THE EXPERTS WEIGH IN ~ MARRIAGE ADVICE
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We went to several different websites and looked up some of our favorite experts on relationships, money and marriage and thought it would be fun to share some of their advice not just for newly weds but for all married couples.
The quality of a relationship is a function of the extent to which it is built on a solid underlying friendship and meets the needs of the two people involved.
You get what you give. When you give better, you get better.
If you put your relationship in a win/lose situation, it will be a lose/lose situation.
Forget whether you’re right or wrong. The question is: Is what you’re doing working or not working?
There is no right or wrong way to fix a relationship. Find your own way that works. But recognize when it’s not working and be honest when it needs fixing.
Falling in love is not the same thing as being in love. Embrace the change and know that it takes work.
You don’t fix things by fixing your partner.
Intimacy is so important because it is when we let someone else enter our private world.
You don’t necessarily solve problems. You learn how to manage them.
Communicate. Make sure your sentences have verbs. Remember that only 7 percent of communication is verbal. Actions and non-verbal communication speak much louder.
You teach people how to treat you. You can renegotiate the rules.
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When people think of budgets, they think of bread and water. No fun, no going out to eat, none of that. Unless you have an extreme situation, you can still include fun money in the budget. Make sure to tell your partner that you will include fun money in the budget, as long as you make it together and stick to it. Remember, this is a team effort, and you are a team.
Once you are married, it’s time to put your combined income and expenses on paper, on purpose, and determine what a typical month is going to look like. It’s good to go ahead and practice budgeting together once you get engaged. That way, you can go ahead and make adjustments so things are set up to work smoothly when game time finally comes. After the wedding, revisit the budget each month at the Budget Committee Meeting to make adjustments as needed
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HARRIET LERNER, PH. D
“Practice saying difficult things in three sentences or less, making your point only once in a particular conversation. When we can’t get through to our partner, we automatically lengthen our argument and build our case. This won’t help — and usually hurts. And we may not recognize that the sheer number of sentences may be the culprit.
“It can be incredibly difficult to say only, ‘Please remember not to put that knife in the dishwasher,’ or, ‘I feel uncomfortable about how much you drank at the party,’ and leave it at that. If you go on too long, you’ll actually protect your partner, who may shut down and vacate the emotional premises, rather than consider your legitimate criticism and good advice.”
“Make an effort to do something small, on a regular basis, that you know your partner will appreciate. It’s the little things that you and your partner do (or don’t do) that will affect your relationship. Don’t think in terms of all or nothing, or you’re bound to end up with nothing. Even if you only have an hour for date night, it’s better than avoiding a date altogether.”
“How chores and responsibilities are divided in a couple should not be based on equality, but rather on who cares more about the thing and who’s better at it. This is why even though I wish my husband would dress my children in cute outfits and pigtails when he takes them somewhere, that’s actually my job.
“Couples often skip determining clearly who is responsible for what. Doing so however, provides two things: 1) You become more responsible for your areas, no playing victim if he doesn’t naturally pitch in, and 2) You butt out where you are being controlling but not ultimately accountable. Most fights in marriages are based on disagreements of misunderstandings about who should be in charge of what. It’s never too late to duke it out and write it down so everyone is clear. I call this ‘establishing bodegas,’ and I teach it to all of my clients who are fighting with their partners.”
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