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The Hidden Killer: How to Save Your Marriage from Financial Infidelity

financial infographic

I love this Infographic from CreditRepair.com, it illustrates the remarkable stats related to financial infidelity in marriage. Amazingly, 58 percent of couples who are divorced or separated admit to lying to their spouse about money. The part that didn’t surprise me is 60 percent said they kept their spending secret to avoid problems at home.

Avoiding conflict is a tempting marriage improvement strategy. Conflict is no fun and often really painful. But avoiding conflict only last a short time and lying always makes conflict worse. Dishonesty in any area but especially about money, kills trust and intimacy. Every time.

The infographic also points out, when compared to a number of other issues, financial disagreements last longer and generate more negative communication techniques like defensiveness and yelling.

You may be surprised to know 60 percent of divorced or separated couples believe financial infidelity is as destructive as sexual infidelity.

I’m not sure which is more destructive. Certainly both financial and sexual infidelity have destroyed many marriages. In each form of infidelity, trust is demolished and lying fuels the destructive fire.

Financial infidelity could be secretly destroying your marriage. Rotting your marriage from the inside out. Protect your marriage and make some wonderful in your marriage by committing to financial transparency.

1. Work on finances together.

CreditRepair.com ends the infographic by recommending “GET OUT OF DEBT AND STAY OUT OF DEBT” Good advice. Couples who operate separate accounts and responsibilities experience more difficulty reaching financial goals like getting out of debt. The easiest way to guard against financial infidelity is to work on finances together. Partner with your spouse, align your financial goals and share the tasks of managing your money.

Action Point: Discuss with your spouse how you feel your current money management arrangement is working and respectfully negotiate how you can better share the work of managing your money together.

2. Have honest conversations.

To prevent pain and divorce, I recommend “STOP LYING AND NEVER LIE AGAIN.” I understand it’s not easy, especially when you know tough financial conversations are necessary in your relationship. Stop avoiding difficult conversations by lying. It may be tempting but lying never helps relationships thrive. Your lie will always be found out and the longer you lie the more destruction it will cause in your marriage.

Action Point: Come clean and tell your spouse about spending or debt you’ve been hiding. Take responsibility and don’t blame your spouse for your inappropriate behavior. Also apologize for your dishonesty or for withholding information from them.

3. Focus on communicating love.

It’s easy when talking about money to get hyper-focused on the details of the numbers and forget you’re in relationship. The more you focus on communicating love to your spouse the better you will negotiate finances. Personal finances are intimately personal. You must address your emotions related to money in a way that strengthens rather than tears down your connection in marriage.

Action Point: Tell your spouse why you care about them and your desire for intimate connection in every area of life, even finances.

4. Get help and use professional resources.

If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with your spouse about money or you know any conversation will lead to a dangerous fight, get help. Securing counsel is wisdom in action. Find a relationship counselor to help keep the conversation safe and on track. Use resources like Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey to give you and your spouse a shared understanding of money management.

Action Point: Identify together what resources would benefit your situation. You may need credit counseling, accounting or tax advice. Then commit to following through with professional recommendations.


 

The Best Movie of the Year (and How it Can Transform Your Marriage)


inside out on blue


Movies magically transport viewers into stories. The best stories create powerful emotion in those who experience them. You know a good movie when you feel it. My favorite movies leave me feeling a strong emotion. Braveheart and Gladiator leave me feeling strong and courageous. Marly and Me leaves me feeling sadly reminiscent. The Sound of Music leaves me feeling content. I avoid scary movies because I don’t like to feel afraid. Rudy leaves me feeling capable and proud.

How we feel after watching a movie is the real measure of it’s greatness. If the story can go beyond entertainment and touch your emotions you’ve really experienced the story.

Emotions not only impact our experience of watching a movie, they also color our entire life. The greatest experiences of life impact us deeply because of emotion. Think about the most meaningful parts of your life; birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, your wedding day, the birth of your children. These moments are significant because you experienced strong emotion.

Inside Out by Disney’s Pixar (now available on DVD) is the best movie of the year. Watch the trailer.

Inside Out not only left me with a strong emotion like all great movies, but it’s also about emotion. The emotions of Riley, the story’s main character, take center stage. As Riley faces a series of changes in her life joy, sadness, disgust, anger and fear get to work. The movie brilliantly animates the abstract experience of emotion with a revealing look inside our minds.

Inside Out can transform your marriage if you apply these 3 lessons well.

Emotions matter deeply. They run the show and profoundly impact our lives. For a wonderful marriage identify your own emotion and then seek to understand the emotion of your spouse.

Our experiences and most importantly, our memory of these experiences hold emotion. Inside Out illustrates well how memories are intertwined with emotion. Get to know the experiences of your spouse. Their childhood experiences can be powerful as well as how they feel about their experiences of today.

Every emotion is needed. At first in the movie, Joy doesn’t understand why Sadness is around, but by the end, Sadness plays an important role. Don’t run from emotion in your marriage no matter how uncomfortable you feel. Respond to your spouse with love through all their emotions to build a strong connection.

I love emotion. Helping couples identify and use emotion to build a strong connection in their marriage is my favorite part of my job as a counselor. When you pay attention to emotion in your marriage your relational intimacy deepens. The same happens in your relationship with your children. The more you pay attention to your child’s core emotions, the deeper your connection. Your children learn the most about emotion by watching you and experiencing emotion through their relationship with you. Gather your kids, get some popcorn and watch Inside Out together. You’ll have fun, build lasting memories with good emotions, and perhaps it will spark new conversations about emotions. Pay attention to emotion and you’ll not only deepen your relationship with your spouse but with your children as well.

inside out color

The Real Predictor of a Successful Relationship is Not Your Credit Score

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ameriswede/2500097744/in/photolist-4NVDXw-cso46q-nvJyPj-cUcCum-aoR9Ec-oMcKa8-p4EH97-eQ3qQr-8aU9yx-6RvT2i-giPUvv-rKnQF2-4D5Lqa-5XEpBK-5XEpQF-fQNLfa-94C92H-9iNKjd-pcsPaa-5AxifB-rSWXhe-NWkmN-6K1uF-rrW1tr-9pK8ES-5XJExs-5XJEA3-5XEpDK-3PuvCD-cso3Zh-5nFdg3-XmahU-7SmzM5-31g5P-NvApK-qVLi4i-a3J14j-a3F9SZ-b5YtyX-6RzW21-aZk6YD-7rCv9b-7UfK8n-dCUY2V-aWq7UM-caAxXo-rKnR9X-aWcdZ4-bdJ4Vi-aVKroD
Photo Credit: Creative Commons _Drinkel_

Last week The Today Show shared the story Will Your Relationship Last? Your Credit Score May Have the Answer

Basically, it discusses Federal Reserve Board research which says your credit score and the credit score of your significant other can predict the success or failure of your relationship. Couples who have a drastically different credit score than each other are at a higher risk of separation.

You may already know your credit score is designed to predict how likely you are to repay a loan. Additional research has suggested your credit score can predict other behaviors and life events. For example, apparently your credit score can predict your driving ability and if you’ll have a heart attack. Now the latest research indicates your credit score can predict how successful you’ll be in your love life. Maybe next we’ll find out the credit score can predict your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Sorry to break up this “credit score is a crystal ball” idea but the greatest predictor of relationship success is not your credit score.

Besides, is it really news that finances are a major part of married life? Money fights are the number one reason for divorce in North America. People who cannot pay their debt (lower credit score) have more stress in their relationships. “What an earth shattering nugget of helpful relationship advice,” says the marriage counselor sarcastically.

The greatest predictor of relationship success is mutual commitment.

Both partners must commit to the relationship for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, good credit or bad. Sure, your past history deeply impacts your intimate relationship, but commitment always trumps history.

You and your spouse control the success of your relationship. Commit to love and to cherish one another no matter what circumstances come your way and you’ll succeed beyond your most sentimental dreams. Never let the detached and temporary measure your committed intimacy.


On a side note, this quote from the Today Show article drives me crazy!

Financial adviser Suze Orman believes this is so important that she’s known for telling people “FICO first, then sex.” Translation: Find out your date’s FICO score — a measure of how likely someone is to pay their bills on time or repay a loan — before getting more serious about a relationship.

FICO first, then sex? I otherwise appreciate the enthusiasm of Suze Orman but this snippet of advice is terribly wreckless. Get to know people without an impersonal number and without sex. Shortcuts to intimacy never lead to lasting beauty.


The holidays are right around the corner. If you’re a normal couple you’ll go through the motions, conceal your thoughts about money, avoid difficult conversations, and let it rip with an epic fight with your spouse when the January credit card bill arrives. Replace your tired and unhealthy holiday routine with true connection. Get my Holiday Survival Guide for Your Marriage FREE or my ebook, The Best Holidays Ever: How to Move From Conflict to Connection this Holiday Season for only $5 on Amazon.

1 Unexpected Way for Your Marriage to Survive Christmas This Year

surprised christmas guy


*Please note: I know it’s October and thinking about Christmas now either makes you nervous or makes you roll your eyes. Keep reading, you’ll gain needed perspective and practical tips. Besides aren’t you curious what the 1 unexpected thing is?

No matter the idealized version of the holiday season you like to imagine, the Christmas season will dogpile you with stress.

It happens every year, couples expect quiet evenings by the fireplace but end up blasted by the cold reality of holiday stress. For example during the holidays, you and your spouse have to debate:

How much do we spend on gifts?

Do we get a fresh or artificial Christmas tree?

How many $4 pumpkin spice lattes are too many?

Which church services do we attend?

What to do we do with the kids?

Which Christmas parties do we attend?

What is an appropriately inappropriate white elephant gift?

How do we tell your well meaning relatives we don’t want fruitcake?

Which set of demanding in-laws do we visit first?

How many family traditions do we have time for?

The list goes on and on.

No wonder the joy of the season is lost in conflict.

The great news is, your marriage doesn’t have to feel disconnected during the holidays. You can actually enjoy each other.

The guaranteed solution to holiday conflict is to fight with your spouse.

Yep a marriage counselor is telling you to fight with your spouse.

The more you discuss, argue, and decide the details of the holidays now, before they’ve even started, the less explosive connection killing conflict you’ll experience later.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to pre-argue every detail of the next three months of your life. Addressing the top two sources of conflict will get you started well.

Discuss your budget for Christmas including gifts, travel, and parties.

Finalize your budget in October for the months of November and December. No one likes the dreaded January Credit card bill. Avoid the January emotional eruption and discuss your holiday budget now. It’s ok to fight. You’ll prevent much bigger fights later. You’ll discover it’s much more pleasant to be proactive than reactive.

Discuss who you will visit and when you will visit them.

Decide now and you won’t have to debate it later in a more pressured setting. Making a decision together ahead of time will help you develop appropriate boundaries for your family and unify you and your spouse.

Simply talking about budget and travel plans can reduce conflict slightly but I challenge you to actually make real decisions. Have the conflict now and make the hard decisions now. Leaving your discussion vague with no decision is as pointless as a decapitated Christmas tree. See what I did there? a Christmas tree with no top? Pointless. Ok, I promise no more cheesy jokes. Get the holiday arguments going in your marriage in October rather than late December.


buy ebook


My eBook The Best Holidays Ever: How to move from conflict to connection this holiday season addresses the 6 major sources of conflict in marriage and how to turn them into points of connection during the holidays. Get it now for only $5. It’s really an awesome deal considering it will save you hundreds of dollars, your sanity, and your marriage this holiday season.

3 Communication Mistakes Married Couples Must Avoid

mistakes couple


Dishonesty.

It sounds like a no brainer but dishonesty can sneak into even the most solid marriages. It starts when you want to prevent conflict, which is generally a good idea. The desire to prevent the negative feeling of conflict is so strong you justify stretching the truth. You end up developing a pattern of withholding information which seems ok because you have prevented conflict, until your dishonesty comes crashing down demolishing trust.

Criticism.

We’ve all heard couples who constantly berate each other and wonder why they stay together but criticism is subtle too. Your offhand comment about the laundry or the bills hurt more than your spouse let on. For some couples criticism is direct and burns hot, for others it’s passive aggressive and festers under the surface.

Just getting by.

So your communication isn’t perfect, but it’s not terrible either. Congratulations, you have a normal marriage. You’re living life as it comes wishing your marriage was exciting and meaningful but simply getting by day to day. You may wonder what your partner is thinking or why they are withdrawn or angry all the time. You fight from time to time, which you hate, but then things seem a bit better and you continue on until the next painful argument.

Now for the good news: You don’t have to stay stuck. You can develop better communication.

Click the Orange Button to get exclusive content for my email subscribers. You’ll receive the solutions you’ve been looking for and experience immediate results in your marriage. Your communication will explode (in a good way).

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