Signs you May be Entering or are in a Bad Marriage

doomed

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.

The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages

ENGAGEMENT-RING

The Most Expensive Weddings Lead to the Shortest Marriages

The price on weddings has risen significantly in recent years. So-called “normal” couples today incorporate detailed websites, photo booths and giant ice sculptures into their marriages, and even throw weekend-long events. The industry likes to marry the idea of love and commitment with how much is spent. But although most of us scour the plan looking for ways of saving a few dollars, some wish money was no object. They secretly drool over celebrity-style affairs in exotic locales, taking place in lavish venues where so many luxuries abound their guests’ heads spin. We dream of becoming a part of what looks like modern day royalty. But be careful what you wish for. All of that style may be hiding a lack of substance, according to a study out of Emory University. You would think those who shell out the most mean it the most. But this study found the opposite to be true. The most expensive weddings lead to the shortest marriages. Two economics professors came to this conclusion. They also found that the higher the price-tag for the engagement ring, the greater the likelihood of divorce.

3,000 participants, married only one time, took part in this study. They found that those men who spent $500 to $2,000 were 1.3 times less likely to get divorced than those who spent $2,000 and $4,000. Those who spent $5,000 to $10,000 on the wedding were 3.5 times less likely to get divorced than those who shelled out over $20,000. In an email to Big Think researchers wrote, “Advertising has fueled the norm that spending large amounts on the engagement ring and wedding is an indication of commitment or is helpful for a marriage to be successful.” Though they’ve found a correlation, determining causation is far trickier. The economists surmise that such a big event inflates the expectations of the marriage. The couple is enchanted into the notion that things are going to be easy from here on out. Both parties have unrealistic expectations which undermine reconciliation when the couple hits a stumbling block. Those who have a more moderately priced affair have a level-headed view and so are ready when the inevitable difficulties arise.

No matter how much you plunk down for your wedding, there are some qualities that can be sustained by both parties to give the marriage the best chance of success. The first is to focus on the positive rather than the negative. There are little things that will inevitably drive you crazy. But if you can remember how supportive and understanding they are, you can perhaps overlook the hair they leave in the shower drain or that they are never once on-time. Invest in your relationship. This could be time, energy or thoughtfulness. But you get out of a marriage what you put into it. Communicate clearly and make sure you understand what your spouse has said or is saying. Lots of fights boil down to miscommunication. Fight smart. If you hurt your partner but win the argument, have you really won? Learn to let the little things go. And find ways to increase your closeness and strengthen your bond. For more on how to achieve marital success read, Strong Marriage, Happy Life: The Core Principles of a Successful Marriage and How to Make Your Marriage Work by Sonya Dawson.

Denying Marriage until they pay down their Debt

COUPLE-MONEY

Denying Marriage until they pay down their Debt

Due to the Great Recession, people are being more careful about marriage and are cohabitating longer. They know how expensive divorce can be, not to mention how draining. But there’s another phenomenon too. Some people are denying their lovers their hand in marriage until they pay down their debt. The credit score is almighty today, allowing access to homes, cars and businesses, or denying access depending on how that person handles money. One spouse’s debt affects both of their credit. With lots of plans for the future, no one wants to get tied down or lassoed with the debt of another.

Do they have poor spending habits? If you are worried that they will talk you into a joint credit card account and max it out, ask them about their buying habits and be careful. Notice whether or not they go on extravagant shopping sprees they can’t afford. Who are they going to stick the bill to? If they can’t afford it and you two are married, you’ll feel forced to contribute, not only in the emotional sense but to save your joint credit.

There is another underlying factor here. If a person isn’t responsible with money, can they be trusted with other things? Are they only irresponsible in the financial sense or in other ways too? And will these other ways damage the other person or the relationship as a whole? Conscientiousness is one of those great qualities in a lover and a spouse that is often overlooked. But someone who went the distance working hard in their career, whether they were knocked down by the economy is another matter.

Someone who can pay bills on time, save, live somewhat frugally, someone who doesn’t spend frivolously but knows the value of money may know, appreciate and respect the other good and worthwhile things in life, namely you. So their spendthrift, responsible or reckless ways they spend money could speak to deeper parts of their psyche, parts you are going to have to deal with should you decide to get involved in a long term relationship, even a marriage with this person. Marriage is forever. If they are serious and really love you perhaps they’ll change their poor financial planning. If not, let them go. Love may be fleeting, but your credit score lasts forever. For more advice read, How to Debt-Proof your Marriage by Mary Hunt.

Ways for Couples to talk about Money

MONEY-CONVERSATION

Ways for Couples to talk about Money

What’s one of the biggest indicators of an oncoming divorce? Talking about money. Money is the number one most contentious issue for couples and the topic fought about the most. People are even using financial indicators as to whether or not they want to marry a person. A survey conducted recently by the website Lawyers.com found that 40% of responding couples, ranging in age from 25 to 55, found honesty about finances more important than fidelity. Today lots of couples want to manage their money in a smart, healthy way.

Gone are the days when one or the other spouse took care of all the money matters. Today couples want to discuss it and manage it together like partners. But what is the best way for couples to talk about money without the conversation devolving into a squabble? Financial advice website Learnvest.com CEO and newlywed Alexa von Tobel has some ideas. She recently teamed up with Cosmopolitan magazine to conduct a “Love and Money Boot camp.” This five day seminar includes how to best combine your finances and what moves you should make to ensure a successful financial future together. Couples are talking about money early nowadays as the relationship moves on.

But why is money such a thorny topic for couples? Mrs. Von Tobel said in a statement, “Discussing finances openly with your partner is crucial because money plays into every aspect of our lives, from the jobs we take to the way we raise our children. Since it affects so many major decisions, it’s necessary to check in with your partner from time to time to make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to your finances.” Understand that there is no set way to manage money. If you are having difficulty in planning together, why not consult a financial planner? If one person thinks the other spends too much, the planner can go line by line through the credit card statements. It takes the pressure off the concerned party and takes resentment out of the equation.

Next, consider how you will merge your assets and your debts. Perhaps figure out a percentage out of each person’s salary that is put into a joint account that then pays the bills. Decide who pays those bills too, how it is done and so on. Don’t wait until there is a problem. Discuss financial issues often. Why not even schedule a certain time once per month or every other week to revisit the issue? Decide on a discretionary spending ceiling. Keep your shared goals in your mind. It isn’t always easy to iron out the money situation. But if you can do it, you will come out stronger as a couple. For more financial advice read, Home Finances for Couples: Resolve Money Problems in Marriage and Learn Easy Steps to Manage Your Family Budget by Leo Ostapiv.

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.