Couples counseling

Combining Finances as a Couple

Couples saving money togetherWhen couples decide to combine finances, whether through marriage or a living arrangement, the last thing on their minds is money. Many believe that the money issue will be an easy transition. For couples with great communication, this is most likely true. However, that communication must include talking about finances. There are specific topics that need to be discussed. Below are some tips for new couples when merging finances.

Discuss spending and saving habits

Some people tend to be more natural at saving, and others think with their hearts first and wallets second. There is room for all types of personalities in a loving relationship. The key, however, is being honest with your loved one about your spending and saving habits. Each person can learn from the other. By identifying each other’s strengths and weaknesses, both parties can learn to bring out the best in the other, and gently encourage their partner into developing better financial habits.

Talk about any outstanding debt

Joining assets legally through marriage, and not talking about how much you owe on credit card debt or student loans can start your joint life off on the wrong foot. Many surveys have concluded that the number one thing that most couples argue about is about money. By not disclosing your debt, this could make future money issues even worse. This is not about playing the blame game, however. It’s about knowing in advance the financial situation each person is bringing to the table in order to tackle future financial goals and obstacles together.

Talk about how you will join assets

Some couples merge all of their assets into one bank account. Couples that do this oftentimes can save money more quickly and achieve financial goals easier. However, it does not come easily. If a couple decides to go this route, they must put some rules into place. For example, bills must be paid first and anything purchased by either partner individually over X amount of dollars must be discussed with the other partner first. This can prevent impulse shopping and spending money on things that aren’t a priority. This amount can be determined in advance and can change later on, depending on the couple’s financial situation. A couple must also decide the amount they want to dedicate to savings, investing, or paying off loans more quickly.

Other couples may decide that having separate bank accounts is the best decision for them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you decide to have separate accounts, then a discussion about who is going to pay what is necessary. Having a third account, set aside for saving that both couples contribute to, is another topic couples need to consider in order to achieve their financial goals together.

Closing thoughts

Even if people don’t want to admit it, money is a very emotional topic. When we bring in another person into our lives and include them in our finances, it gets a little more complicated. Open communication, in addition to discussing specific topics and goals, is important in order to make this transition go more smoothly. You must also recognize the need to consult outside sources when necessary, so that both your relationship and pocketbook can live in perfect harmony.

Back to the Basics: Keep Your Relationship Alive

Happy Couple Cooking Together. Dieting. Healthy FoodThere are tons of sources and/or material to read, listen to, and interact with if we ever need help with our relationships. It seems most relationships would last because of this fact. However, the divorce rate continues to increase in our society, while many choose not to enter the union of marriage. Everyone has an opinion on how to make a relationship last, but everyone doesn’t put in the work to make it a reality. Action is way more effective than talking (in some cases) when it comes to our relationships. We just need to go back to the basics so we don’t lose sight of why our relationship is important to us. A few of the basic ways are listed as follows:

  1. Continue dating. Remember how excited it was to go on the first date with your partner. You looked forward to wearing a nice outfit, going to a new place, and just having a new experience together. This is what started the relationship, so it should never end.
  2. Make your home a work-free zone. We spend the majority of our time at work due to the fact that  most of us have 40+ hour work weeks. With that being said, make your home a work-free zone. Make your partner the main focus once you arrive home from work. Too often, we get involved in the details of our day and don’t realize how work carries over into our personal lives and relationship. Try to maintain the work/life balance by always keeping your relationship as the priority.
  3. Get away from it all.If you have a full-time career and kids, you understand how life can just get away from you. It’s important to take a step back and let it all go, for at least 15 minutes or so anyway. Decide what is best for you and your partner and make a choice to check-in daily, weekly, etc. Use this time without interruption from the kids, television, computers, or phones. This check-in time is all about the partnership you have and making an effort to stay connected outside of your daily obligations.
  4. Break the routine. Having a routine is great but it makes for a very boring relationship. Spontaneity can put the spark and desire back into a dull relationship. We are all creatures of habit in some form or another. Make a conscious effort to do things out of your norm. This will also show your partner you can go with the flow of things in order to make them happy.
  5. Never stop communicating.Communication makes a great foundation for a stable relationship. You should always talk openly with your partner because only great relationships exist in the light. Communication allows you and your partner to hold on to the good things, avoid the negative things, and to continue the work to maintain your bond.
  6. Know what makes your partner feel loved. We all give and accept love differently. Although we may  think buying someone a gift is the ultimate sign of love, your partner may feel that spending quality time is the best way. We can’t make our way of loving acceptable to our partner and vice versa. Have a conversation with your partner if you don’t know what makes them feel loved. That in itself could make a world of difference in your relationship.

These are just a few things you can do to make sure your relationship doesn’t fade away. Above all, never give up. Your relationship will last if you make the conscious effort to always try to make it work.

Is There a Wrong Way to Forgive?

ForgivenessForgiveness is a touchy topic that we all hear about at different times in our lives. It’s biblical, philosophical, psychological and just plain good for the soul. Everyone knows that we’re supposed to forgive, but what about how to forgive? Is there a wrong way to give your forgiveness to someone? We can answer that question by discussing three other questions.

1. What Is Forgiveness?

The definition of forgiveness is the spiritual or emotional release of another person’s wrongdoing. When you forgive someone, you let go of any anger or resentment you have about the deed. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you forget. It just means that you are willing to release the negative feelings associated with the act that hurt you.

2. Who Is Forgiveness For?

Forgiveness does not belong to the person who committed the wrong unless that person specifically asks for it. It’s usually for the victim or the one who is forgiving. It benefits that person because it releases him or her from poisonous feelings and emotions.

3. What Does Forgiveness Do?

Forgiveness sets the hurt person free. Therefore, you can take power over your life back if you forgive someone. Reclaiming your control is a huge step. It completely separates you from the pain and allows you to live a healthy life that does not involve the shackles of bitterness.

It doesn’t matter how you forgive because you’re not doing it for the other person. You’re doing it for yourself. Furthermore, there is no set-in-stone directive on giving forgiveness, and there is no particular forgiveness ritual you need to perform. You just have to be sincere when you give it and be willing to release all the ugliness that may accumulate.

At the end of the day, the only wrong way to forgive is not to forgive at all. Revisit us for tips and information on finances, relationships, and recovery.

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