Is it time to take your relationship to the next level? Relax Teams talked about the most important things you should know before you say "I Do".
Healthy vs Unhealthy vs Abusive Relationships
With Monica Connell
What you need to look for and strive for is to be in a healthy relationship.
Factors of a Healthy Relationship
- Problems can be discussed openly and calmly without judgment.
- You are able to share how you feel and what you think without being judged or without fear of what your partner is going to say.
- There is respect, honesty, and trust from both sides and there is value for each other whether you agree or not.
- Both of you own up to your mistakes and show accountability.
- There is equality where decision making is together regardless of finances or who the breadwinner is. When you go into a marriage and when you become a unit, make sure that you are aware that decision making should be shared.
Moreover, make sure that even though you will be considered a unit or a family, you still want to be able to respect each other's time apart and respect each other's individuality. You can be in a relationship but have your own life and have your own hobbies.
Finally, be aware that when things start to shift, the whole spectrum that goes along with that can go from healthy to unhealthy and to harmful and abusive.
A relationship with someone who is unhealthy or if the relationship itself is identified as unhealthy, there is poor communication instead of harmful communication or threats. It means not addressing problems, not listening to each other, and other behavior that is inconsiderate.
There is a lack of trust whereas an abusive relationship would have accusations and blame. An unhealthy relationship would just have a lack of trust or being in between.
In an unhealthy relationship, there could be dishonesty between one partner or both partners.
There is a struggle between who is making decisions and who is not and possibly a lack of individuality. Not being able to have your own friends, have hobbies, or the things that you enjoy, or have your own work-life is unhealthy.
Abusive relationships are always with one person who has a significant amount of power or control. Within an abusive relationship or a relationship with someone who is abusive, there would be harmful communication. Being aware of how to look for the red flags of an argument - screaming, threats, disrespect, accusations, blame is very important. Being mindful and aware that seeing things over and over and over again is a pattern and it will become a cycle.
Look for those patterns and identify if there is any isolation. If you're noticing that over time in the relationship you don't have the same friendships or you don't have the same relationships with your family anymore, that's something that you don't want to be in.
You need to be aware if forgiveness is one-sided because in a healthy relationship it would need to be both. It would need to be a shared quality. Make sure that when you're giving, you're also receiving.
On television and in movies, it's very typical that somebody is in an unhealthy relationship. They don't realize it until a good friend sees it and says “hey, that's not right!”
It can take a really long time to be able to see that you are being harmed. The biggest thing we hear is that people wish that they left the relationship sooner because they fought so hard. So if you know someone is having a tough time but they haven't talked about it, try to use open-ended questions to open the opportunity for them to share.
Marriage and Finances
With Dennis Harabin
There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to marriage and handling finances.
People often prepare for just the wedding not realizing that the wedding is just for a night. A wedding is the start of a long-term marriage that you should prepare for and the preparation always depends on what situation you are in.
Is this your first time getting married? If you're getting married for a second time then there are more financial impacts. Are you currently receiving alimony, will that stop once you remarry? Will the child support continue?
Married Filing Jointly vs Separately
See More: Understanding Tax Filing Status
Getting married has an impact on your tax filings as to which brackets you are going to fall in. There are ways that you can move the finances between your husband or your wife but the big thing to understand is - you need to be all in or not.
If you are all in, you become a team and you can leverage the power because the financial world is designed around you.
Yes, there are a lot of tools available should you still want to keep to yourselves as two separate individuals. However, a lot of the tax codes and insurance products are not built that way and that is how they end up crushing you and stopping you from thriving. Knowing how to use the tools and knowing where you are going is essential.
You need to ask yourself, do you really need that piece of paper or not? Because if you are going to keep yourselves as two separate financial entities, the world is not built that way.
See Related Article: Consequences of Married Filing Separately
Credit Score After Marriage
When you get married, there can be a negative impact in terms of credit scores and even student debts. When someone who has a ton of student debt gets married, the certain payment plan they have goes away because even though it is not your husband's debt or your wife's debt, their salary impacts that.
All it takes is a little bit of planning ahead of time, a little bit of talking about it, and knowing how you're going into it. Too many people come into debt blindly and they don't know how they got into that situation.
When people get married, there is so much in the shower, different surprises. What a good gift for someone is to have them sit down and go through with their financial situation.
1 plus 1 doesn't need to equal 2, it could equal 6 if you do it right and leverage what you are with your marriage. On the other hand, 1 plus 1 could equal 1.25 if things happen not just from a financial standpoint but also from a planned perspective.
The key is 1 plus 1 rarely equals 2 when it comes to two people coming together financially, you want it to equal 6 and not 1.25 as it can impact the stability of a marriage down the road.
Like with the saying, from abundance, he took abundance, and still abundance remains. A little proper planning can really help you to have a better financial situation for the rest of your marriage, and the rest of your life.
God on Marriage and Love
With Pastor Dan Fenco
Pastor Dan Fenco is a pastor for Camino Fed Lutheran Church - a bilingual community in Bernardsville in Somerville. He has been a pastor for more than 10 years and has helped many couples understand what marriage is all about from God's perspective. He has been married for 16 years and has three children.
Marriage is not just the wedding day but the future and from God's perspective it is a future together for the rest of your life.
Often people say, “in my relationship I give 50 and the other person gives 50 and then we make up a hundred and that's good.” But that's not really how it works. We should come into the marriage with “I will give a hundred percent and you give your hundred percent” and that's how it is.
A lot of people ask what is the key to a happy and long marriage. The usual answer? Marrying the person that you love obviously. It helps to marry someone that makes you laugh, it helps to marry someone that you trust, it helps to marry someone that you care about.
However, the key to a long marriage is forgiveness, to forgive a lot.
The reality is that in marriage, we choose to live in the closest possible proximity to another human being. What you quickly discover is that this other human being regardless of how gorgeous, how funny, how smart, how amazing they are, most of the time this other person is profoundly imperfect, impeccably flawed, regularly selfish like a messed up mortal changing, and aging person all the time. So in order for your marriage to make it, you have to learn to forgive and to forgive a lot.
It is waking up every morning staring at your spouse through your sleepy eyes. And then as your feet hit the ground saying to yourself, I would love my spouse even if it comes at a great cause to myself.
However, there is a thin line between forgiving someone and abuse. We need to forgive a lot but we also need to understand that if there are behavior patterns, we need to seek help.
It is interesting that when the bible talks about love it doesn't talk about the butterfly feeling that you get on your stomach (which is good, nothing wrong with that) but when the bible talks about love, when God talks about love, it's about action, patience, and kindness. You need to be patient, you need to be kind, you need to be loving, you need to care, you need to protect. And so when God gives us a lot of things to do, it also gives us a way to help us achieve love, that's where Jesus comes in.
Marriage is work a lot of work. A couple of years ago, Ben Affleck was in an awards show and he thanked his then-wife by saying that the essence of their marriage is work. People then got upset on the internet. However, he didn't mean labor work and what he said is true, marriage does take a lot of work.
It does take work to forgive, it does take work to be patient. It does take work to find an accountant to do your taxes. The same thing with marriage, it does take work on yourself to understand that there are some things that you need to work on your relationship not only with your partner but also with your children.
Marriage is work and it's a healthy work that we need to do. It does take work to put ourselves in there, to forgive, to be patient, to love one another, to really care, to protect, and do all those things. And God is always with us along the way helping us.
Watch the Lunch and Learn below: