Couples Who are Committing Financial Infidelity

15 03 2020

A recent survey conducted by CreditCards.com, which included 1,378 adults, discovered that 44% of U.S. adults admit to “…hiding bank accounts or debt and spending more money than their partner is aware of.”  I was astounded when I read that statistic.

 

When asked why they do this, their answers included for “privacy” purposes or “a desire to control their own finances.”  Many admitted they spend more than their significant other would like them to or would agree with.

 

We know money issues are some of the biggest issues in relationships, especially marriage.  That is the reason why we dedicate a whole chapter to finance in our premarital book, Called Together and we also discuss it thoroughly in our follow-up book, Staying Together.

 

Some of the couples in the survey stated that they are keeping “secret accounts” or are carrying “hidden debt.”  It was also found that men tend to function in financial infidelity slightly more than women.  All of the above is a major sign of mistrust in a relationship, perhaps fear, a longing for independence, the misuse of finances or a sign of financial abuse.  It certainly is an indicator of something awry in one party or both.

 

Have you kept financial secrets from your spouse?  Here are a few reasons to never engage in this behavior:

  1. It will undermine the foundation of your relationship.
  2. You are living a lie and keeping secrets from a relationship that should have no secrets.
  3. Secrets always have a way of surfacing, at the poorest of times. It will then become far more difficult to try and deal with the infraction(s).
  4. Your partner might wonder what other secrets are being kept from the relationship, creating an unhealthy distrust.

And here are some reasons why this may be happening:

  1. You have an underlying fear of financial loss or separation of the relationship.
  2. There is something in your personal or family history that needs to be dealt with and healed.
  3. There is something in your marriage history that needs to be dealt with and healed.
  4. Money has become an inordinate form of security to you.
  5. Your spending is out of control and you are attempting to meet emotional needs in a wrong way.

 

It is interesting that the verse (verse four) before the one I share below is about marriage, and then Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

 

How we spend our money, save our money and give away our money says so much about our heart and who we are as a person.  Who are you when it comes to money?  Integrity begins with the use of one single cent.  If you are concealing finance or accounts and keeping secrets from your spouse, please take steps to rectify this.  Do not allow personal secrets to invade your marriage relationship.





Unchecked Anger Will Slowly Kill a Marriage

2 03 2020

I read this scripture early one morning this week, “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”  (Proverbs 16:32)

 

Are you controlling your temper or do you find yourself becoming inordinately angry at times?  Anger is funny in that it can pop up unannounced and uninvited.  You might be hungry.  You might be overworked or over tired.  You might be feeling extra stress.  There are emotional conditions that lead to more anger. Sometimes it can be good to do a bit of self-evaluation and search yourself concerning any of those emotionally related areas mentioned above.

 

In my booklet, Be Angry and Son Not, I defined anger as, “Our emotional response to a stimulus that we interpret to be threatening to our or another’s need for security and significance.”

 

Breaking that down…it would simply mean I have blocked goals.  Think about the last time you found yourself getting angry.  You most likely desired something and you were not getting it; your goal was blocked.  It does not mean you wanted something bad, but still your need was not met.

 

The other day my grandson wanted the blocks he was using to stay in place while he built a “tower.”  Because he’s only three, he had a tough time aligning the blocks so they would stay in place, and of course, they came tumbling down.  Then he came “tumbling down” with a huge meltdown.  No consoling would help; his goal was unrealized.

 

I understand we are no longer three years old, but we can have meltdowns too.  While there are some pretty normal emotions that go along with anger like, a higher volume with your voice, feeling tense, not maintaining total self-control and interrupting the conversation, there is also an anger in which we can sin by being verbally or physically abusive.  That latter type of anger is not normal and if that is your go to emotion, you are in need of help.

 

How often is anger present in your relationship?  A healthy marriage can tolerate certain outbursts as normal, but if anger is your “go to” mode of operation in order to get what you’re after, and you justify it as necessary or normal, then most likely your anger is self-motivated rather than other motivated.  You are using your anger for selfish means and you’ll need some form of intervention.

 

But now you must rid yourself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.  (Colossians 3:8)





Seven Nonreligious Reasons to NOT Live Together Before You Say “I Do”

24 02 2020

“In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.” *

 

Let’s face it, there are lots of Biblical reasons to not live together before marriage, not the least of these being something called fornication.  But are there other, more or less “nonreligious” reasons to not live together before marriage?

 

Here are seven:

1. You will totally rob yourself of the honeymoon phase of marriage. You have lived together which also, most likely, means you have been intimate.  You just lost any surprise for the wedding night and a very different, wonderful and intriguing honeymoon.

 

2. You will not feel like newlyweds once you are married. You lived together and all of that newness will be completely missing.

 

3. By living together before marriage, there is still a, “This is mine; that is yours.” Why?  Because you are not one, you have not committed to “ours.” Further, living together provokes selfishness. How?  You have not committed the remainder of your life to this person and you have not spoken any vow of promise, therefore; you are free to live as a single person lives without commitment.

 

4. You still have a huge, unlocked and open back door to this relationship.  Without a ring and a date, what are you working toward?  Why hang in there when it gets extraordinarily difficult?

 

5. It is said that no one should buy a car before test driving it. That is almost laughable.  A car is not a major life relationship, it’s a thing.  Marriage is so much more than a test drive or a thing or a material item one makes use of.

 

  1. What will you tell and what will you pass on to your children someday? Will you desire something different for them or will you recommend this arrangement?  I have never talked to anyone who desires to pass this news onto their children and/or will encourage them to do the same.

 

7. “Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect. Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabiters were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.”   (*New York Times: The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage)

 

Marriage is a commitment to a covenant whether one believes in God or not.  Marriage is God’s original design and idea, not someone’s good idea or a government idea for society.  Ultimately, one does not disobey something God created for mankind and feel good about it.

 

I am sure there are more reasons, but I hope something of these seven spoke to you if you are thinking about giving yourself to a cohabitation arrangement, please know that you are worth far more!





A Lemon Law for Your Marriage

10 02 2020

Being a used car dealer on the side since 1996, I am familiar with the well-known Lemon Law in our country, the USA.  Basically, if you have repeated issues noted by your new car dealer over a certain period of time you are able to claim Lemon Law status and turn the car back in to the dealer.  It’s a bit more complicated, but you get the idea.

 

A car is a thing, a liability really.  It has no life of its own.  It cannot argue or complain, but it can be a complete headache or nightmare, depending on its reliability.  A car is an object of use, but truthfully, we must maintain it in order to sustain that ongoing use.  You must change the oil, rotate the tires, change the filters and have systems checked for a fully functional automobile.  And since their invention, they have become extremely complicated with computers and automated technology.

 

Marriage can be complicated as well.  Everyone has their own quirks, misfires and needed maintenance.  Marriage may not make it if it’s completely neglected.  As quickly as some couples divorce, I can only imagine they are enacting a, so to speak, marriage Lemon Law of their own creation, saying, “I have tried over and over and it just keeps breaking down.”  And then the proverbial, “I need to return it for a new one, a replacement.”

 

There is no Lemon Law for marriage and I am not proposing there should be one either.  In fact, I think just the opposite.  I believe we can enlist help for our own growth and then the growth of our marriage.  After years of marriage counseling and hearing couple after couple state that their marriage is failing miserably, I have come to realize another truth.  It is never the marriage in and of itself; it is the two persons in the marriage.

 

So, rather than enacting the Lemon Law for your marriage, why don’t you seek advice, counsel and input for your life.  Perhaps it’s not the marriage or your marriage partner, perhaps it’s you…?





Becoming a Mentor Couple

19 01 2020

We have come face-to-face with so many different life problems while involved in pre- and postmarital counseling with engaged couples.  For example, a young woman’s sexual abuse as a child; a young man’s addiction to pornography; pregnancy; extreme debt; the recent loss of a parent and more.  These couples found themselves facing huge life challenges before saying “I do.”

 

Every couple we have ever faced presented new issues, new challenges.  Walking them through these life challenges was our privilege as premarital counselors.  We were not serving them as professionals, but rather as a mentor couple, and spiritual parents.  What an honor to walk with them, to pray with them and then to see answers to our prayers together.  It was a learning experience for them and for my wife and me.

 

Life has its twists and turns, but when you are able to walk alongside someone else serving and supporting them through those times, you are actually helping them to make it, to be successful and to grow toward maturity.  Our book, Called Together, is a resource to enable other couples to do exactly this.

 

If you and your spouse have a heart to enter this type of ministry, we have a suggestion for you.  You can take our free four-part training found on YouTube or you can attend our live training scheduled for February 22 at Westgate Church in Ephrata, PA. I will leave the live links on the bottom of this blog.

 

We have been involved in this ministry for many years and find great satisfaction and challenge in it.  Walking couples through their histories, their likes and dislikes, their hurts and their joys, all the while, moving toward marriage is simply a satisfying venture.  Helping to build a firm foundation for their future in the areas of communication, finances, sex and so much more brings with it a certain satisfaction.  As well, we schedule several postmarital check-ups with them after they say “I do.”  Follow-up is, as they say, where the rubber meets the road.

Mentoring training 

Called Together resource(s)

 





When We Should Just “Shut up” in Marriage

6 01 2020

Are there times in marriage when we simply should not be communicating or using more words?  I want to propose that there are those times and we should use them wisely.  The book of Ecclesiastes reveals, “…A time to be quiet and a time to speak.”

 

Consider these five times that silence just might be described as golden.

 

  1. When your partner desires some quiet time or some alone time.

 

  1. When a disagreement is getting out of hand, it most likely is a good time for a communication time out.

 

  1. When one partner is feeling a bit snarky, it’s best not to respond.

 

  1. When an ongoing issue keeps surfacing we may need to back off and give it some time, or agree to disagree.

 

  1. When it’s time to close our day and go to sleep.

 

Use your quiet times wisely because sometimes, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:28





God Designed You for More Than You Know; You Can Make a Difference

9 12 2019

Do you know who Mary Kay Ash was?  She worked at Stanley Home Products at one time and even though she spent many years there and trained many others, she was continually overlooked for promotion.  She ended her job and wrote a book.  That book was written to help women in business.

 

Born May 12, 1918 in Texas, she began her own cosmetic business at age 45.  Her initial investment was $5,000 in 1963.  The company turned a profit the first year.  Today there are 1.6 million salespeople working for Mary Kay Inc.  The rule she ran her company by?  The Golden Rule: “Treat others as you want to be treated.”  Annual sales now exceed $2.2 billion.  Mary Kay once said, “One person can make a difference.”

 

Mary Kay believed that it was her job to make others feel important.  Her life slogan was, “God first, family second, career third.”  She knew that encouragement was crucial in relationship.

 

Who do you need to encourage today?  Send them a text of encouragement.  Tell them they are worth far more than they know.  Tell them God had a specific design in mind when He created them.  You can make a difference in the life of another today, because, “One person can make a difference.”








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