Love in Marriage is a Relatively New Idea

marriage

Love in Marriage is a Relatively New Idea

We think of love as the reason for marriage as a foregone conclusion. Historically speaking, that isn’t the case. Love in ancient Greece was thought of as a mental illness, as was it in Medieval Europe. In France in the Middle Ages it was thought to be cured with intercourse with the beloved or some other. Marriage on the other hand was to combine wealth and for political power. It was also to make children to work family farms. Parents would be shocked in those days if their children wanted to marry for love.

Physical attraction has always been a part of marriage. The world over and throughout history polygamy has been the most popular form of marriage. It even appears in the Bible with King Solomon and David who had many, many wives. In a certain culture in Tibet, the Na people have the women go to the next village to conceive. Then they raise the children with their brothers. The children don’t have any parents like we think of them. They are raised by the whole village. Like that African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Too much love within marriage was thought to poison throughout ancient and medieval times in the West. However with the American and French Revolutions we saw a change in mindset. People were concerned with their personal freedoms and the pursuit of their own happiness, as Jefferson so eloquently put it. Working for a salary instead of on the farm helped break marriage away from the economic sphere and to the sphere of the heart. Only in the middle of the nineteenth century did Americans begin marrying for love. They convinced themselves that it was the only reason to marry and that it had always been so.

The largest group to marry was the returning G.I.s and their Rosie the Riveter’s just after World War II. The men worked and the women stayed home to care for it and the children. Salaries rose for men. But a lot of women found it confining. Enter the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Women flooded the workforce. Soon we saw no fault divorces, the biggest years were between 1978 and 1980. 67% of divorces are filed by women. Today we are seeing vast changes. Some wonder if it is the end of marriage as we know it. But no one is tying the knot in America today, or at least not saying they are, without being in love. To learn more on this topic read, Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz.

Ways to Put your Finances Together

finances

Ways to Put your Finances Together

In the old days men generally took care of the finances, though in a few households the women took the money and paid the bills. Today, as partners, we are expected to each contribute our thoughts and feelings on the matter. People have different backgrounds and outlooks on how they deal with money. Some people realize that you only live once and money is to be enjoyed. Others understand that saving for the future and being frugal is paramount to success. Both outlooks are true. But it all depends on the kind of lifestyle you lead.

If a free spirit marries a skin-flint you’d better hold onto your hats. The arguments these two will have will be explosive. But talking about finances and ways to put them together, how to manage them, compromising, coming up with innovative strategies, and remembering shared goals are all a part of becoming life partners. It can still be difficult to navigate the uncharted waters of shared finances. There are lots of traps along that journey. But instead of falling for them take a look at these ways of putting your finances together. See if you can suggest one or two to your partner, move through the roughness and on to smooth sailing straight up ahead.

There is the equality approach. This is where both partners keep separate accounts but put money in for savings and the bills into one checking account. Both parties contribute an equal amount. Realize that a joint account means both people can put money in and take money out. There should be an explicit understanding of what that money is for and trust in one’s partner that they will handle their access to that account responsibly. If you aren’t getting married but cohabitating consider getting a cohabitation agreement to cover what may happen if you two break up. Further, separate leases could cause less grief should someone want to leave whilst both of you are on the lease.

When there are unequal incomes involved, a way of alleviating this problem is to allow both parties to contribute a percentage of their income, or what they can afford. Of course, if one person is a hedge fund manager and the other a kindergarten teacher and they live in a penthouse apartment, there’s no way the teacher could afford the rent. But who would want to give up that apartment? Instead, the educator can contribute what they would pay were s/he in a regular apartment. This gives the teacher their own independence. S/he is not reliant on the significant other for support. But it is also a sign of respect, in contributing his or her fair share. For more advice read, Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples by Matt Bell.

Financial Signs that your Date has Long Term Potential

finances

Financial Signs that your Date has Long Term Potential

TD Ameritrade and website Learnvest.com recently conducted a survey and found that most couples fight about money on average around five times per year. Other studies have shown that money is one of the most contentious issues for couples. It’s always the biggest issue in survey after survey that couples have to contend with. When dating someone if you happen to get to know how they handle their money and other financial issues, their dealings in these matters can exhibit character qualities that they possess. Someone who pays all of their bills on time for instance is conscientious, detail-oriented and responsible, whereas if they are irresponsible with money, or a total spendthrift, these qualities may weigh heavily on your relationship, of course depending upon who you are and what your financial situation and spending habits are. Certainly trustworthiness, chemistry, shared values and love all should inhabit a relationship. These are good qualities to have, especially for a long term romantic relationship. So what other financial signs should you look out for in your date to see if they have long term potential?

Many experts agree that it’s good for both of you to share in the financial decisions. It’s important that a couple act as a team. If you aren’t cohabitating yet, does the person you’re dating ask your opinion on things or are they more independent? The TD Ameritrade and Learnvest study found that generally with married and cohabitating couples, one person pays the bills and writes the budget. Really both people should know how to do these things on their own, particularly with how high the divorce rate is. However, if your love interest asks your opinion and is very considerate, there is a high chance they will be easy to talk to and negotiate with when financial matters come up. Of course you shouldn’t bring up personal subjects like money, savings, investments, retirement plan and so on, on the first date. Not if you want a second date. But as things start to get serious these are important issues.

How comfortable is this person talking about money? When someone is paranoid or testy about the subject, it can put a real damper on the relationship. But if your lover is comfortable discussing matters and opinions on all things financial, this person is a keeper. Is this person financially stable? What is there debt situation like? There are lots of people who are forgoing marriage due to their hesitancy in taking on their lover’s debt. Everyone must decide what is right for them. But having a life partner who has their financial situation under control, and is able to discuss financial matters with you are good signs of a strong relationship with long term possibilities. For more financial advice read, Money before Marriage: A Financial Workbook for Engaged Couples by Larry Burkett.

Why do Some People Stay with Someone Who Isn’t Good Enough for them?

Fashion Beautiful Couple In Love Holding Money The Family Budget. Business Concept

Why do Some People Stay with Someone Who Isn’t Good Enough for them?

You know when you see that really amazing girl or guy; funny, good looking, smart and passionate, and you find out later who they are dating and you are floored? Why them? This person is so gorgeous and their partner seems to be short on good qualities. And you wonder why this unbelievable person could be with this mediocre at best partner. Why do some people stay with someone who doesn’t appear good enough for them? Some people are merely complacent in their relationships. Others are harboring feelings of inadequacy and fear being single. There are those who have grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle, one financed by their significant other. But it’s psychologically unhealthy if the love for material items far outweighs the love for your partner. Each person should be able to support themselves and be financially independent or at least plan to be say if one is in college working toward a career, or else you end up resenting the other person and the power dynamic is merely one sided. A relationship should fulfill a person emotionally. But if a relationship doesn’t do that, no matter how good the lifestyle or how good it feels to be with someone, it isn’t going to do what it is supposed to do. You will get emotionally drained and sooner or later you’ll split up.

Some people stick together for the sake of the kids. But if this is a high conflict relationship, studies have shown that you are probably doing more harm than good. Even if it is a low conflict household, children can sense the unhappiness of their parents. And what effect will that have on their psyches? If you are embedded in a relationship and do not know how to get out of it, start with your own self-worth. Start to discover who you really are and who you want to be. Learn to love yourself. Then see if you can love the person you are with. Are they good for you or are they adding to negativity in your life? Is the relationship salvageable or is it best to move on? Come to realize what your personal needs are and if the person you are with can fulfill them. Can you fulfill their personal needs? If you are in an unhealthy relationship, find your way out of it. It will only get worse. Instead of allowing you the room you need to grow and develop and become the best person you can be, it will be holding you back and stifling your development. Find someone who enhances your life experience instead of someone who hampers it. Go out on a limb and find real love. It will be there if you just give yourself the right to be happy. For more advice read, Letting Go of Mr. Wrong: Realize Your Self-Worth by Sonya Parker.