I am taking the next 7 weeks to go through the reasons why people get divorced. In all of my materials and on the website, I use similar wording. Do I use the word ‘divorce’ to scare pre-wedding couples a bit? Hell, yes! While the ‘50% of all marriages end in divorce’ may be a huge overestimate, we cannot discount the high rate of divorce in this country.
However, when writing about the reasons, it makes more sense to go positive. So, while we’re using the reasons for divorce to start discussion and action, let’s truly build stronger relationships. Both with our partners and how we feel about the following issues: money, beliefs and values, affection and sex, children and parenting, family relationships, decision making and roles in the marriage, time spent together & social activities.
Getting married is a process for many that ‘just feels right.’ However rarely is communication open about some of the more difficult issues. Sure, we can use the marriage to get to know each other, but do you know how? And what happens if something your partner brings to the table is one of your Deal Breakers? Then what?
I am a firm believer that building strong relationships start with GREAT COMMUNICATION. So, all this week I posted some juicy questions on social media. Take some time to sit down by yourself and then with your spouse to talk openly and honestly as you respond to the questions asked.
LET’S TALK ABOUT MONEY
Money is the number one reason people get divorced in this country. Why? Because it affects our career choices, our work ethic and largely because we do not talk about money. There are lots of labels thrown around: greedy, cheap, money grubbing, stingy, gold-digger…and none of them sound very good. Those with money are afraid to speak since they may not want others to keep asking for a hand out and those without may be embarrassed about that lack and potentially being in debt. Add to that whatever opinions and habits you may have inherited from your family and we have a problem, folks. And then don’t forget that we deal with money just about EVERY DAY. See, it’s a biggie. It’s emotional and there’s no doubt that miscommunication or just lack of communication can lead to marital strife.
So what can we do to allow our finances to strengthen our relationship?
1. Consider what money means to you. Sit down, take out a favorite notebook and a fancy pen and write down your thoughts on money. Here are a few prompts from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and her chapter on ‘Recovering a Sense of Abundance.’
a. Money makes people ____
b. When I have money I usually _____
c. My parents thought money _____
d. I’m afraid if I had money I would ___
Use these as a guide and allow your thoughts to flow and write it all down. Encourage your partner to do the same. And then, most importantly, make a date to share what each other wrote.
2. Think big. If money were no option, what would you do? Would that change your job situation? Allow you to travel? Help out family members? The truth is much is possible if we are strategic and efficient with our money. Be open about your desires and your priorities. Write and discuss that list with your spouse. Will everything match up? Not likely, but this is where compromise comes in. Fight for what you feel strongly about and help your partner achieve what he or she wants.
3. Get assistance. If all of this writing and discussing leads to anxiety, arguments and being plain overwhelmed, ask for help! If you are having a hard to being able to communicate with your partner, contact me. I will provide a safe space to talk about the challenging issues. If you have difficulty individually or as couple on the concept of money, find a money coach or financial advisor that you like and trust. If you know what you want, but don’t know how to get there, consult a financial planner.
Feel free to ask questions and share your tips below. Get ready for Beliefs and Values next week!