Relationship Problems and How to Solve Them (cont.)

Money problems can start even before the wedding vows are said, from the expenses of courtship to the high cost of weddings. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends that couples who have money woes take a deep breath and have a serious conversation about finances.

Problem-solving strategies: The NFCC offers the following advice for having that much-needed financial conversation:

  • Be honest about your current financial situation. If things have gone south, continuing the same lifestyle that was possible before the loss of income is simply unrealistic.

  • Don't approach the subject in the heat of battle. Instead, set aside a time that is convenient and non-threatening for both parties.

  • Acknowledge that one partner may be a saver and one a spender, understanding that there are benefits to both, and agreeing to learn from each other's tendencies.

  • Don't hide income or debt. Bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, debts, and investments to the table.

  • Don't blame.

  • Construct a joint budget that includes savings.

  • Decide which person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills.

  • Allow each person to have independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her discretion.

  • Decide upon short-term and long-term goals. It's OK to have individual goals, but you should have family goals, too.

  • Talk about caring for your parents as they age, and how to appropriately plan for their financial needs, if necessary.

Relationship Problem: Struggles Over Home Chores

Nowadays, most partners work outside the home -- and in today's economy -- often at more than one job, so it's important to equitably divide the labor at home, says Paulette Kouffman Sherman, PhD. She is the author of Dating from the Inside Out: How to Use the Law of Attraction in Matters of the Heart.

Problem-solving strategies:

  • Be organized and clear about your respective jobs in the home, Sherman says. "Write all the jobs down and agree on who does what." Be fair: Make sure each partner's tasks are equitable so no resentment builds.

  • Be open to other solutions, Sherman adds: If you both hate housework, maybe you can spring for a cleaning service. If one of you likes housework, the other partner can do the laundry and the yard. As long as it feels fair to both people, you can be creative and take preferences into account.

Relationship Problem: Not Prioritizing Your Relationship

If you want to keep your love life going, making your relationship a focal point does not end when you say "I do." "Relationships lose their luster," says Karen Sherman, PhD, author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make It Last. "So make yours a priority."

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