to address the problem directly. Nothing good will come from us going to our friends and family about a problem that we really need to take up with our spouse. Our parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles don’t need to know the details of every disagreement we have with our spouse.

Marriage is hard enough without extended family drama, so we certainly don’t need to add to the problem. We must be mindful of our tone and words.

Boundary #4: Don’t Keep Secrets from Your Spouse.

There should be no barricade between husband and wife. Everything that you hide is a brick that we add to a “barricade of secrets” between us and our spouse. There should be no hidden money, friends, texts, emails, letters, jobs, purchases, phone calls, phones, social media exchanges, social media accounts, health issues, trips, outings, lunches, dinners, etc.

As husband and wife, we long to fully know and be known by one another. This longing will not be fulfilled if we keep secrets. When we keep secrets of any kind from each other, we limit the amount of intimacy we can experience with one another

Boundary #5: Never raise your voice in anger to your spouse.

Every married couple is going to disagree at some point, and we might argue at times. It is good to go ahead and talk through a disagreement than to hold it inside and let it fester. However, it is never okay to speak in a nasty tone, use harsh language, or scream and shout at each other. This is being verbally abusive, and it’s hard to forget hateful things that are said to us.

A marriage certificate is not a license to verbally abuse your spouse. In fact, we made a promise to love our spouse through good and the bad times. Screaming and shouting obscenities at each other is certainly not loving one another. We must always approach a disagreement with our spouse as calmly and lovingly as possible.

If you both observe these healthy boundaries in your marriage, you will be building a strong marriage that stands the test of time.

Posted 3/17/2021

Do You Remember Your Marriage Vows?

No matter what culture or religion you come from, when two partners unite in marriage, they make a vow to each other. Your marriage vows carry much more weight than just words. It is a shame how many say the words without really understanding what those vows mean for their marital life together.

Vows are special words that will unite you and they represent your commitment to one another. They express how the couple intend to relate to each other, how they intend to navigate the path of life together, and what meaning they intend to give to their marriage.

Do you take [name] to be your lawful wedded wife/husband?"

Out of all of the people you have dated, you have made the deliberate choice to commit to this person to spend the rest of your life with. You chose this person to be your partner because you love what you know of them and look forward to getting to know them deeper.

Several years down the line, when you are looking at your spouse doing something you’ve told him or her a million times not to do, remember all the wonderful reasons that you chose him or her as your life partner.

"Do you promise to love and cherish [her/him], in sickness and in health?

There are no guarantees in life. We do not know what the future holds. Should your partner become ill, disabled, or suffer dementia, you have promised to care for and protect them in sickness and in health.

You and your partner are promising to provide a healthy relationship, where each partner is respected for who they are, accepting the differences and encouraging the individuality. You both care committing to allow and encourage the other to become who they truly are without restricting them and without attempting to conform them to your expectations, desires and preconceptions.

"Do you promise to love and cherish [her/him], for richer and poorer?

Every partner wants their spouse to do well and excel, but they may not always be ready for the longer working hours and maybe late nights that it requires to get to that point. 

If your partner fails in a venture, you promise to cherish them ,which literally means to “build them up.” Each person will become a better person because of the love and support of the other.

On the other hand, financial pressures can put a huge strain on a marriage. If the two of you struggle to make ends meet with both salaries combined, you are promising that you will be there for each other, to work together to make it work.

"Do you promise to love and cherish [her/him], for better for worse?

We cannot enter marriage with the hope that everything will get better, because then the question becomes what if it doesn’t get better? It means that even when things get worse, you will still choose to love your partner.  You promise to love each other through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles you may face together.

In times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph, you commit  to hold your partner as a precious treasure, to comfort and encourage them.  and nourish  

This pledge to nurture each other is the foundation of your marriage that builds the trust in each other that allow you and your partner to give and receive deep emotional intimacy.

"Do you promise to love and cherish [her/him], forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her/him?

You promise to love, cherish and respect your partner. You are promising to give yourself to each other as a faithful husband, wife, or spouse, no matter what. You are reserving yourself for intimate relations only with our spouse. You are trusting your heart to them and promising to take care of their heart.

In forsaking all others, you are also committing to not just be there for that person but to support them in whatever needs they may have. You are committing to make this person come first and to always put this person before another’s needs.

"Do you promise to love and cherish [her/him], for so long as you both shall live?"

 When you enter this marriage, it is a lifetime commitment. It means that even when everything goes wrong, you will still be there. I You promise to treasure your marriage and  your partner more each day than you did the day before. You will trust each other,  respect each other, laugh together, cry together and grow old with your spouse throughout all the seasons of life.

 

Posted 3/10/2021

Fun Family Vacations During Coronavirus Are Possible

After months of sheltering in place, couples and families need a break from the stress and strain of working and living under COVID-19. It is mid-summer and families everywhere are weighing the risks of taking a family vacation during COViD-19. Crowded beaches are not a wise choice, and traveling by air, especially internationally, has serious restrictions in place.

There are a few types of vacations that offer a safer, more isolated environment and a better chance of avoiding coming in contact with the coronavirus.

 

  1. Rent a house in an isolated beach or wooded area.

Renting a whole house via platforms like Airbnb and VRBO means you won't be encountering other guests or staff during your stay as you might in a hotel.

 

Safety tip: Even if the home appears to be clean, wiping down any "high touch" areas with a disinfectant is a good idea. This includes things like counters, light switches, and doorknobs.

If you venture out in public, continue to wear masks and maintain social distancing. 

  1. Plan a camping road trip.

If you need to get out of town, a road trip is a great way to see the sites from the safety of your vehicle. Choose well-known campgrounds that have re-opened and have thoroughly sanitized facilities.

Safety tips:

When you need to make rest stops, choose larger, well known chains or state-run facilities whenever possible, "which have adopted aggressive cleaning and sanitization protocols.”

Wear gloves to pump gas or use the rest room facilities and discard them before getting back in the car.

  1. Rent an RV or camper

Rent an RV or camper, which combines the self-contained lodging of a vacation rental with the sightseeing possibilities of a road trip.

Safety tips: Inspect the RV or camper thoroughly and wipe down all surfaces with a disinfectant wipe. Use your own linens on bed areas.

  1. Take a virtual vacation

If you live in an area with a stay-at-home order in place, or you're just hesitant to be out and about right now, take a getaway from the privacy of your home. World famous sites from London's Tower Bridge to Egypt's pyramids are offering free virtual tours online. Museums, zoos and aquariums are providing virtual guided tours or streaming animal cams.

Posted 7/22/2020

3 Ways To Manage Your Family’s Stress During Covid-19

After months of social distancing for COVID-19, families are still spending less time with others as the pandemic continues. Summer plans like group picnics, family reunions, festivals, long vacations can leave the family feeling disconnected to the world and disappointed. With friends and social outings limited, parents and children can react to stress with bad moods, poor behavior, and bad habits.

Here are three ways to brighten the mood and keep your family happy.

  1. Maintain a daily routine.

It is important to maintain bedtime, bath time, and other routines. Routines create a sense of order to the day that offers reassurance in a very uncertain time.

With the usual routines thrown off due to COVID -19, create new daily schedules. Older children and teens can help create schedules, but they should follow a logical order, such as:

  • Wake-up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and some active play in the morning, followed by quiet play and snack to transition into schoolwork or an activity.
  • Lunch, chores, exercise, online social time with friends, and homework in the afternoon.
  • Family time & reading before bed.
  1. Deal with poor behavior positively.

Everyone in the family is more likely to be anxious and worried during the pandemic. Young children may not have the words to describe their feelings. Older children and teens may be irritable as they miss out on time with friends and special events have been canceled. They are more likely to act out their stress, anxiety, or fear through their behavior. Bad behavior puts stress on the parents and other siblings.

Reinforce good behaviors and discourage bad behavior. Pay attention to good behavior and point it out, praising success and good tries. Redirect bad behavior by finding something else for children or teens to do or removing them for the situation for a while.

  1. Get out of the house.

Just because we are social distancing, doesn’t mean you can’t go outdoors. Sunshine, fresh air, and exercise can brighten everyone’s mood. Try to spend at least an hour outdoors each day. Play outdoor games, do some outdoor yoga, go for a walk, set up the sprinkler or wading pool, or have a family barbecue.

With a little pro-active planning and positive attitudes, you, your spouse, and your family will manage just fine during COVID-19.

Posted 7/14/2020

5 Tips To Help Your Marriage Survive Covid-19

We are five months into the coronavirus pandemic, and the number of cases is still rising. What started as what was expected to be a short, temporary crisis has been extended indefinitely. During this time tensions will rise, tempers can flare, and you’ll get on each other’s last nerve. The time together initially seemed like a blessing, but the extra time has created more opportunities for misunderstanding and dysfunctional interaction. For husbands and wives with previous relational struggles, those issues may become magnified.

While we can’t control the coronavirus and our current circumstances, we can take control and change our response to what’s happening around us. Here are five tips to help your marriage survive and thrive during COVID-19 and beyond.

  1. Positive Self-Talk. Change the self-talk in your head and the way you think about your marriage. If you think your marriage is good with some challenges, you will be more likely to believe you can survive this crisis together.
  1. Don’t take your spouse for granted. Take ten minutes each day to checkup with your spouse. Asking and responding validates and supports each partner and sends a message of caring.
  1. Make time for affection. Social distancing doesn’t apply to your marriage unless you have tested positive for the virus. Make time to connect and be warm and affectionate. Hug and kiss each other in the morning when you wake up. Do it again before you go to sleep at night or even in the middle of the day. This habit will help relieve tension and connect you emotionally. 
  1. Carve out some personal time each day.  Take 20 to 30 minutes of “me” time every day for your relationship’s health and well-being. 
  1. Pause & Choose. When tension rise, pause and breathe deep. Taking deep breaths will slow the heart rate, relax the body, and allow the brain to think more clearly. Choose a response to an issue or remark that will create a safe space and foster harmony in your relationship.

Posted 7/8/2020

Should You and Your Spouse have Separate Finances?

The American Dream is to find the love of your life, marry, pool everything you own as the two become one and live happily ever after. Alas, every marriage is not the American Dream. The love of you life may be a terrible money manager, owe a mountain of debt, or be a financial control freak. More and more couples are deciding that, while they love each other, joint accounts and finances are not for them.

Why Separate Finances Makes Sense for Some Couples

The rate of dual-income households has been steadily on the rise and the absence of a dedicated homemaker relieves the need to merge finances since both partners have personal streams of income. 

More people are getting married later in life, meaning by the time many settle down with a spouse, their spending habits are deeply seated and individualized. Separate accounts eliminates have to seek permission for purchases and allows for independent choice.

Many previously divorced couples opt for keeping their finances separate because they may have been burned in their previous relationship. Their Ex may have left them with no money and a pile of debt. Maintaining separate accounts provides a sense of security and harmony in the relationship.

How to Make Separate Accounts Work in a Relationship

  1. Define Responsibilities. Divvy up expenses so everyone involved is aware of what they need to take care of. For example, one person may make the mortgage payment, while the other takes care of all the utilities and childcare bills.
  1. Create a Bill Paying system. Agree upon an administrative system for paying joint bills. This could include, for example, picking a particular date each month to transfer a set amount into a joint account that the couple subsequently uses for those monthly joint expenses like rent, groceries, utilities, and childcare.
  1. Account for differences in income. One spouse may make more money than the other, so it would be more equitable to divide your shared expenses according to a percentage of your incomes. So if one partner makes twice as much as the other, one would pay 1/3 of the shared costs while the other pays 2/3.”
  1. Communication is Essential. Having separate bank accounts doesn’t mean you should feel free to buy whatever or hide financial difficulties. Don’t keep financial secrets from your spouse. Talk about any personal situations that may cause you not to be able to meet your share of the expenses. Agree to discuss any major purchase over a certain amount.
  1. Monthly Check In. As a couple you will still have goals to save or invest for certain things such as a house, a big vacation etc. Additionally, you both will want the peace of mind knowing that all of the bills are paid. Sit down once a month and go over where you are in your bills and financial goals to make sure you on track.

Separate finances might provide each spouse some financial independence and may eliminate most financial arguments. Joint finances may allow each partner compete transparency and commitment to do it together. However you decide to manager you r finances, it takes a lot of up front planning and communication to get it right. The important thing is to find a system that both of you agreed upon, works for both of you, and supports a harmonious relationship.

Posted 5/15/2020

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