Sage Advice from Advice Column

I get a kick out of reading advice columns and, recently, it was a Carolyn Hax column. The title grabbed me: “Reexamine goals with ‘aimless’ husband.” It is about a problem that is pretty common in marriage – unclear expectations.

The question is from a successful woman. In her marriage of a couple years, she is the primary breadwinner and money manager. Her dilemma focuses on their joint goals. The woman explains that her spouse is slightly younger and is “the man of my dreams.”

The problem is that, in his mid-thirties, he’s “still struggling” to find a career. He has a lot of new starts but at the time of the writing, had a part-time, hourly wage job. Her problem is that they have specific goals. They won’t achieve those goals unless he make an actual income. And, when she talks to him about getting an income-producing job, he calls her a “dream-crusher.”

When answering, Hax questions whether the couple’s goals. She asks if her dream-man really shares the same goals. She sees goals “gap” and questions whether the two are on the same page about their future. Does he really want the same goals she does? Or, did “he just nodded agreeably to the dreams of the person he loves” to make her happy?

I think that’s a pretty common problem in marriage. In fact, in any relationship. How many times do you have a conversation with your sweetie – or a co-worker or friend – and think you’re in agreement, but later found out you weren’t?

In a marriage, it’s the kind of thing that can kill the love.

I find that, in any partnership, when you’re going in the same direction, and both partners are “in it to win it,” they go farther faster. When they aren’t, one person is spinning wheels and getting frustrated while the other is wondering why. Or just doesn’t care…because s/he didn’t want that goal from the beginning.

It’s the kind of problem the Five-Year Marriage® helps couples handle because:

  • The couple makes a joint agreement about their goals and they put it in writing.
  • There is an end-date to their agreement. There is something about a deadline to helps people get and stay focused (vs. open-ended agreements). The advice column’s “dreamboat” who can’t find himself is likely to be more motivated to get his act together if he knows there’s an end-date.
  • The couple has a vehicle in which to review and, if they get off-course, get back on the same page (Family Meetings).

What do you think?

About the The Five-Year Marriage®: It will be in bookstores in February 2018. Stay tuned to find out when and how you can get an advanced copy!

Marriage and Money: Are You on the Right Track?

Finances strain relationships

Marital Finances are one of the most important parts of a marriage partnership. Marriage and money go hand in hand. If a couple works together and plays their cards right, marriage can often be a financial boon. The key is getting on the right track and staying there.

In a study done by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston University,  researchers found that married couples can enjoy greater financial well-being in the present. In addition, they will enjoy greater economic benefits in retirement.

One way of creating that financial benefit is through the Five-Year Marriage®. It promotes the building of your net worth because finances are discussed even before the first vows are taken. When contracting their Five-Year Marriage®, couples focus on shared values, money patterns and financial goals.

Using a preset preset timeframe (five years) couples have time for planning, implementing and evaluating their finances. Then, unlike traditional marriages, couples continue to assess their finances with considerations for life’s changes (children, houses, jobs, etc.). Every five years, couples adjust their lifestyle design based on life’s shifts and changes.

The Five-Year Marriage® is one substantive way to get on the right financial track – for the present and the future. You and your fiance or spouse can get started by asking yourself these questions:

  • What are your top ten values?
  • How many of those values do you share with your partner?
  • What are your current experiences with money?
  • How much debt do you have?
  • Are you a spender or a saver?
  • Is one of you better at handling money?
  • What are your financial goals for the next five years?

Once you have a feel for what your money habits are, you can create a plan that will satisfy your current needs. Then, and even while you adjust for life’s changes every five years, you can get your marital finances on a track that will enable you to save for your later years.

No Sound, No Fury, No Marriage

communication in relationships

As I was reading author Laura Pritchett ‘s May 2016 article for the New York Times, I wondered: What would have happened if she has a Five-Year Marriage®?

In No Sound, No Fury, No Marriage, Ms. Pritchett described her twenty year marriage of silence. How could she have lived together with the same man and had a marriage of silence? I don’t know if I could have done it, but I know a lot of people have that or other incompatibilities in their marriages. Living together loneliness is a sad lifestyle that has a long-standing tradition through many, many generations.

But..WHY? Twenty years! Why does anyone give up so much of his or her life?

I recently had a conversation with another woman, Rita. She said she thinks that neither she nor her spouse were really ready when they got marriage. Except, Rita admitted, “I thought I was ready. I was twenty-five. It was time.”

What’s time got to do with it? Is it about biological clocks or the scourge of society toward singles or something else?

Marrying because of a non-nonsensical reason like “it’s time” reminds me of the idiom “marry in haste, repent at leisure.”

If Laura Pritchett lived a Five-Year Marriage®, she and her now-ex would have mixed it up from the beginning and gotten their differences out in the open. When they got to Chapter Five in the forthcoming book, the Five-Year Marriage®, they would have talked about their communication differences. Maybe they would have gotten therapy sooner. Maybe Laura would have seen her sweetheart as a good man, just not the right one for her. They might never have married each other. Instead, they might have found partners that were more compatible.

Why do we do spend more time planning a wedding than a marriage?

What do you think?