Money problems can start even before the wedding vows are exchanged. They can stem, for example, from the expenses of courtship or from the high cost of a wedding.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends that couples who have money woes take a deep breath and have a serious conversation about finances.
- Be honest about your current financial situation. If things have gone south, continuing the same lifestyle is unrealistic.
- Don’t approach the subject in the heat of battle. Instead, set aside a time that is convenient and non-threatening for both of you.
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- Acknowledge that one partner may be a saver and one a spender, understand there are benefits to both, and agree to learn from each other’s tendencies.
- Don’t hide income or debt. Bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, debts, and investments to the table.
- Don’t blame.
- Construct a joint budget that includes savings.
- Decide which person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills.
- Allow each person to have independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her discretion.
- Decide upon short-term and long-term goals. It’s OK to have individual goals, but you should have family goals, too.
- Talk about caring for your parents as they age and how to appropriately plan for their financial needs if needed.
Relationship Problem: Struggles Over Home Chores
Most partners work outside the home and often at more than one job. So it’s important to fairly divide the labor at home, says Paulette Kouffman-Sherman, author of Dating From the Inside Out.
- Be organized and clear about your respective jobs in the home, Kouffman-Sherman says. “Write all the jobs down and agree on who does what.” Be fair so no resentment builds.
- Be open to other solutions, she says. If you both hate housework, maybe you can spring for a cleaning service. If one of you likes housework, the other partner can do the laundry and the yard. You can be creative and take preferences into account — as long as it feels fair to both of you.
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Relationship Problem: Not Making Your Relationship a Priority
If you want to keep your love life going, making your relationship a focal point should not end when you say “I do.” “Relationships lose their luster. So make yours a priority,” says Karen Sherman, author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make It Last.
- Do the things you used to do when you were first dating: Show appreciation, compliment each other, contact each other through the day, and show interest in each other.
- Plan date nights. Schedule time together on the calendar just as you would any other important event in your life.
- Respect one another. Say “thank you,” and “I appreciate…” It lets your partner know that they matter.