Marriage counseling

Discussing Shared Expenses

shared expensesToday, more and more couples are choosing to move in together before marriage and often, before combining their finances. And while it may seem like bliss is around the corner, shared expenses can be a rude wake up call. When deciding to co-habitate, couples should consider all of the shared expenses they’re about to incur, including rent, utilities, groceries, and more.

Here are three tips to make that transition a little easier.

  1. Discuss shared expenses BEFORE moving in

You’ve worked together to determine where you’re moving, but have you talked about bills? Before picking out paint colors and figuring out how to get that couch through the door, you and your significant other need to discuss who’s paying for what. You may choose to divide everything 50/50. One person may make significantly more than the other, so you choose to divide things more 60/40. No matter how you decide to divide your shared expenses, make sure the two of you have a plan before you move in.

  1. Check in with each other one month in

Even the best laid plans can go awry. This is why it’s crucial you check in with one another after your first month of sharing expenses. Are you both still living comfortably within your means? Or did one of you misjudge your budget? This is the time to assess and decide if you should continue with the original plan or update it to reflect the reality of living together.

  1. Maintain open communication

You’ve heard this before. All good relationships maintain open and honest communication. When it comes to your financial situation, this is especially good advice. Unexpected expenses – car trouble, ER visits – can quickly throw your monthly budget for a loop. As long as you and your significant other continue to be open with your financial situation, you’ll be able to work through this unexpected expenses in the most efficient way possible.

Now, go pick out those paint swatches!

Best Practices for a Marriage: Honesty, Trust, and Loyalty

honesty trust loyaltyLet’s pretend you’re in a marriage, and it’s on the rocks. Have you evaluated why? I’m not talking about the fights or little white lies here; I mean have you sought after the root of the problem? When honesty, trust, and loyalty are lacking, you can bet that the root of the problem lays in issues with communication and a lack of unwavering faith in your spouse. Are you both supportive, gracious, and kind to one another? If not, there may be some work ahead of you.

Honesty

Telling the truth isn’t hard, and it’s important that both you and your partner are on the same page on this one. Be honest about your past and about your intentions. You don’t have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets, but don’t leave out some of the juicy details. Learning about one another occurs over the period of years and decades, show them who you truly are by being up front. They will appreciate the honesty and hopefully give it to you in return. Couples can be brutally honest and still remain polite.

Trust

Building upon honesty we have trust. Trust not only means that you know that honesty is present, but also that you trust you partner’s judgement and ultimately would put your life in their hands. Deep trust is developed over time and only occurs when both people feel safe and supported by the other. Also have trust in the relationship itself. Know and have faith that things will work out; through thick and thin. Remember those wedding vows? Stick by your beau through the hard times and the good times will come.

Loyalty 

This one is a bit of a kicker. You’ve got honesty and trust but do you have loyalty? Someone who sticks by your side and supports you unconditionally. Being true to someone goes well beyond being faithful in the bedroom. Loyalty means going above and beyond for your love day after day, year after year. Loyalty is by some standards the single most important quality in a relationship or marriage.

A flailing marriage doesn’t have to be the end. Work on learning each other’s language; that is learning to communicate in a mutual way. Don’t interrupt, be respectful, and always stay calm when talking it out. Be the best you can be and see the results of your hard work. You will be surprised at the improvement in your marriage with attention placed on honesty, trust, and loyalty.

Preventing Infidelity

Preventing InfidelityCommunication is the key to any successful relationship. Being able to speak openly with your partner about anything is important and being able to bring up uncomfortable topics, like infidelity, is of the utmost importance. Discussing the hard topics is difficult for both partners involved but needs to be done relatively soon in a relationship. Waiting until marriage to discuss what you each consider cheating will not do any good. This will leave room for one of you to cross a line that you didn’t know existed. Being open and honest from the start will help keep your relationship on the right track to stay happy and healthy.

There are many reasons that people cheat so make sure that not knowing each other’s boundaries isn’t one of them. Setting clear boundaries is extremely important early on in a relationship so that you know your partner’s expectations and they know yours. You have to know what your partner considers cheating and what, if anything, you disagree on. Your partner may consider you having drinks with your ex as cheating, while you encourage your partner to have a friendship with their ex. These distinctions are important for each partner involved to understand and respect. Many people may think that cheating is entirely physical, however; it is possible to cheat on your partner without touching anyone. Emotional cheating is sometimes considered worse than having a sexual encounter with someone because of that connection that you share. Your partner wants to be the only person that you feel a truly deep, emotional connection to. Some partners may feel more betrayed by you having an emotional attachment to someone then you having a physical encounter with a stranger. Setting boundaries will help prevent misunderstandings when it comes to infidelity, among other things.

If you’ve passed this point in your relationship and a boundary has already been crossed it does not mean the relationship is over. Boundaries are important to set whenever you and your partner decide to talk about it. If someone has already crossed a line or you just want to take preventative measures, it is best to seek advice from a licensed therapist. Therapy is not just for people struggling to keep their relationships together. It is also good for maintenance. We see a doctor for everything else. Getting a checkup on the health of your relationship is just as important as a physical that you get.

Be honest with yourself and your partner about your expectations in your relationship. Help to prevent infidelity in your relationship by having open discussions, setting boundaries, and consulting with a professional to maintain the health of your relationship.

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