Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage


Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage

When you see a disaster is eminent, the best plan is to get out before it’s too late. After that, it’s all triage. Nowhere else is this truer than when entering into a bad marriage—the consequences of which can follow you for years. Sometimes we’re blinded by love. At other times, something arises that cannot be reconciled. Either way, when the divorce is final, we often look for easy things to blame. We feel confused, overwhelmed, hurt and angry. But usually there are many things that lead to the decline and dissolution of such a relationship. Enjoy love but keep on the lookout for important warning signs. You may be able to duck a bad situation or likely recognize when your relationship is heading south. Do you remember your first fight? Few couples do. Well, maybe some women do. In any case, lots of couples fight about the same things, money being the topmost issue, confirmed in several studies. But if you start fighting about money early on, say as you’re boarding the plane on the way to your honeymoon, the marriage could be in trouble. That’s according to research out of Kansas State University. That’s because arguments about money early on affected the marriage even years later. Fighting about money was the “top predictor for divorce” regardless of socio-economic status or income level.

If you got married by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas at the spur of the moment, surprise–you might not make it. But if you dated for three years before deciding to get married, you have a 39% less likelihood of seeing the inside of a divorce court, according to researchers out of Emory University. Couples who dated for three years had far better odds than those who dated for less than a year. Are you both teetotalers? Or perhaps you both like to party until the wee hours. If you’re drinking habits diverge sharply, your relationship might soon too, so say University of Buffalo researchers. If one spouse drank heavily, the couple was more likely to get divorced. But the same results weren’t true when both partners tipped the glass often. Apparently, it’s the mismatch rather than the habit that causes strife.

Did you two talk about a prenup before marriage? If so, you are more than likely to keep your money when you two go your separate ways. That’s because the longevity of the marriage isn’t the utmost concern to both parties. Couples that don’t share a bank account are 145% more likely to divorce, says the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. The reason is financial generosity and sharing is conducive to marriage. It makes you a unit. Keeping things for yourself and separate is not, though of course we all need some individuality. Still, complete separateness denotes something. How much did you blow on the wedding? Some events seem to cost more than a mortgage nowadays. But one Emory University study found that the more you spend on the wedding, the less likely you will have staying power. That’s because spending more gave each elevated expectations for the marriage. When you aren’t ready for problems when they inevitably strike, there are no coping strategies set aside to deal with them. Those who coughed up $20,000 or more were 3.5 times more likely to divorce than those who spent $5,000-$10,000. Social networking sites have us all interconnected. They influence us more than we think. In fact, one study published in “Social Forces” Journal found that if a friend or neighbor got divorced, that person was 75% more likely to get divorced themselves. For ways to make you marriage strong whether entering into or already in the thick of it read, The Marriage Guide Book: How to Make Your Marriage Thrive by Vanessa Pagan.

Fixing a Marriage without Couple’s Counseling


Fixing a Marriage without Couple’s Counseling

It can seem difficult to recalibrate a relationship that’s seems broken, particularly a marriage. Though counseling can be worthwhile, it isn’t appropriate for many couples. One or both members feel that counseling isn’t for them. They see it as a defeat or only something for crazy people. Or they feel uncomfortable revealing the deepest, darkest parts of their marriage to a complete stranger. Instead, they would rather invest the time, energy and forethought themselves to fix the marriage. The truth is a marriage can be fixed without couple’s counseling.

Here are some steps that can help you bring your marriage back from the brink. First, it’s important to set aside some serious time to talk. It could be one day, once per week, an entire weekend, whatever is need to hash out the problems, outline negative behaviors each of you are exhibiting and unraveling them, and come up with a series of rules, guidelines and behaviors you both vow to take part in instead of those that are affecting the marriage. Once this is done, reconnect. Take a vacation. Go on a weekend getaway. Take a road trip or just spend some fun time together, away from kids and responsibilities, only focusing on each other.

Take a look at how the two of you communicate. Does one always interrupt the other, or worse do you interrupt one another? If so, practice listening to your partner with your full attention, not interjecting what you want to say, or how it really is. After each statement validate what they have said. Then talk about what you want to say. Expect your partner to listen without interruption and validate your statement. A lot of problems occur when one partner or the other feels like they aren’t being listened to, or their statement isn’t taken as valid by the other. Validation could be as simple as, “What I hear you saying is…” It may take longer, but in the end both parties will feel listened to and respected by the other.

Also, lots of marital problems like other problems are often rooted in misunderstanding. The validation process can show you the difference between what you say and how your spouse takes it, and visa-versa. By clearing up misunderstandings, you will not only learn to communicate with your spouse better, you will understand them better too. For more advice read, One New Habit to Fix Your Marriage: 10 Simple Steps to Put the Joy and Intimacy Back in Your Marriage by Grace Stevens.

Ways to Put your Finances Together


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.

Little Behaviors that Reinforce a Happy Relationship


Little Behaviors that Reinforce a Happy Relationship

It can seem like a great and complex puzzle when trying to figure out what you and your partner can do to keep your relationship well-adjusted and content. Many times couples look for grand policy changes or an entire relationship makeover to become blissful and perpetually pleased. Oftentimes this isn’t the case. Generally, it’s the little things, little problems or behaviors that pile up like clutter in a closet. Soon the closet is full and no longer usable. It needs to be cleaned out. There are lots of little behaviors that reinforce a happy relationship, to help organize your relationship closet, keeping it sparkling, welcoming, pleasant, and clutter free.

Do you two often argue about what restaurant to go to? Where to eat out? What to do on a Saturday night? If you argue over this, or are tired of the methods you use to choose, try the 5-3-1 rule. The first spouse lists five restaurants that you both like. The second person eliminates three of the choices. The first partner then selects one. This is a fun and interesting way to make choices without fighting occurring. It also makes sure both parties are involved and no one feels drowned out by the other’s choices. Don’t overuse however. Instead, incorporate a variety of methods to make choices. Don’t take advantage or push your choice through. Your partner will resent it and will get revenge at the next juncture when it becomes time to choose again. Play fair and expect your spouse to do the same.

Sharing responsibilities is important. If one person prepares dinner the other should volunteer to clean up. Find ways to amiably share the household chores. Find what each person doesn’t mind doing. Make a list and write each person’s name next to their responsibility. What is left can be horse traded. Find nice, positive and respectful ways to voice your concern when your spouse hasn’t kept up with their chores. If you find yourself nagging, or they are, have a meeting and address it. Find more beneficial and positive ways to communicate. Make sure you aren’t around each other all the time. Respect boundaries. If your spouse wants to read in the bedroom alone, or go out with their friends, don’t be a sourpuss, encourage it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And if you are always around one another you may get on each other’s nerves and start to bicker.

Show how grateful you are for what your spouse does in the relationship. Thank them. Appreciate them, even if it’s a chore you decided was on their to-do list. Don’t correct one another or shoot each other down in public. Lastly, when one of you is wrong and wants to own up to it, don’t allow the other to rub it in or give an “I-told-you-so.” Why not use a “Fail dance.” This is when one person failed, and they do a silly dance for the other to apologize. It’s funny and fun and can make what could have been a fight or a negative moment into a positive one. For more advice read, Happy Habits for Every Couple: 21 Days to a Better Relationship by Roger and Kathi Lipp.