Here’s How to Create a Married Couple Budget With Your Spouse

 Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on Here’s How to Create a Married Couple Budget With Your Spouse
Nov 122016
 
wedding budget

Photo: Getty Images

Some of us avoid budgeting when it's just us. Add another person into the mix, with his or her own opinions on how to spend dough, and others might rather go to the dentist than set up a budget with that person, even if it's our husband or wife.

"Money can fuel some pretty passionate responses and reactions, and each person is bringing in their own money histories and scripts into the marriage," commiserates Mary Beth Storjohann, finance expert and founder of Workable Wealth. "Talking and communicating about money without it leading to a fight can be difficult, and that's one reason why many couples opt to not do it at all, which means budgeting goes out the window as well."

But that doesn't mean you should avoid budgeting with your spouse. If having a budget will work well for you as a couple, there's a way to set one up that won't lead to fights and will lead to financial success. Here's how to get started.

Open up, and be kind.
When you sit down to have your budget talk, "couples should be prepared to have an open, honest, and non-judgmental revealing of their financial pasts," says Elle Kaplan, finance expert and founder of LexION Capital. Adds Storjohann, "review the state of your finances so both of you know exactly what your money situation is." Take note of whether you have enough savings as well as whether either of you is carrying debt into your marriage. "Having both of you aware and involved will help keep you aligned," she says.

But whatever you do, don't play the blame game if you have to make room in your budget for, say, someone's debt. "Playing the blame game will do nothing but halt this positive progress," Kaplan explains. "These issues are just financial problems, not character flaws. Remember, these are goals you can both work through together to better your future."

Set up specific goals.
"Couples should first prioritize their goals, and then tie them to spending," says Kaplan. "Couples should sit down and determine which budgeting issues are important to them, and which ones they don't really care about. You can stretch your budget by spending less on the unimportant costs, and avoid squabbles by allocating more towards hot-button issues."

See More: How to Create Your Wedding Budget

Then ask yourself, what exactly are you saving for in that savings account? If you don't know, the time to decide is when you set up your budget. "Are you buying a new home, starting a business, growing your family or simply trying to build your rainy day fund?" asks Storjohann. "Target specific amounts you'd like to stash away and assign a time period for building up the savings for each goal."

Consider the 20-30-50 plan.
If you're struggling with setting up specific goals, the 20-30-50 plan is another good place to start. As Kaplan explains, "the 20-30-50 plan is a great guideline to track spending. And it's especially beneficial for couples because it doesn't involve agreeing on every penny spent." Here's how it breaks down: "The 20 is 20 percent of your take-home income after taxes," Kaplan explains. "This portion is non-negotiable, and it should go towards improving your financial future together, whether that's paying off debt or investing in a 401(k)."

Next, 30 percent of your after-tax income should got toward fun or something you want. "Couples don't have to agree on everything that money is spent on, as long as they are able to keep it in proportion," says Kaplan. And lastly, 50 percent of your income should go toward essentials, such as mortgage payments or electricity bills.

Use an app to track your spending.
Now that you've set up a budget with goals, or a plan like the 20-30-50 one, it's time to track where your money goes to make sure it goes to the right place. "Leverage an online platform like Mint or You Need a Budget to start monitoring your spending for you," suggests Storjohann. "These apps will tell you what you're spending in categories like dining out, entertainment, groceries and more, and you'll be able to see how what you're actually spending measures up against what you thought you were spending." When you spot something that doesn't align with your budget, you can readjust.

6 DEADLY Mistakes Newlyweds Make (That Cause Drama Down The Road)

 Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on 6 DEADLY Mistakes Newlyweds Make (That Cause Drama Down The Road)
Nov 082016
 
Mistakes Newlyweds Make That Cause Drama

Photo: Getty Images

Unfortunately, dreaming of "happily ever after" as a newlywed can create unrealistic expectations and lots of problems down the road. So much of marriage advice today is too complicated, too pie-in-the-sky, and too out of touch with contemporary marriage.

Over the past three decades we have researched marriage around the world and discovered the six deadly mistakes newly married couples often make.

These six mistakes are not complicated to understand. Yet, newlyweds who make these mistakes at the beginning of their lives together will get off to a rough start:

1. You tally or keep score of wins and losses.

Couples should never ignore bothersome behaviors, but "keeping score" or holding grudges is not okay. There are no winners and losers in a great marriage. You can't hold grudges and you shouldn't cast blame when things go wrong.

Don't be afraid to argue and debate an issue. Just remember to fight fair and learn to argue effectively. It will serve your marriage well down the road.

2. You lie to your spouse or make promises you cannot keep.

Little white lies and broken promises erode the glue that holds marriages together. Even small lies can form a habit of dishonesty in your relationship.

Trust is the foundation of any lasting relationship. Dishonesty erodes the very essence of the bond between the two of you.

3. You make assumptions about what your new spouse likes, dislikes, enjoys, or thinks.

Assumptions lead to trouble — and men who order for their wives could end up eating alone. Ask them!

The old adage is certainly true that to assume is to make an "ass out of you and me!" And the corollary is, never ignore behaviors in your spouse that bother you.

Talk about them. It will strengthen your relationship if you talk out issues calmly and respectfully.

See More: 4 MUST-DO Tips For A Successful Monogamous Relationship

4. You assume role stereotypes early in your marriage.

Phrases such as "that's a man's job" or "that's woman's work" have no place in modern romances. Early role assignments based on stereotypical roles will only create imbalance and potential frustration later.

Take the time to talk about each of your strengths, what responsibilities best fits each person, and how the two of you can share the burdens of life together in your marriage. Think in terms of "us" and "we" instead of "you" and "me."

5. You mount up a "butt load" of debt when you first get married.

Racking up too much debt is pure poison when it comes to your marriage. Keep the use of credit cards under control. The single greatest cause of divorce and marital discourse is debt and other financial-related issues.

See More: These 20 Quotes Explain Why We Need Unconditional Love So DAMN Much

6. You assume that marriage is fair, just, and beautiful all the time.

Just like life, marriage comes with its ups and downs. If you go into marriage believing it will be like a Hollywood movie with roses, sunshine, no responsibilities, and no setbacks, you are in for a big disappointment. Every successful marriage has to deal with setbacks.

You see, successful marriage is not all that complicated. In fact, if married couples would simply do the simple things that matter day in and day out in their marriage, they would be successful.

The problem is, they don't!

If newlywed couples follow the simple advice we have outlined in this article, they will discover what we and other happily married couples have discovered over the decades — a successful marriage is an accumulation of having done the simple things. A great marriage is no more complicated than that!

See More: 11 Brutal Truths About Loving A Libra (Written By A Libra)

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your relationship work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

If You Don’t Do These 5 Things, Your Marriage Will Not Work. Period.

 Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on If You Don’t Do These 5 Things, Your Marriage Will Not Work. Period.
Nov 042016
 
If You Dont Do These Things Your Marriage Will Not Work

Photo: Getty Images

In our continuing search for great marriages around the world, we journeyed to the beautiful country of New Zealand.

Our interviews with happily married couples took us to the cities of Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Wanaka, Arrowtown and Glenorchy. We flew in a twin-engine plane over Milford Sound, rode a boat on gorgeous glacier lakes, drove a Jeep down country roads in search of great marriages throughout New Zealand.

This research excursion of ours covered nearly 18,000 miles by the time we arrived home. Does jet-lag come to mind?

While we interviewed a number of long-time couples in New Zealand (both married and unmarried), there are two that stand out the most. Allow us to share the marriage advice we learned from two sets of lovebirds (both married for over 60 years) — Hank and Hanny, and Harold and Dorothy.

In interviewing these two couples, we found that their advice for a successful marriage echoed each other! We never cease to be amazed at just how universal marriage advice is, whether from couples in New Zealand or the United States. There is almost a mystical consistency to the messages we hear.

So, here in a nutshell are the five ingredients of a successful marriage, as shared with us by Hank and Hanny, Harold and Dorothy, and all those other couples we interviewed:

1. Trust is at the heart of a great marriage.

Trust is built over time. In the best marriages, trust grows and is never diminished. There is no cheating, dishonesty or infidelity in great marriages and relationships.

And to those who say that you can repair your loving relationship after one partner violates the most basic trust — all we can say is, you risk joining the ranks of those couples who got divorced!

2. A successful marriage is easy to understand ... but difficult to put into practice.

Marriage is not for the faint of heart. A successful marriage takes hard work: be kind, show respect, engage in simple acts and loving gestures. In the end, a successful marriage is an accumulation of having done the simple things.

Never, ever be lulled into thinking you can take your marriage for granted. Work to make it work everyday of your lives together.

See More: I Refuse To Let My Wife's Depression Ruin My Marriage

3. Laugh, don't cry.

In marriage, it is always better to laugh a lot than to cry. Nobody ever promised your marriage would be great all the time. All marriages go through trauma and uncertainty. Your relationship is not alone in this. What makes your marriage work is how you react to the tough times — the uncertain times.

Sometimes, you just need to laugh a lot! Laughing cleanses the soul. Laughter purifies the relationship between you and your partner. How about more laughter in your lives together? Laughter could make or break your marriage.

4. Express your love (in small and big gestures).

The most successfully married couples tell us this — express love to your mate multiple times during the day in a variety of ways. If you truly love someone you will find many ways to tell them.

See More: 4 Ways To Find That Person You Actually WANT To Be Monogamous With

And there is a corollary — it is not enough to love someone and to express that love. The one you love should also be your best friend. In our travels around the world, we have discovered many simple truths, but most importantly, among these is that the one you love must also be your best friend!

5. Give and take.

In great marriages, you win some and you lose some. Never be obsessed by being right! Frankly, the most important notion you should take from this is that great marriages are characterized by "finding common ground" and "creating common solutions."

Share the burden. Don't always feel like you have to find the best solution by yourself. Search for areas of agreement. Great relationships share the decision-making. Being right when you are wrong is not a good solution to any debate.

Give a little and take a little. Arrive at the common ground that makes your relationship work.

See More: 6 Signs You're In Love With A SERIOUS Narcissist (And How To Deal)

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. We took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building A Love That Lasts. Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take this marriage quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

7 GIANT Warning Signs Your Marriage Is In Deep Trouble

 Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on 7 GIANT Warning Signs Your Marriage Is In Deep Trouble
Nov 022016
 
Warning Signs Your Marriage Is In Deep Trouble

Photo: Getty Images

There is nothing more painful than watching your marriage disintegrate before your eyes. It hurts. In fact, it may be amongst the most painful experiences you will have in your lifetime.

During our many radio and television interviews over the years, we are often asked this simple question, "How will I know if my marriage is in trouble?"

Our research with couples around the world has identified the 7 warning signs that your spell trouble for your marriage:

1. One or both of you show increasing disrespect for each other.

In failing marriages, there are growing signs of disrespect. Resentment and contempt have replaced patience and love. You go out of your way to avoid being together.

And sadly, you are happier away from your spouse than when you are with them. Having fun with your mate seems to be a thing of the past. When mutual respect and understanding fail, your marriage is well on the way to its end. Make no mistake about that.

2. You fight and argue much more often than before and do so unfairly.

Fact is, you have nothing nice to say to or about each other anymore. You love to nitpick at each other. Your teasing isn't fun, it is now painful and hurtful. You use each other as personal pincushions!

Sadly, your arguments are repeatedly about the same subjects. You are increasingly critical of each other, you fight constantly, and you no longer fight fair. As we have said many times before, it's okay to argue — all successfully married couples do.

But the truth is this, successfully married couples have learned how to fight fair. Their arguments do not become personal and attack oriented.

3. You and your spouse are no longer capable of communicating with each other in meaningful and productive ways.

Communication between a husband and a wife is of paramount importance to the health of a successful marital relationship. Failing marriages communicate less and less. There are fewer and fewer meaningful exchanges between the two people who occupy the marriage bond.

Worse yet, they don't talk with each other about their mutual problems anymore. Frankly, failing marriages lose the ability and the willingness to resolve their marital problems. They just don't care anymore.

When communication between a husband and wife shuts down, there is little hope for the marriage. Always remember this, no problem was ever resolved, no divide ever bridged, and no disagreement ever broached when people refused to communicate.

When communication falters, a marriage is in trouble.

See More: I Refuse To Let My Wife's Depression Ruin My Marriage

4. Sexual intimacy in your marriage is low and increasingly non-existent.

In a failing marriage, sexual intimacy is low. Sexual intimacy becomes more and more infrequent. Marriage partners turn into roommates, they live together in the same home, but do not share the intimacies of a marriage. Unfortunately, intimacy becomes a thing of the past.

It is clear from our more than 30 years of research that sexual intimacy is overrated when it comes to the best marriages. There are many other elements that are equally or more important to a successful marriage than sex. But make no mistake about it — intimacy is about more than good sex.

Intimacy is holding hands on a walk, snuggling in the morning, hugging a lot, touching each other, and, in general, feeling emotion for each other.

5. Your conversations and discussions are dominated by financial arguments

It is clear, when you argue increasingly and incessantly about financial issues, your marriage is in trouble. We have written extensively about this subject over the past two years, and if the truth were known, most arguments in a marriage center on financial issues.

Worse yet, you discover your spouse is lying about money and other financial related issues. They lie about the bills, the balances, the payoffs, and the commitments. A very bad sign, indeed.

It's clear that we live in trying times when it comes to the economy and finances. But the truth is that the best marriages survive and thrive during trying economic times. The best marriages find a way to deal with the economic uncertainties.

Failing marriages have not learned to cope with economic uncertainty because they have not learned how to communicate with each other. If all you talk about is your financial plight, you marriage is in trouble.

See More: 4 Ways To Find That Person You Actually WANT To Be Monogamous With

6. Your spouse cannot be trusted anymore.

Trust is the centerpiece of a great marriage! In fact, there is nothing more central to a successful marriage than the ability to trust. If you can't trust your spouse, whom can you trust?

When you or your spouse start to have thoughts of being unfaithful and think more and more about divorce, your marriage is in trouble. Let's face it, when the trust level between you and your spouse nears zero, there is little hope for your marriage.

7. Family members increasingly choose up sides instead of striving for common ground and common understandings.

Your immediate family find it more and more difficult to find common ground in debates, discussions, and conversations. Family members start to choose up sides. Winning and losing becomes the order of the day. Compromise is out the window.

Moreover, you and your spouse try to isolate each other from family and friends. Divide and conquer becomes the order of the day.

It's sad but true, those marriages that become dysfunctional display symptoms of division and lack of common understandings among family members. Family unity begins to disintegrate. Feuding families are not good for a healthy marriage.

To summarize, try to recognize the telltale signs of a failing marriage. Pay close attention. When you witness the signs, take action. Save your relationship if you can. Having a healthy and happy marriage is one of the great success stories of life. It is not too late to save your marriage.

See More: 6 Signs You're In Love With A SERIOUS Narcissist (And How To Deal)

Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts. —By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

6 Brides Share Their Best Piece of First-Year Marriage Advice

 Married Life, Real Brides, Relationships  Comments Off on 6 Brides Share Their Best Piece of First-Year Marriage Advice
Oct 282016
 

The first year of marriage is a wonderful time — as newlyweds, you're learning the ins and outs of your marriage and what works and what doesn't. But sometimes you need an outsider to put things into perspective. Lucky for you, we're sharing advice that will make your transition from 'me' to 'we' infinitely easier — here, six brides share what they wish they'd known about the first year of marriage.

It's not always as romantic as you imagined.

"Prior to getting married, I envisioned my husband and I taking time each evening to sit on yoga mats with a talking stick in our candlelit living room, taking turns sharing about our day, creating a plan for our future and checking on our progress. Ha! He just wanted to 'be normal' and watch TV in the evenings. I had to manage my expectations. Occasionally, we'll talk the way I always dreamed (on our yoga mats with a talking stick) but usually, he watches TV while I do bedtime with our toddler! Then, I'm often ready for bed myself. Married/family life is wonderful, but not quite as romantic as I somehow imagined it would be!" —Maggie

Choose your fights wisely.

I've been married five years and five months. Here's what I've learned: Choose your fights wisely. It is far better to have peace in your home than to be right. I learned that there is so much power and strength in silence. Sometimes we believe that the louder we get the more our point can be shown but your inability to control your emotions is a sign of weakness." —Elle

Take it day by day.

"The first year is tough on because your expectations get raised. If you remember that the man you married is the same amazing person you were engaged to just a few months ago, it'll go a lot easier. It's also helpful not to think about marriage so much as the rest of your life, but take it day by day." —Liz

See More: 6 Romantic and Unique Ways to Celebrate Your First Anniversary

The first year of marriage is fraught with misconceptions.

"My husband and I had been married about six months when he came to me saying 'I have something I need to tell you.' Scared, I held my breath. Then he blurted out, 'I am addicted to — pound cake.' Of all the addictions I feared sex, which we had plenty of, alcohol, crack. This was a first. Seems his mother had been touted 'Queen of Baked Goods.' Now as his wife, the torch was passed on to me. The first year of marriage is fraught with lots of misconceptions, tensions and expectations. March 2016 we were married 43 years." —Carol

Accept your partner's flaws and eccentricities.

"I've have been married since June of 1982. We both work and we share many interests. I think that we got to know one another much better during our first year of marriage, even though we had spent much time together since meeting in December, 1979. I expected my husband to change a lot and to become more perfect after we said I do. He has not changed very much, and he is far from perfect. I have learned to accept his flaws and eccentricities. For example, he gets very nervous and grouchy before we take a trip together and sometimes during trips. I expected this to stop because he loved me and because he likes traveling. Nope, hasn't changed!" —Janet

Say I love you — often.

"Say 'I love you' once a day. Actually, say it more than once a day! You can never express your devotion to your spouse enough." —Cindy

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.


7 Questions That Will Reveal The Brutal TRUTH About Your Marriage

 Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on 7 Questions That Will Reveal The Brutal TRUTH About Your Marriage
Oct 282016
 
Questions That Reveal The Truth About Your Marriage

Photo: Getty Images

I'm a relationship coach and normally when people learn what I do, it sparks many conversations and even more questions. A lot of the time I sense they want to know what category their own marriage falls into.

They want reassurance that all is well on the homefront or that what is going on for them currently is a normal part of married life.

Those who are very satisfied in their relationship tend to ask the most forthright questions, while those who have a sense that something is amiss are a little less willing to ask direct questions. They tend to allude to situations rather than ask outright.

There are many reasons for this, but most often when I manage to break in and gain their confidence, it's a sense of not wishing to face the truth.

There is a fear of admitting failure (society can make divorce seem like a failure), fear of actually having to take some action and finally because they have tried to address the situation with their partner only to be met with a wall of denial, or the "Oh here she goes again" reaction.

When you meet with this type of response, it leaves you questioning the validity of your feelings, your own state of knowing, and even your right to live happily, healthy, and contentedly in your relationship. So you shut up and put up in the hope that something will change.

You often turn your thoughts to happier times, the honeymoon period in your relationship, where everything seemed so perfect. There's hope that somehow by the sheer power of your thoughts you can recreate it. Sometimes, you future trip about how wonderful it could be when x, y and z changes.

You are not living in the present and not being facing your current reality.

I know I've been there in my own marriage and it's the story I've come to hear again and again in my professional life. I wish to offer you an insight into the truth of your relationship by laying out some examples of situations I hear time and again in my initial consultation with clients or in those conversations sparked by the introduction of my job title.

When I could get truthful about the state of my own marriage, I was then able to uncover the reasons why and begin the inner work required to make a shift in my self belief great enough to change the dynamic in my marriage.

See More: 50 Love Quotes That Express Exactly What 'I Love You' Really Means

Below are seven questions I'd like you to ask yourself — honestly. No justifying or not questioning the truth of you feelings.

Read each statement and let your gut respond for you:

1. Does your partner insist that there is "nothing wrong" with the relationship despite your obvious unhappiness and dissatisfaction?

2. Does your partner make your feel like you are the "real" problem with all your complaining, whining and expectations?

3. Do you feel alone despite the fact that you are in a relationship?

4. Do they feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells, censoring your thoughts, denying feelings and monitoring your behavior in order to maintain some level of peace in your relationship?

5. Do you spend way more time focusing on what you can do to keep your partner happy than you ever spend thinking about your own well-being?

6. Are you questioning your own worthiness and your right to have your own needs met in the marriage?

7. Are you spending the majority of your free time thinking about your relationship or alternatively when thoughts arise you find yourself trying to push them away?

See More: 4 MUST-DO Tips For A Successful Monogamous Relationship

If one or more of these statements strikes a chord, then your marriage is currently in a phase of instability. You are certainly investing more to keep the equilibrium than you are in growing the relationship.

The extent to which these situations are occurring will have a direct impact on how happy, healthy, safe and loving you find your relationship. It will, with no doubt, impact how you feel about yourself and mostly probably will have started to infiltrate other areas of your life.

The good news is you can actually make a positive impact in your relationship, transform it into a happy, healthy, safe and loving space once more — and the even better news is you have already started making that shift, by allowing yourself time to honestly appraise your current relationship status you have opened yourself up to making bigger shifts.

It takes the courage to be honest with yourself and the willingness to go inside and work on the relationship with yourself.

In my work I help people make those shifts on a personal level, without the need to involve their partner, because once you have an honest view of the situation and you are ready to face the big "Should I stay or should I go?" question. That is your own personal journey of discovery and as such should be undertaken alone.

See More: 50 Totally Clever Halloween Costumes For Couples

To know more on how Allison Reiner works and how she can help you, email her at [email protected]. Or to get working immediately, why not download her 5 step worksheet to help identify where you can begin to make changes? Click here.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

21 Reasons Marriage Is Pretty Much the Best Thing Ever

 Celebrity, Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on 21 Reasons Marriage Is Pretty Much the Best Thing Ever
Oct 272016
 
reasons marriage is the best

Photo: Getty Images

Let's face it — marriage ain't easy. It's a 24/7, lifelong commitment that isn't always a walk in the park and definitely requires work. But when you really think about it, it's also one of the greatest things that can happen to two people. And just because we love marriage that much, we've compiled a list of our favorite reasons why marriage is basically the best thing ever for your enjoyment (as told in dog gifs, obviously).


1. You get to kiss — a lot.

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2. You're guaranteed at least one gift on your birthday.

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3. There's always someone to celebrate holidays with — and help you deal with your parents.

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4. Couples' costumes are a cinch.

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5. You finally have someone you can communicate with without even talking.

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6. You can always count on someone to pick up something you need at the store.

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Tampons, a bottle of wine, chocolate, tweezers — all fair game.

7. You *ALWAYS* have a guaranteed plus-one at weddings.

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Even if they're not a great dancer, entertainment is guaranteed.

8. Your dog/cat isn't your only cuddle buddy anymore.

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9. You have a perma-roommate.

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Hopefully you won't fight over the remote too much.

10. You're guaranteed to get laid at least once a week (more if you're lucky/not tired/too stressed).

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Snuggling optional.

11. You automatically get a new family.

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The good, the bad, the ugly — and the adorable.

12. You get an exercise buddy 4LIFE.

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13. Going through hard times isn't as bad because you always have a shoulder to lean on.

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14. Sunday morning snuggling — need we say more?

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15. Someone is always there to cheer you up.

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With a smile like that, how could anyone be sad?

See More: 59 Adorable Examples of Pets in Their Humans' Weddings

16. Health benefits!

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In case you fall down and can't get up.

17. You have a great excuse as to why you can't go out tonight.

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Let's face it — saying "my girlfriend is tired and doesn't want to go out" doesn't cut it with your squad. But saying my "wife" doesn't want to go out — there will be no questions asked.

18. You have someone to share the burden of your monthly bills.

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And an extra bank account/credit card to boot.

19. You have a #1 fan and protector.

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20. Someone will always be happy to see you.

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21. You can be yourself — without (much) judgment.

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Well...maybe a little.

6 Women on What Saved Their Marriage From Divorce

 Married Life, Real Brides, Relationships  Comments Off on 6 Women on What Saved Their Marriage From Divorce
Oct 142016
 
What Rescued Marriages from Divorce

Photo: Getty Images

Marriage is a beautiful thing — but it can also be a challenging experience — one that requires work and commitment. To save you from the minor (and major) pitfalls of it all as you embark on the most amazing journey of your lives, six women share their stories of how they turned their marriages around when all seemed lost.

"We took a marital time out, putting lots of distance between us. I moved to Oklahoma and my husband stayed in Panama where he was stationed with the military. This space gave us both time to think and re-evaluate our relationship. After a little over two years the love was still there. Today after 43 years of marriage we are stronger than ever. That time-out saved our marriage." —Carol

"I need a full eight hours of sleep or I can't function. My husband is a terrible snorer. This created horrible fights between us to the point that I brought up the word 'divorce.' That shocked us both that the problem had become so serious. We didn't want to sleep apart so my husband got a little device called mu:te and it made all the difference." —Amy

"In June 2014, after 10 years of marriage and two children we filed for divorce. It was awful. We'd been having issues for years but stayed together for the kids. But filing and going through lawyers, court dates, splitting of finances — it was awful, especially since I'd recently lost my job. I began begging family members for money. It was so embarrassing. I made the decision that financially it was better to stay with my husband, go to school, get a nursing job and leave when I was financially ready. Two years later we are the happiest we've ever been. What saved us? I believe he got a glimpse of me being serious about leaving him if he didn't change. I had said it many times before but he never changed. He has now — I also now praise him as often as possible. He deserves the praise!" —Uzo

"After a few decades and seven children I was exhausted and angry from my husband's do nothing attitude. And I was very tired of picking up after the kids. This led to a weeklong strike where I did not perform any household chores. I made everyone sign a contract that they would help. Now the chore equation in the marriage feels equal." —Sherri

See More: 8 Ways to Have a Sexy as Hell Relationship OUTSIDE of the Bedroom

"We had a big lack of empathy problem. Our last ditch effort to save the marriage was to go to therapy. She gave us a homework assignment: 'Walk a Mile in the Other Person's Moccasins.' That is, I wrote a letter imagining I was my husband having to deal with me as a spouse. He wrote a letter putting himself in my position being married to him. Sharing the letter at the next session was revelatory. It started an ongoing conversation between the two of us. We now make an effort to constantly put ourselves in the other's headspace. There is always another way to look at something!" —Beth

After six years together we had an airless relationship. We existed in the same household and worked together on keeping our daughter happy but we had forgotten that at the core we were a unit. My husband came home one day and asked, 'Do you remember the last time we had fun together?' It was an eye-opening question. Now we have a pact: Twice a month, we get a babysitter and do something truly energizing — rock climbing, gallery openings, whatever. The point is we must always make time for marital adventures!" —Jenny

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

Daughter-in-Law 101: 5 Tips for Seamlessly Becoming a Part of Your Partner’s Family

 Married Life, Moms, Relationships  Comments Off on Daughter-in-Law 101: 5 Tips for Seamlessly Becoming a Part of Your Partner’s Family
Sep 292016
 

You've known your partner's family for a while now. Love 'em or leave 'em, becoming a part of his or her family requires a different, more flexible and more patient mindset. For all the brides-to-be who are about to become daughter-in-laws, here are some tips and things to remember to seamlessly becoming a part of your new family.

1. You are a stranger in a strange land.
Think of your time with your new in-laws as if you're traveling to a foreign country. His family's traditions and customs will be different from your family's. Have respect and remember that they've functioned perfectly well for generations their way. Don't go in guns-blazing to try to make them more like yours.

2. They speak a foreign language.
You may all be speaking English, but as a newcomer, you can't know the subtext of what's going on in a conversation: the meaning, intent, and history behind the words spoken are unknown to you. Don't assume you understand the deep meaning of your father-in-law's "Hmmm, that's interesting."

3. They have different body language, too.
When your mom looks at you askance, you know exactly what she's getting across. Your MIL? You haven't a clue what her raised eyebrow means. Don't assume it's the same message as your mom's raised eyebrow.

4. Let your spouse be your tour guide.
After a lifetime of living with them, your partner can read the situation, the mood, and the nuance far better than you'll ever be able to. For example if your partner says, "Hey, let's not push this point right now," or if he or she lets you know that showing up even just 15 minutes late to dinner with your in-laws is not cool, take the advice and adjust your behavior. If you're in doubt about what is going on, ask your partner to explain.

See More: The 3 Times Brides Should Definitely Listen to Mom During Wedding Planning

5. Let your partner take the lead.
It's best to have your fiancé make the plans with your in-laws and lead the difficult or delicate conversations with his parents. Weekly phone calls to say hello can be a great way to encourage a relationship (and all you have to do is just pop on for a quick "hi"). Conversely, you can take the lead with your family, so that it feels equal and balanced.

Allison Moir-Smith is an author and bridal counselor who specializes in engagement anxiety and cold feet.

7 Annoying Things People Say Once You Get Married

 Married Life, Relationships  Comments Off on 7 Annoying Things People Say Once You Get Married
Sep 162016
 
annoying things people ask when you're married

Photo: Getty Images

Ah, married life. Get ready for everyone you see after the wedding to ask you about it... like, literally everyone. From how different it is being a Mrs. to when exactly you're going to have a baby (yes, really), here are seven annoying questions or statements you'll totally get once you're married.

1. So when are you having kids?
Seriously though, why do people always assume that as soon as you get hitched you're going to start popping out babies stat? Besides the fact that it's none of their business, it's such a personal/awkward thing to inquire about.

2. Are you taking his last name?
God forbid you aren't then people will have a ton of follow up questions like, "Well what about when you have kids? Don't you want them to have the same last name as you?" And if you confirm you are in fact changing your last name and they've already been through the process they'll make sure to let you know what a bitch it is. Um okay, thanks!

3. So how's married life? Do you feel any different now?
Err, no? Should I? This one isn't as annoying as most, but it's like the default question everyone has to ask after the wedding so it gets real old, real quick. And for most modern brides and grooms, nothing changes except maybe the last name and the husband/wifey title. Oh, and the fact that you're stoked not to be planning anymore!

4. Are you thinking about buying a house now that you're married?
It's like, have you looked at how much houses cost lately!?! Plus, who cares whether you rent or buy? A marriage license doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a house with a white picket fence stat.

See More: 3 Little Ways to Make Married Life Easier

5. Just wondering, do you have a joint account? Or how do you guys split finances?
Just because two people are married doesn't give you any right to inquire about how they handle their finances. It's also the best when you wind up telling people that you do have a joint account but your own separate accounts too (especially the old fashioned folks) just to see their reaction. Shock! Pure shock. Followed by a crap load more questions. And if you only have a joint account together (nothing separate) your younger more modern peers will surely judge you (and ask more questions).

6. Oh hello there, Mrs. [insert his last name]
The singsong cutesy tone of voice that always comes with this statement just kills us! Then the person expects you to give a sweet little shy smile in response and soak up the fact that you have a brand new last name and must be so, so, so proud of it. In reality, you are, however you kind of miss your last name too and are trying to adjust to being Mrs. [insert his last name]. It's cool, but you still have your own identity, you know?

7. Just wait until you [fill in the blank]
Have kids. Are married for 10 years. Own a house together. Etc. etc. etc. It's like every married person in the world wants to warn you about the next step as a married couple. And it's never positive!

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