How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

Successful cohabitation is a balancing act of sex, money, cleaning, food and feelings – here’s a rough guide on how to coast through the potential hurdles of bunkering down with your plus one.

Putting conscious work into a relationship is a concept many people have difficulty with. We put years of thought and dedication into other important things in our lives (like our careers and bodies), with minimal complaint. Yet often when things become less than perfect in a relationship, our knee-jerk reaction is to start considering whether the person is right for us.

The reality is that when you live with your partner, love is not always enough to make things run smoothly. If you’re thinking about, or already are, living with your lover, there are a few tips that can make a world of difference.

Be open about your finances

Talking about money is not something most people find romantic. Yet fighting about money is arguably more unromantic; it’s one of the top predictors of divorce. If finance can split up people who are legally bound and have many years of experience together, it’s something you may want to chat about.

Prior to moving in together, discuss your spending habits and expectations. Be up front with where your money goes and how you expect the two of you are going to navigate the financial aspect of your relationship.

You’ll want to be clear on how rent and bills will be split and paid, how much you want to spend on food per week and whether you’re going to share a bank account or continue to operate separately.

As you begin to live together you’ll notice that you and your partner probably have different ways of spending. It’s easy to think one way is right, and the other wrong, so be honest yet kind with each other about this. The more visibility you provide, the less nasty shocks and ‘why didn’t you tell me about this?’ conversations you’ll need to have.

Be conscious and proactive about sex

In the early stages of a relationship (AKA: pre-living together) sex is as natural as breathing. You do it all the time, often without meaning to, and if you’re lucky, multiple times a day. The honeymoon period makes everything effortless.

Once you move in together it’s really easy to stop having sex and replace it with sleep, food and Netflix. Maybe it’s getting comfortable and seeing each other bloated in your trackies after too much snacking, or maybe it’s long hours at work that sap your will to live – either way, it’s really easy to go from rabbits to grumpy, hibernating bears.

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

Plan sex. Sure, it sounds unromantic, but once you move in together, unless you tell each other ‘we are having sex on Wednesday’, it won’t happen nearly as much as you want/need it to.

Once you get over the ‘ugh, I can’t believe I’m planning sex’ dilemma, the whole thing actually becomes sexy. You have something to look forward to at work, something to look good for and something to send each other explicit texts about.

All work and no play makes anyone hard to live with. Which brings us to the next point.

Make time for ‘date night’

Psychologist and relationship expert Melanie Shilling says date nights are critical to a couple’s happiness.

Date night is a time for you and your partner to get out of your usual routine, flirt with each other over hard liquor at a dimly lit bar and be reminded of why you found each other so attractive in the first place.

The aim is for all grudges revolving around unwashed Tupperware and wet towels to be forgotten.

Use food as a way to bond

Doing the grocery shopping together makes it much less of a daunting, soul-destroying task and eliminates any resentment that can occur if only one of you does it.

Plan your meals for the week or buy groceries that are transferrable to multiple meals and agree on how many/which days you both want to eat out.

Cook together or take turns cooking for each other. Make preparing meals something you do to nourish and care for each other, rather than just another chore. Eat at the dinner table together, use it as a chance to communicate away from your tech devices and reconnect after a long day.

Essentially, don’t let food become something you argue about; make it something you enjoy together.

Use friends and hobbies as ‘you’ time

A 2013 report that looked at 1.3 million Facebook users found that couples whose mutual friends know each other are more likely to break up, while couples whose friend circles don’t overlap as much are likely to stay together longer.

So spend time apart, hang out with your friends without each other. You sleep together every night; it’s important to give yourself a chance to actually miss each other.

John Aiken, a relationship psychologist, says time apart encourages each person to maintain their own sense of identity and stops couples from suffocating each other. So be honest about the social and personal space you both require.

Embrace compromise

Your partner is going to have filthy habits that drive you absolutely mental, and vice versa. Happily living with someone is coming to terms with the reality that not everything will go the way you want it to.

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

Don’t keep tabs on each other; no tit for tat. The world won’t end if they forget to take the rubbish out one week or come home three hours late after a night out.

However, if you are constantly abandoning your needs and dreams to satisfy your partner’s, you may be sacrificing rather than compromising. A compromise is an agreement you come to where both of you are meeting each other in the middle – if you feel you are giving more than you are getting it could start negatively impacting your relationship.

Share cleaning duties

This one is a 21 st century no-brainer. Couples who do an equal amount of housework report more relationship satisfaction and have more sex, so discuss how you’re going to fairly split the chores to make sure one of you doesn’t end up doing everything and you both get some.

Evie Kennedy is a media professional, writer and literature junkie. She likes to punch, kick and lift things in the name of health and is trying to write a novel.

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each otherCouples fight about any and everything. Money should not be one of them. In my house, I know that I am the one who is better with money. Therefore, I realize that the burden is mine to take care of our savings, retirement and all of the more complicated money-related issues. And I’m happy to do it. I know that the Mrs. will come to me for “help” every now and again, and I’m happy to do it for many reasons. Most importantly, her money is my money and vice-versa. I know that she would help me, and it is all relative. More on our personal situation later.

Separate Accounts or Separate Finances Entirely-

Many couples flourish by maintaining their money separately. Others use a hybrid approach by splitting responsibilities. I once knew a couple who had quite an interesting dichotomy-The man was an attorney, the woman, a Human Resources associate at a retail location. Needless to say, the attorney’s salary dwarfed the HR woman. They had been married for a few years when I met them. What is unusual to me is that despite her small salary (in comparison to his), the only bills they shared were the mortgage, utilities, cable and food. Everything else they took responsibility for on their own. While he was out writing checks to Ameritrade for tens of thousands of dollars, she was irritated that she only had $5 for lunch.

Even though she struggled and he thrived, both were fine with the arrangement. If one was in trouble, I’m sure the other would gladly step in and take care of things. But they found what worked for them and carried it out how they saw fit.

Keep a Dialogue-

If you are (or have been) fighting about money, I’m willing to bet that you haven’t been talking about money. There have been times in my own home that if I felt “out of the loop”, I have gotten angry. If we are short somewhere and will need money for something, I would rather know far in advance so I can prepare for it.

Talking about money (while keeping it civil) is the best way for couples to avoid a brawl. Even if it is “bad” news, deliver it calmly. Then discuss how you can overcome the problem. A solution is the goal, not bachelorhood.

Know (and prepare for) Your Partner’s Financial Shortcomings-

As I stated in the intro, I know my partner’s habits. I also realize where her financial weaknesses are and do my best to be able to counter them with good habits on my part. For a couple with both members who have financial issues, it will be even harder. But not impossible. Prepare for and expect financial speed-bumps, because they will happen. If you know that your partner may stumble through certain financial issues, be there to help them out. It will make you look like superman (or woman) and could even strengthen your relationship.

Help Each Other Out-

In addition to knowing your partner’s potential weaknesses, willingness to help will go a loooooong way. There will be times in life when your partner will not be making as much as you. There could be times when they are without a job at all. Everyone needs money to survive. So be willing and able to help your partner when they have fallen on tough times. Ideally, this should work both ways.

Have (and Stick to) a Budget-

By far the easiest (and most important) way to make a couple’s finances work without killing each other is to follow a budget. And it doesn’t even have to be a strict one. Not all budgets are stringent and confining. Even if you relegate certain responsibilities to each other as opposed to a written-out budget it can work wonders for avoiding a big battle.

Aren’t you much more efficient at work if you know what is expected of you? The same works for money matters at home. If you know what you are responsible for and cab properly prepare, problems are much easier to see coming and avoid.

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Most of us like to believe that we know everything there is to know about our partners. Part of feeling connected to someone is believing you understand them completely.

However, it can be easy to overlook the blind spots we have in our knowledge of other people.

Here are a few signs that you don’t actually know your partner as well as you think you do.

You’ve never met their friends.

Our friends are usually some of our favorite people. We choose them based on common interests, compatible personalities, and how much fun we have in their company.

When your partner doesn’t introduce you to the important people in their life, it’s hard to know what they’re like outside of your relationship.

“If your partner doesn’t introduce you to friends or family — and it’s been six to 12 months or more of dating, they’re manipulating your perception of them,” relationship expert April Masini told INSIDER.

It’s important to know what kind of person your partner is outside of the bubble of your couplehood. Beyond just hearing those embarrassing stories from their high school years, meeting your partner’s friends can reveal a lot about their tendencies and sense of humor.

They have a lot of hobbies and interests that don’t include you.

It’s healthy for two people in a relationship to maintain their own individual hobbies and pastimes after coupling up. After all, some of your partner’s unique interests and passions probably attracted you to them in the first place.

But when your partner seems to have a second social or creative life that is entirely separate from the one you share together, that could mean you’re not as connected as you think you are.

Research has shown that couples who spend more time together are happier. If your partner’s free time is filled with activities that you never seem to include you, it’s worth talking to them about how you can find more common ground.

They don’t talk about their upbringing.

If your partner doesn’t ever talk about their childhood, it could be a sign that there are things about their upbringing that they’d rather you not know.

“Being hesitant or unwilling to discuss one’s childhood almost always suggests that it was either chaotic or suffused with feelings of inadequacy and shame,” clinical psychologist Leon F. Seltzer wrote in Psychology Today.

Allowing your partner to talk about their experience growing up when they’re ready could bring the two of you closer. Until then, don’t make assumptions about their childhood until you know all the facts.

You’ve never faced a major crisis together.

It’s easy to be our best selves when everything is going right. However, people’s true colors tend to show when a major catastrophe strikes.

If you’ve never seen your partner handle a tough situation like a family emergency, health problem, or even a flat tire, you don’t know how they perform under pressure. Knowing how your beloved handles themselves on a sunny Sunday afternoon is one thing, but trusting that they can keep their cool in an emergency is quite another.

You never disagree.

No two people are exactly alike, which means that all couples are bound to disagree on something eventually. Never coming into conflict with your partner could mean that one of you isn’t speaking up when a sensitive issue arises.

“The biggest mistake that couples make is avoidance . We feel something but say nothing. At least until we can’t stand it anymore,” relationship writer Joseph Granny told The Guardian.

Of course, there’s a difference between a calm, constructive disagreement and having an all-out brawl. Constantly being at each other’s throats isn’t a marker of a good relationship.

“In healthy relationships, growth is very important, generally in the same direction, so you need to be able to have arguments , and conflicts and points of disagreements without killing each other,” psychologist Perpetua Neo told The Independent.

You don’t know how they spend their money.

No one expects you to sign up for a joint bank account after a few dinner dates. However, not knowing how your partner spends their paycheck could mean you don’t actually know very much about their relationship with money. And that can spell trouble down the line.

As the author of the book “Money and Marriage” Matt Bell told Forbes, it’s important to know your partner’s views on spending and saving.

“A lot of the fights between spouses that seem as though they’re about money aren’t about [money] at all. It’s actually a clash of temperaments ,” said Bell.

If you don’t know anything about your partner’s day-to-day spending or what their financial goals are, you could be in for a shock if your finances ever merge.

You don’t know their specific plans for the future.

Maybe you two have plans to go on vacation and have talked about moving in together someday. But do you know about their long-term plans and goals for the future?

There are plenty of ways your partner’s vision for the future might differ from yours, including plans for further schooling, their willingness to relocate for career reasons, and their timeline for settling down.

Knowing that your partner wants to have children or start their own business “someday” is a start, but until you know whether that “someday” means next year or next decade, you don’t have all the information you need to make the decisions you need to about the future.

You never talk about big issues.

If you know how much milk your sweetheart likes in their cereal but not how they feel about topics like infidelity, abortion, and immigration, you might have a problem.

Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University, interviewed a number of older Americans for his book “ 30 Lessons for Loving .”

One interviewee outlined the importance of shared values: “if you have divergent personalities and ideas of what’s right and wrong , and what you want to do and what you don’t want to do right at the very beginning, well, it’s not going to get better. It’s going to go downhill.”

They don’t pick up on your emotional cues.

If you’ve had a bad day at work and throw yourself on the sofa next to your partner, you might reasonably expect them to pick up on the fact that you’re exhausted and upset.

If they don’t, it could be because you don’t understand the kind of communication your partner needs.

“Your partner may love you but may not understand the extent to which you feel and think about the issue in question,” relationship counselor and clinical sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee of Eros Coaching, told Bustle.

You think your partner is perfect.

No one is wonderful 24/7. We all our nasty moments and embarrassing quirks.

People in the first throes of love have a tendency to gloss over their sweetheart’s foibles or turn a blind eye to their annoying habits. But sooner or later, we all have to face the reality that no one is perfect, even the people we love the most.

If you still think that your partner is somehow immune to normal human weakness and can do no wrong, you probably just don’t know them as well as you think.

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Getting Through Your Money To Do List Without Killing Each Other, what kind of title is that?!

First off, the title is not a cry for help. Taking a working vacation in Denver recharged us quite a bit.

One of my goals I made at the conference was to be more focused here on Couple Money on discussing issues that many couples deal with when they talk about finances.

I think many will agree that even if you have the best relationship, having different approaches to money can sometimes make communication (and execution) of money plans incredibly frustrating.

Working on Our Money Goals Together

Last week I shared how we created a freedom fund with Ally Bank. It’s one of our long-term goals that we decided to get on top of since things are pretty much settled with our major money goals for 2012.

We chugging along as you can see with our monthly net worth reviews. It’s taken us a bit of time, but we have a little system in place to help us with money.

Start Off With Dreams

For us, it begins with dreams/goals/whatever you want to call them. We look at a year from now, 5 years from now, and beyond. Why?

We do talk about this because it’s easier to get on the same page when you’re talking about what you want to do and why. Money is mentioned at this point, it’s just about what we hope to achieve.

Working Backwards to How

Only after we have an idea of where we want to go, do we come up with some plan on how to get there. This is where we discuss our approaches and work out on a plan to that uses both of our strengths.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Monthly Budget: I manage day to day finances through budget tracking services such as Use Mint to manage your budget “>Mint and he works out a spreadsheet that we share online.
  • House Hunting: He helped us create a doable housing budget and I search for places within that range.
  • Car Replacement Fund: I created automatic transfers for the banks and he checked out the cars.

As you can see it’s not a straight 50/50, we simply divvy up responsibilities based on what we want to do and we trust each other to get it done.

Each couple is different so I can’t wait to hear how you take care of your money goals.

Thoughts on Working Together on Money

For you all the couples out there, what money goal(s) or you two working on right now? How did you decide what to do and when to do it?

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

There are other forms of betrayal that can be just as damaging as an affair.

There are other forms of betrayal that can be just as damaging as an affair.

There are other forms of betrayal that can be just as damaging as an affair.

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

Infidelity is the betrayal our society focuses on, but it is actually the subtle, unnoticed betrayals that truly ruin relationships. When partners do not choose each other day after day, trust and commitment erode away.

Partners may be aware of this disloyalty to each other, but dismiss it because it’s “not as bad as an affair.” This is false. Anything that violates a committed relationship’s contract of mutual trust, respect, and protection can be disastrous.

Betrayals are founded on two building blocks: deception (not revealing your true needs to avoid conflict) and a yearning for emotional connection from outside the relationship.

Below are three betrayals that ruin relationships. Only by confronting and taking responsibility for them can couples reestablish their trust in each other.

Emotional Cheating

It’s very easy for platonic friends to bond in the trenches of work, day after day. Sometimes we call this person a “work wife” or “work husband.” Even friendships made at the gym or local coffee shop can threaten the bond at home.

These nonsexual relationships can lead to both parties sharing intimate details about each other’s lives. That doesn’t make it a betrayal. What makes it a betrayal is this: if your partner would be upset by the things you’ve shared or would be uncomfortable watching the interaction.

Tom first learns of his wife’s sexless affair when they hosted a Christmas party. Emily has never mentioned Chris, the new manager of her department. At the party, Chris seems to know about Emily’s entire life. He even brought their son Marshall a Bumblebee Transformer. His favorite.

Tom looks at Emily with a shocked expression. Her sheepish look sinks his heart. When he confronts her after the party, Emily argues about her friendship with Chris. She tells Tom it’s “nothing” because they are “just friends.”

She then turns against Tom and defends Chris. She accuses Tom of being irrationally jealous and tells him it’s the reason he didn’t know about Chris in the first place. Tom feels there is nothing irrational about his jealousy. Whether he admits it or not, his wife is cheating. The evidence lies in her secrecy.

5 signs your partner’s friendship is not an innocent friendship

  1. Has the friendship been hidden?
  2. Are your questions about the friendship responded with “don’t worry” or discouragement?
  3. Have you asked it to end, only to have your partner tell you no?
  4. Have your boundaries been disrespected?
  5. Is the friend the subject of fantasies or comments during troubled times in the relationship?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, the friendship may be too intimate. Use Dr. John Gottman’s Conflict Blueprint from his book “What Makes Love Last?” to help talk to your partner about this issue.

Conditional Love

Couples don’t feel supported when one partner keeps a foot out of the relationship. They don’t feel like their partner has their best interests at heart, that they have their back. When this happens, it’s not uncommon for the betrayed partner to blame a trigger as the real problem, when it’s actually the lack of commitment.

As Kristina reflects on her first marriage, she knows she began to feel betrayed when her husband stalled on starting a family. At first she thought he was anxious about becoming a father, but in couples therapy it became clear that he was hesitant to deepen his commitment to her.

Like an anxious lover, she clung onto him with desperation, terrified of losing her marriage until she realized she never really had one to begin with.

Sometimes a partner may pressure the other to marry or move in, believing the “next level” will deepen their connection, but it’s difficult for a marriage to succeed if it is built on a vow to create a strong bond rather than the result of one. The shallowness of the bond will eventually bleed through the connection.

Steps to create unconditional love: When couples ignore or dismiss talking about difficult issues, they are left with a shallow commitment. By using conflict as a catalyst for closeness, couples can intentionally use problems as an opportunity to discuss their goals, fears, and dreams. Couples that unconditionally love each other live by the motto, “baby, when you hurt, the world stops and I listen.”

Emotional Withdrawal

Emotional withdrawal can be something big, like choosing a work meeting over a family funeral, or it can be as small as turning away when your partner needs emotional support.

A committed relationship requires both partners to be there for each other through the life-altering traumas and everyday nuisances. That means celebrating joys and successes with your partner, too.

Everybody has different ways of expressing themselves. In a committed relationship, it is the responsibility of both partners to uncover and disclose these preferences to understand what the other requires to feel loved, protected, and supported.

In his research lab, Dr. Gottman discovered that happy couples turned toward each other 86% of the time, while unhappy couples turned towards each other only 33% of the time. That means unhappy couples withdraw 67% of the time! Emotional withdrawal sets in when bids are ignored.

Solution: To improve your emotional connection, focus on rebuilding and updating your Love Maps, cultivating a culture of admiration and fondness, and turning towards bids more often.

Do any of the items listed above feel familiar or make you feel uneasy? If so, you may be facing a betrayal. Maybe it’s as serious as finding discomforting text messages between your partner and someone else. This list is not about who is right or wrong. Like sexual affairs, these betrayals can be overcome if you recognize the problem and repair the relationship together.

Has your relationship experienced a sexual or emotional affair? The Gottman Institute is currently seeking couples for an international study on affair recovery. For more information, please click here.

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

When my now-husband and I got engaged, we were repeatedly warned about the three dreaded “Fs” that threatened to wreak havoc in even the most stable relationships: family, faith, and finances . I (foolishly) wasn’t fazed. I adored my husband’s family, treasured our shared beliefs, and felt secure with our careers and lack of debt. A few months into our marriage, I excitedly texted him a photo of a dreamy off-white accent chair I was lusting over. My excitement was short-lived.

“ANOTHER purchase? When will the bleeding stop?”

Was he insinuating I was spending too much money? HE was the one who bought a $900 suit a few months ago! Did he even know what an accent chair was?

… we went to bed with our backs to each other that night.

Thankfully, my husband and I can laugh about that conversation now. What started as a standoff over the necessity of apartment furnishings opened the door to some frank and honest conversations about fiscal behavior . Whether you’re getting married or moving in together , joining assets with your significant other can feel unnerving. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the transition smoother.

1. Cut the cord already

It’s essential to understand and acknowledge the powerful effect that your upbringing has on your current mindset. Consider the financial values you were raised on. Who made the financial decisions in your household? Was money openly discussed? Assess which behaviors do or don’t mesh with your lifestyle today. Just because you’ve always done something one way, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way out there. Let go of the “should dos” your parents, friends, and society have set for you and take ownership of your own financial health .

2. Know thyself

It’s important to come to the table with a complete picture of who you are fiscally. Before discussing finances with your partner, bite the bullet and assess your spending habits . Carve out a few hours to review your purchases over the past three months, making note of the 3-5 highest categories. Some areas may surprise you (flashback to the summer I spent $400 on Ubers in one month). You may already begin to see areas you’d like to cut back on. Look at you! You’re so self-aware.

3. Knowledge is power

Don’t wait until you’ve gotten married, moved in together, or otherwise committed your life to each other to share your financial profile with your significant other. Communicate often and openly about finances while you’re still dating. No one likes surprises (unless you have a secret inheritance, in which case, surprise me ). Be honest about what’s in your bank account , your savings and any current debt . Educate your partner about what it costs to be you (this cut and color ain’t cheap). This can avoid a lot of stress down the line.

During the dating phase, pay attention to how your partner spends money. Are they constantly living above their means? Do you generally spend money on the same types of things? Early into dating, my husband told me that no amount of money was too much when it came to flying home to visit my family. That was music to my ears, but not everyone is willing to shell out money for family. It’s important to take note of your partner’s relationship with money while you’re dating and address any red flags early on.

4. Get on the same page

Before you take that next step, discuss how your finances will work in actuality. The first big decision most couples will make is whether to have a joint bank account , but there are many more administrative items to flesh out. Consider whether you will have a budget. Which party will be responsible for paying the bills? Who will tackle the investing ? Recognize that whatever you decide now is not set in stone. Agree to come back to the drawing board in a few months if your current system isn’t working.

5. Check your attitude at the door

For many, talking about finances is a vulnerable topic. While you can’t control how your partner reacts to difficult conversations, you can control your own behavior. Lead by example by using gentle and non-judgmental language when discussing your financial concerns. Approach each conversation from a united standpoint by using “we” statements and remember to keep an open mind.

While it may seem counterintuitive, I encourage you to include your partner frequently in purchasing decisions. I’m not suggesting that you ask their permission every time you want to buy something. Rather, shooting them a text along the lines of “I’m thinking of buying this sweater, but it’s expensive. Thoughts?” can go a long way. While they most likely won’t have a strong opinion on the sweater, by including them in your decision making process, you’ve initiated an environment of respect and consideration.

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

Marriage is tough, sister. Some of this you know, like nixing the idea that towels will be folded a certain way, tolerating game night with the boys, or if you’re a guy, maybe you’ve heard there will be love stories on your plasma TV. But it’s tough in other ways that no one really talks about at weddings. Here are five tough things about marriage that every married person knows, along with how to be tough right back and kick ass anyway.

1. MARRIAGE IS NOT FAIR

Marriage isn’t fair. It’s not equal. At any given time someone is getting more than their share of the good stuff, and someone is picking up more than their share of the crap end of the stick. This is just life — it’s not a perfectly balanced teeter totter, and it never will be. Surprise!

Think of a game of teeter totter where the goal is to stay balanced the whole time, with both people’s toes touching. No one dips, and no one floats. Whenever someone starts to go up, the falling person whines and crabs about how unfair it is and the rising person feels guilty and nervous. Super fun, right? NO. The point of teeter totter is the joy of rising, the anticipation of falling, and the fact that you work together to keep the cycle moving.

So deal with it. Don’t spend any time tallying up how much slack you’re picking up so you can demand to be repaid. Just ride the flippin’ teeter totter, do your part pushing, and trust your partner not to bump you off when you’re on top.

2. MARRIAGE HAS NO FINISH LINE

My mother-in-law always says you can tolerate anything if you know when it will end. Marriage has no end unless one of you dies. But let’s try not to look at the coffin as a finish line with a ribbon across it that you can joyfully burst.

Marriage is a permanent shift in paradigm. The vows say that two become one. Not two become two standing very very close together, with an eventual plan to disentangle if somebody starts to stink. This is a magic spell where you throw away the antidote, a surgical procedure where you toss out the instructions for reversing the operation, and decide to live and die that way. There’s no being done. There’s no exit.

3. MARRIAGE HAS NO RESTS

Whatever you’re doing to stay married, you’re doing it every day, all the time. There are no vacations, no periods of time off for good behavior, no rest days. You’re not looking at other dudes/girls ever, you’re considering your spouse’s needs before your own always, and the beauty of it is that taking a break from it wouldn’t even be fun. You don’t yearn to take a break from having a functional heart valve, or some time off from your left arm. You don’t get tired of being able to see, or breathe. Marriage isn’t like your favorite song, that you can only put on repeat for so long before even it starts to annoy you. Marriage is like oxygen, where taking a break from it starts to kill parts of your brain. Remember: dating was not fun. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it any more.

4. MARRIAGE HAS NO METRICS

There’s no winning marriage. There are no medals. You can’t even see how you rate compared to other married people, because there is no standardized test and no score. Being married is like running an endless race, and you can’t see any of the other runners or any mile markers, and the only reason you know you’re still in the race is that you haven’t yet died.

You *can* compare your marriage to other people’s marriages if you want to. But you can’t ever tell if you’re beating them, really. Maybe under all their fighting is a secret weirdly passionate love, or under all their peacefulness is a cold fish and a dissatisfied fisherman.

If you’re lucky, you may someday hear a friend say, “You guys have such a strong marriage!” But then you have to wonder, strong compared to what? There are no inches, feet, yards. You can measure yourself against how good it might be, or will be. But you will never fully know you made it, and you’ll never get a trophy or a prize.

5. MARRIAGE HAS NO RULES

Unfortunately for those of us who like to be perfect, marriage is one big “your mileage may vary.” Sure there are some absolutes, but leading with “Don’t kill each other” won’t make for a very good wedding sermon.

For every engraving of the 10 commandments, there’s a couple out there swinging into retirement. For every exhortation to be kind, there’s some jackass calling his wife a cow and some bonehead that keeps tolerating it. I’m pretty sure no one has ever saved a marriage by slapping her husband in the head with a board and running off with the local insurance adjuster, but if you take a wide enough sample, lots of weird stuff falls within the range of normal.

Marriage is tough. It’s endless, relentless, unfair, and there are no rules or rewards. But here’s how to be tough enough for marriage: Answer to no one, and compare yourself to no one. Live for each other, and never stop. Embrace your spouse with such force that they become an extension of your own self, an extension you can never do without. Marriage is an opportunity to separate yourself from the rest of the world. To redefine happiness between you two, and live life your own way. When you’ve found the right girl or guy, everything that makes it tough to be married will make your marriage even tougher to break. Harden up. This is worth it. Get tough and be strong.

10:30 – 11:30 AM Auditorium

Tattoos? Alcohol? There are many grey-area topics in the Bible, and this session will bring those to new light as well as offer a time to share your views on the matter. These mornings could get feisty!

9 AM – 10 AM // Beach House

Have you ever been hurt or offended in church? Maybe someone said something that hurt you, or maybe you were excluded in some way. Maybe the church leadership damaged you and the wounds don’t seem to go away. Maybe it got so bad that you had to leave and join a different fellowship. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you, but you’ve been caught in the middle of other peoples’ conflicts. Maybe “church politics” has all but ruined your experience of church life. Perhaps there hasn’t been any “trauma”, but you find yourself generally disillusioned with church life.
In this seminar, Pastor Jay Mowchenko from Weyburn Free Methodist Church will seek to equip you with 5 habits that you can develop to navigate the messy world of Christian relationships with the goal that you will be able to be fully engaged in church family life with realistic expectations and an ability to respond in a Godly way when all hell breaks loose. (NOTE: These sessions will be entirely taken up with teaching – any personal conversation/counsel will need to take place outside of the allotted seminar times.)

Session 1: Who do I talk to when others hurt me or let me down?
Session 2: How do I get over the hurt?
Session 3: How can I stop the hurt from happening?
Session 4: How do I make a broken relationship whole, or stop it from breaking in the first place?
Session 5: How can I be satisfied with my pastor & church leaders?

9 AM – 10 AM // South end of the Dining Hall.

Monday:
Love & Money – Learning how to handle finances together, without killing each other. This workshop will cover the importance of living below your means, generosity, planning and saving for both the important and unexpected things in life, spending smart, fighting fair, and not only living but outliving the plan.
Tuesday:
Borrowing Basics – Learning how to steward the resources God has provided by understanding the foundations of stewardship. This workshop will cover understanding what debt is, how your credit score affects you, consumer debt, auto loans and mortgages.
Wednesday:
Freedom from Debt – This workshop will discuss the not only why we got into trouble but what are the options of as well as how to steps to getting out and staying out of debt.
Thursday:
Student Prep – This workshop is geared to both students and parents on they need to know before leaving for school. It will cover the student debt crisis, living on a budget, and dealing with your student loans once you have left school.
Friday:
Freed-Up Retirement – Planning Now for Beyond 65. This workshop is based on the Good Sense Life Curriculum that will help you create and carry out a plan that frees you to follow God’s calling for your later years – whatever that call may be.

10:30 – 11:30 // South end of the Dining Hall.

“Marriage Encounter” is a religiously-based weekend program designed to help married couples improve their marriage, grow closer to each other, and improve commitment to each other

Tuesday, July 19th // Meet at the front of the lodge
1:30 – 2:30
1:45 – 2:45

Join Ross Dickson for a one hour walk about through Arlington Beach Camp. During these tours Ross will help participants identify many bird and plant species. Ross is a Wildlife Technician with Canadian Wildlife Services and leads many birding and plant identification excursion in the Last Mountain Lake area.
Maximum number of participants is 15 per walk-about. Children 12 and under must be supervised by a chaperon at all times.
If you have them, bring cameras, binoculars or a spotting scope.

Thursday, July 21 // Beach House
2:00 – 4:00

These are examples of what Marie will be teaching you to construct. Cost TBA.

How to discuss finances with your partner without killing each otherHow to discuss finances with your partner without killing each other

Monday and Tuesday // Kautz Cabin
2:00 – 4:00

So you’ve fallen in love. Maybe you’ve even done the unspeakable and balloted for an HDB flat. Well, before you fork out that downpayment for your first home and show up at the Registry of Marriages, here are 11 issues you absolutely must discuss with your spouse-to-be.

1. How big of a wedding to have

Believe it or not, many couples are forced to come to an unhappy compromise when it comes to the cost and scale of their weddings. Parents who insist on big wedding banquets are quite common, but this can cause problems if one half of the couple wants to have a super budget hipster wedding on some HDB rooftop.

2. Your accommodation options after marriage

Most Singaporean couples move in together right after marriage, which means it is crucial to discuss where you will live and what your budget for a home is. If, like most, you will be buying an HDB flat, you will have to choose one with which both are comfortable budget-wise.

3. Your opinions on child-rearing

It is absolutely crucial to know your partner’s thoughts on children and, if you both decide to have them, to discuss what your approach to child-rearing will be. Will you pull out all the stops and spare no expense in giving your child the best possible education and opportunities in life, plus his own iPad and iPhone? Or will you have budget limits and expect your child to learn some independence? Also, how will child-rearing impact both your careers? Will one of you stay home for a number of years, or will one or both of you switch to less-demanding jobs to free up time for the demands of child-rearing?

4. Your lifestyle needs

It’s hard to know what someone’s lifestyle and spending habits are really like until you actually live together. Will you be able to accept the fact that your partner spends thousands of dollars on handbags, or that he or she insists on buying every single household item at Daiso to save money? If your partner insists on buying a car, will you be on board? What if your spouse-to-be insists on donating 10 per cent of his/her income to a religious organisation?

5. Career plans

When you are married, your career decisions will directly or indirectly have an impact on the other party. So definitely have a chat about what your long-term career goals are. You want to know if your spouse-to-be is determined to sacrifice everything to claw his/her way up the career ladder, if his/her goal is to retire early or if there’s a radical career change somewhere in the works.

6. Long-term financial goals

As a married couple, when one person retires or withdraws from the workforce, the other will be affected. Discuss with your spouse your retirement plans. If you have similar goals, you can work together to achieve them even earlier. However, if your goals diverge wildly, you will need to discuss how to come to a compromise without killing each other-for instance, if you wish to retire early but your spouse wants to live a lavish lifestyle and let your children look after you, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

7. Needs of parents

Unless both sets of parents have planned very well for their own retirement and need no financial or physical assistance from either of you, you’ll need to discuss how much to contribute to each of your parents’ households, and what will happen in the event that any of the parents needs a caregiver. There are also lesser obligations that can give rise to conflict, such as whose family to spend Christmas or New Year with.

8. Extent to which you will merge your finances

It doesn’t make sense to count every single cent as a couple, but at the same time, you probably don’t want to merge your finances 100 per cent if both of you are working. Open a joint account and decide how much to contribute each month. If that’s not an option, you will have to decide who contributes how much towards expenses like groceries, home loan repayments and so on.

9. Investments and assets

The savings and investments of one or both of you are going to be relevant to you as a household. If your spouse has zero savings, for instance, you want to know, since you’ll be the one bailing him or her out if he or she gets retrenched or has to stop work for whatever reason. It’s also fair if both of you are aware of assets such as property owned by the other party-this can, by the way, bar you from applying for an HDB flat together.

10. Financial liabilities

You may have to help to bail your partner out by dealing with financial liabilities on his or her behalf should something happen to his or her income. So you want to have an idea of what loan repayments your partner has to deal with, whether they be student loans, car loans or credit card debt. If there’s any chance at all that your partner can’t handle his or her debt and could go bankrupt, you also want to know sooner rather than later.

11. How you will deal with emergencies

Sure, you could get married and live out a peaceful existence as the couple of the century, with your brood of Instagrammable babies who are all going to grow up to become doctors and lawyers. But accidents and mishaps do happen, and you want to at least have an idea of how you’d handle forseeable ones.

For instance, in the event that either of you falls ill and needs to be hospitalised, you want to ensure you’ve got adequate medical insurance. Life insurance is also a must if you’ve got dependents like kids or aged parents.

Also assess the ability each of you to hold the fort and support the entire household if the other gets retrenched. If the answer is no, some downsizing might be necessary if one of you suddenly finds himself/herself out of work.

What are the most important thing couples need to discuss about their finances before they get married? Share your views in the comments!