Financial Stress Is Killing My Marriage: How To Manage Finances In A Marriage

It goes without saying that a marriage ought to transcend the mere material matters that consume so much of our lives. The Bible does say 'Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.' (Proverbs 15:17). This being true doesn't negate the impact that money and finances has upon the marriage relationship.

Marriage is more than merely a relationship. It is also a financial union. Both parties bring their material wealth to the table and make some effort to combine them in normal living. For good or ill, you combine your assets and that means responsible decisions regarding those assets are a necessity.

I counseled many marriages that struggled due to improper money management. Here is a short list of the problems:

1. Insecurity. For men, often not being able to provide for your family what you want to provide bruises your ego and creates insecurity. For a woman, financial security often translates as an act of love. If a wife fears about where the next meal is coming from, or if the heat will be turned off, this will create insecurity for her.

2. Frustration. Frustration is bled off on each other, unfortunately. You become short, ill-tempered, or reclusive.

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3. Tension. Facing financial woes creates tension. If you have no idea how you are going to pay off a bill, or how you can keep the creditors off your back, you become wound up like a spring. You could explode.

4. Worry. This one seems obvious, but worry has the added impediment of often causing you to do irrational things. Fear blinds. Fear will even blind you to the love from your own family.

5. Anger. Always having to scrounge around for money often produces anger. Anger is often directed at others that you love.

6. Consuming. Money ought not to be the focus of the marriage. But it will be if it is mismanaged. The more important aspects of the relationship get buried underneath the weight of the financial pressure. You'll not be able to focus on them due to how consumed you are with your money issues.

There are other problems that financial mismanagement can cause, but this ought to be enough to bother you.

Having a good budget, however, can alleviate all of these pressures. There is no doubt that financial woes create anxiety and dread within your own heart. It's a very difficult thing to bear. Knowing how to manage your money will take all of this away. You'll certainly be free to focus on the more important aspects of your marriage.

Having your money under control gives you relief from all the pressures mentioned above. This allows you to develop the kind of relationship that you ought to have.

Yes, having a good budget could save your marriage.

Here are some things you need to learn:

1. How to set up a budget

2. How to stick with a budget

3. How to manage credit cards

4. How to make wise and affordable decisions

5. How to develop financial security

6. How to plan ahead financially

7. How to treat cash, checking accounts, and saving accounts

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While most people know communication is imperative to a successful marriage, what many fail to realize is that listening is just as important as (if not more so) speaking. In reality, marriage is an ongoing, daily process rather than a simple state of being that somehow self-sustains.

Why Do Married Couples Call It Quits?

To help determine why listening is as critical as having the opportunity to state your piece, you should first be aware of the primary surface causes of divorce in America, which are:

- Infidelity

- Family Stresses

- Abuse (emotional and/or physical)

- Mid-life Crisis

- Various Addictions

- Too Focused on Career Achievement

- Financial Disagreements

Simply considering that list, it is fairly easy to see how most - if not all - of these situations could be averted through better listening skills.

Hearing vs. Listening

While listening and hearing may seem like synonymous words, in reality they are related though require different sets of skills.

Hearing is nothing more than a physical process that most people are born able to do naturally and without effort. The activity is generally involuntary and passive - in fact, you could barely consider it an activity at all.

Listening, on the other hand, requires focus, concentration, and (ideally) active interest. This takes effort. Conscious, intentional effort. As such, it becomes more apparent why communication in a marriage requires listening rather than merely hearing the (interpreted) buzzing noise produced by your spouse.

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Listening Improves Relationships

Knowing that listening is not a simple, passive act, it is easy to understand that many people don't inherently possess the skills required to listen in a way that betters a relationship. In fact, listening properly can be a very complex and difficult skill for most to master.

It is no wonder so many marriages - in retrospect - seem doomed to failure from the beginning when you consider the critical nature of great communication. Most people don't understand how to listen properly - let alone possess the skills required to do so. Frequently, they don't even care. That's a bummer!

Good Listening Tips

The good news is you can learn to be a very good listener as an imperative part of your communication skills.

Allow the other person to speak uninterrupted (this is your marriage, not a TV debate). Make the effort to understand what your spouse is saying - ask clarifying questions to draw out the details needed for you to get the key points as well as subtle nuances.

Pay close attention to and learn (with practice) to interpret your spouse's non-verbal cues - such as voice tone, facial expressions, and body language. On average communication is only about 7% the words being spoken. The rest is non-verbal.

When you are listening to your spouse - or anyone for that matter - focus on what that individual is saying, rather than being distracted because you are "plotting" your response - especially if that person's words are making you feel defensive.

Listen with great empathy and sincerity (think, "what would it be like for me to be this person in the circumstances he/she's describing?) - and be respectful in your response when it is your turn to speak.

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Marriage is a union of two persons -a man and a woman - who have made a lifelong vow and commitment to each other to live together as husband and wife in lawful wedlock. Marriage therefore is companionship and it was created by God primarily for that purpose. Hence, the other reasons for marriage arose as secondary factors.

In a marriage, friendship and intimacy are the cords which keep the fire of love burning but these are enhanced through effective communication. There are eight major problem areas in marriage and communication is one of them.

Communication in marriage is not just talking for the sake of it but to talk to, and listen to the other with rapt attention and to respond appropriately. Communication does not take place when a partner dominates the conversation. Therefore effective communication is a two way affair. In simple terms, communication is the exchange of information between two or more persons in a relationship. In a marriage, the couple should strive to always ensure that there is a constant exchange of information between them.

To be able to communicate is to make out time to talk to each other, sharing views on issues and life in general. It involves sharing emotions: fears, joys, frustrations, achievements, victories, challenges and disappointments.

Communication enhances transparency by being each other's best friend, hiding nothing from each other. Transparency in communication reveals one's mind and intentions to the other which helps to eliminate assumptions and suspicions. It also will promote unity in voice, actions, direction otherwise the relationship may be pulled in opposite directions toward fragmentation and eventual disintegration.

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For communication to be effective, the following are essential:

- There should be no criticism of the other partner. Correction should be done by use of positive and not negative words. Criticism builds resentment and malice and may compel the other partner to withdraw into a shell and refuse to communicate anymore. Then little and inconsequential issues will build up in the heart against the other, to explode into a fireball when the heart can no longer contain them.

Some of the negative expressions to be avoided are:

You are never serious!
You are never ready!
Go to hell!
I regret marrying you!
Can't you be like Mr. Jones?

Expressions like this will always confer a negative verdict on the person. Therefore, correction should be done, preceded with complimentary words while harsh words and abusive words should be avoided like a plague. So while communicating, be careful how you communicate what you have to say and be careful when you communicate what you have to say.

- A partner should not be self-centered but should forget about himself and try to listen to the other's opinion and point of view. This is one of the ingredients of love in marriage. The focus of love is on the welfare of the other (the beloved) rather than the lover.

- A partner in marriage should avoid shouting at the other, insulting the other and arguing to win over the other. Keeping quiet and refusing to talk to the other or to respond to what the other is saying should be avoided.

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- A partner should say good things about his spouse such as '' I love you, you are sweet''.
Confess positive statements about the marriage such as '' I am enjoying this marriage with you.'' The couple should express their love to each other verbally.

- A partner should let the other party know what he likes or does not like. Do not assume that he/she knows because he/she is not a mind reader. Express likes and dislikes in clear and unambiguous language.

Apart from talking, there are many other ways to communicate and these include:

Sharing gifts and presents
Touching, kissing, hugging, embracing
Writing love notes to each other
Making signs and gestures

In conclusion, it can be seen from the above that communication is the livewire of every successful relationship and marriage. Therefore, couples must endeavor to speak to each other at all times. A sign of unhappiness in a home is when the couple are very quiet between themselves which indicates that they are not flowing as they should be.

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The daily grind and life's routine sometimes makes it difficult to tell that your husband truly loves you since the sameness of life sometimes makes you wonder. Yes he comes home every-day and buries himself in his home activity but the excitement of being with you seems to have waned and you question his love for you. How can you tell that your husband truly loves you?

1. What does he do for you? This can be a puzzle for a woman since we express our love with words while a man expresses his love by doing or by deeds.

a. Earns a living. Does he work hard at his job to maintain you and the children? Then this is his way of telling you that he still truly loves you. When a man truly loves you then he wants to take care of you. Does your husband provide for you or does he at least do his best to ensure that you are provided for. He can't always be able to keep you in furs and jewels but does he keep a decent roof over your head, nice clothes on your body and tasty healthy food in your stomach? Then he still truly loves you.

b. Errands. Does he try to lighten your burden? Does he offer to do things for and with you? If you need grocers picked up does he do that? Does he meet the needs that you let him know about? Does he come shopping with you even though he would probably prefer to stay home and watch the game? Then he still truly loves you.

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2. Time with you. Does your husband spend his time with you and the children? A man who truly loves you will want to be with you when they can. This does not mean that he will have no friends or interests outside of the home but it does mean that he will spend considerable amounts of time with you. Depending on his personality he may take you out often or just hang around the house with you doing some routine thing. If you can tell that he enjoys spending time with you then he still truly loves you.

3. Attitude when you are sick. If your husband still truly loves you then he will stick around when you are sick or indisposed. He may not handle your sickness well but he will not leave you to cope with the sickness by yourself. He will make an effort to take care of you and to do the things that need to be done. A man who vanishes and leaves you to cope when you are unwell does not truly love you.

4. Seeks your opinion. Does your husband want your input into various things in life? Does he still care about what you think and feel about him and the issues that affect both your lives? If he does then your husband still truly loves you.

You can tell that your husband still truly loves you by his deeds and actions. He may not be as lovey-lovey as you would wish but remember he is a man and men just express love differently than women. You can influence him to say it more often but focus more on his deeds than his words.

Saying or doing the wrong thing can actually cause your spouse to feel even more distant from you. You can make your spouse fall back in love with you, all over again.

You don't have to worry about whether your spouse is on the brink of asking you for a divorce. You can control the situation and use specific techniques to naturally make them fall hopelessly in love with you.

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