Psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz says that money and spending are the top causes of arguments between spouses today, and for good reason. Usually when spouses argue over money, both individuals have two very different "risk tolerances." In other words, one partner tends to get much more anxious about spending than the other.
So what's the best solution if you both have a different so-called "risk tolerance?" Dr. Gail Saltz recommends that couples sit down and have an open, honest dialogue about finances. If, for example, your husband is concerned about spending for an upcoming vacation, ask him what he's willing to spend overall. Establish a lump sum rather than detailing the cost of individual items. This lump sum will act as a budget; a calming device for people who are anxious about money.
If you show your partner that you're willing to stay in a budget, even if you may need to compromise some of the things you want out of your vacation, event or item, you'll save yourself quit a bit of heartache and stress. It's all about compromising!
Get more of Dr. Gail Saltz's advice for maintaining a relationship here:
Listen To Your Partner
Listen to and respect your partner. Nothing is more frustrating than feeling you are not heard. Let your significant other know that you hear what they are saying, and that you understand how they are feeling. While you listen, try to stand in your partners shoes in order to understand where they are coming from -- it will help you to resolve differences.
Don’t Attack Your Partner
Never attack your partner with abuse – this includes meanness, cursing, screaming, or threatening to leave them. Treat them with the same respect you would want and ask for yourself.
Prioritize Your Intimate Time
We all get busy and tired, and it's easy to let having sex go as something that doesn't matter -- but it does. Carve out time, even if its planned and not spontaneous, to have a date night of some sort, and have sex. Talk to each other about what you like, about loving them, liking them, appreciating them. Make it a point to hug, hold hands, and nuzzle. These physical displays of affection keep the closeness alive and make both people feel loved.
Talk About Money
Money is the number two source of fights and divorce among couples (second only to sex). Have a monthly conference where you both talk about where you are financially, and where you want to be. Discuss planning for children. Decide which expenses will be a priority when money gets tight (before it gets tight). Look at what was spent, any debt issues, and plans for investing. Set aside the time to go over this -- don’t talk about money off the cuff or in the bedroom.
Practice The Art Of Compromise
Often enough couples don’t agree about many things, but it's the couples who really work to compromise with each other that go the distance. If you come ready for war and intent on winning, in the end you will actually lose your relationship. Instead, come ready to hear each other out and work to accommodate some of what each of you want, or take turns on who gets what they want each time.
Make Yourself Happy
We often believe that it's our partner who could and should make us happy. But really, everyone goes through periods of being unhappy that are not necessarily a reflection of a problem with our relationship, or certainly not a deal breaker. Too often couples break up because they rely on their partner for happiness. If you are emotionally struggling, it's important to look to yourself and examine what might be going on.
Protect Your Relationship From Infidelity
Some situations put yourself or your partner at high risk. Avoid confessing problems in your relationship to a special friend of the opposite sex with whom you feel close. Don’t go out drinking alcohol alone with this "friend" either. If you do develop a friendship, include your spouse in your dinner or activities with them. Don’t act privately with a friend in a way that you never would if your spouse were there.
Establish Family Traditions
Traditions can be the glue that provides a sense of family, belonging and love. Whether it’s about a holiday that you do together a in certain way, or weekend dinners that you create tradition around, having a sense of "this is what we do to celebrate together" not only makes the two of you feel closer, it makes a whole family feel closer.
Go To Counseling
Couples who are struggling often wait until they both really want a divorce before they go to therapy as a last ditch effort so they can tell themselves that they've tried everything. It's very difficult to make headway with a couple that has one foot out the door. Before you feel contempt for your partner, before you're rolling your eyes at everything they say, and before it’s hard to even be in the same room with them, come to therapy with an aim to set yourselves back on track to enjoy your marriage.
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