Couples

Realtionship IQ Quiz

Having marriage problems? Are you considering divorce? Well, it’s time you put your assumptions about marriage issues to the test! Take the Relationship IQ Quiz and find out what makes a healthy marriage, what causes divorce, and what most people do after infidelity occurs.

If you’re looking for a divorce quiz, or trying to decide if you should get divorced, then this is a great place to start. As always, remember, it’s never too late to save a marriage from divorce.

By Michele Weiner-Davis

Answer "True" or "False" to each of the following questions:

  1. Conflict and anger are signs that your relationship is failing.
  2. You're more likely to divorce if there are differences in your backgrounds, likes and dislikes and interests.
  3. In healthy relationships, major disagreements get resolved over time.
  4. In healthy marriages, spouses have the same definition of what it means to be loving.
  5. People just fall out of love.
  6. Affairs don't have to ruin marriages.
  7. Most people are much happier in their second marriages because they've learned from their mistakes.

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Money Questions for Dating Couples

Howard Dayton, President of Crown Financial Ministries, has released a new book entitled Money & Marriage God’s Way (Moody Pub, Chicago, 2009). I had the privilege of contributing to the chapter on stepfamilies. The book presents an outstanding overview of wise financial practices based on God’s purposes for money. Howard also presents a list of questions couples should discuss before they marry. Of course, every couple has specific circumstances that they should address before they marry, but in general these questions are a must to discuss. Print this list and starting talking.

Specific questions for pre-stepfamily couples:

1.          What are your financial obligations to your ex-spouse (child support, alimony, other)?

2.          How likely are child support payments to increase or decrease in the future? When will they end? Are you responsible for any additional expenses, such as education, for them?

3.          When one of us dies, who will receive the assets brought into our marriage? What happens to them when the surviving spouse dies or remarries? What are the financial plans for your children should you die or be unable to work?

4.          What expectations do you have for me to support your family?

5.          Who is responsible for the children’s health insurance? If an ex-spouse is unwilling to do their part, how will we handle it?

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Time Together

Since the publication of my book, Divorce Busting, I have been regularly interviewed by reporters about what makes marriages work. They ask, "Michele, why do you think so many marriages are ending in divorce? What is at the root of all of this?" Although the writers expect a complicated psychological response, to me, it's very simple.

I'm convinced that the single biggest contributor to the breakdown in relationships today is the fact that couples aren't spending enough time together. They aren't making their relationships a number one priority. The relationship gets put on the back burner. Everything else seems more important - careers, children, hobbies, community involvement, and personal pursuits. And when relationships aren't attended to as they should be, trouble sets in.

People who don't prioritize their relationships tell me that they often end up fighting during the little time they do have together. They argue about day to day issues; unpaid bills, uncleaned houses, unruly children. And it's no wonder. It's difficult to do what needs to be done to keep life moving in a productive direction, let alone try to coordinate your efforts with your partner's when you're under a time crunch. But the truth is, arguing about "who's doing what around the house," is really just a symptom of deeper problems - isolation, loneliness and resentment. You argue about the mundane issues when your emotional needs aren't being met. The coke can left in the living room becomes a symbol of a lack of caring for you.

And here's the Catch-22. If you and your spouse are arguing a lot, you don't feel like spending time together. In fact, you want to spend as little time as possible with him or her. Unfortunately, avoidance only makes matters worse. More distance, more tension, less cooperation, more conflict, and so on.

Some couples who don't prioritize their relationships don't argue when they're together. They simply have little to do with each other. They resign themselves to the distance and experience bouts of resentment from time to time. Leading parallel but separate lives, they start to fall out of love with each other or become strangers. "I just don't love him anymore," she says. Or, "We've just grown apart," says he. Distance in relationships is love's silent killer.

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Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime

The engagement parties, the wedding showers, the big day itself, and the honeymoon have all come and gone. They were wonderful, the memories are still fresh, and you want to keep the delight alive as long as you can.

You’ve heard that relationships change over time, that challenges will present themselves, and that the “spark” won’t last forever. Part of you knows all that is true. But you are determined to not let that happen. Here’s a recipe for how you can keep your relationship glowing in the first few years of marriage—and beyond.

Commit to yourselves that you will never take your relationship for granted. It’s all too easy in the hurly-burly of everyday life, to get caught up in the externals of life such as work, household chores, television, and the internet. Even family and friends can draw attention away from your spouse.

Marriage entails making adjustments, and changing ingrained patterns of behavior can be challenging. A lot of the challenge is about finding the right balance: the balance between together time and alone time, between couple time and time with family and friends, between work and play, between fun time and down time. Finding the right balance often involves setting boundaries, establishing priorities, and making commitments that will increase the odds that certain things actually happen.

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Marriage Counseling: Can it Really Save a Marriage?

couple-young-blackIn the daily stresses of life a marriage requires coordination between two people to achieve the best outcome. This doesn’t always happen so then there are conflicts that come up, it’s going to happen, there is no avoiding it. With two humans in a household there will be different opinions about situations but this doesn’t mean there’s a marriage problem at hand.

These marriage problems generally become problems when the couple can’t handle the issues coming at them, whether it’s a non-resolution issue or if the problem stays there for too long. These happen when there has become a lack of good communication between the partners, which then escalates to not being able to work together on problems.

When many couples hit this breaking point they will usually try to work things out, but without the communication skills to listen and objectively resolve problems, feelings get hurt and many times these marriage problems can’t be resolved. This often times leaves couples with one of two options: to seek out a marriage counselor, or to divorce.

By going to counseling for marital problems a couple may feel they are getting a legitimate option to divorce. But the problem is they usually wait too long before asking for help to saving marriage is spite of the help of the counselor. The reason is because they expect the counselor to fix the marriage and that’s not really how it works, but they don’t understand that.

There is only success in the counseling scenario if both spouses can take responsibility for what they’ve done to cause the melt down in the marriage, and have the strength and willingness to work to fix these problems. If a couple is willing to do this type of work they may have a cheaper alternative to going to marriage counseling. Some tools, like books and tapes, may give the partners the information they need to move through the issues just as effectively.

 

Copyright (c) 2010 Free Online Library

 

Managing the Fires of Conflict in a Marriage

“The amount of conflict in a marriage only determines the speed at which the marriage is moving toward greatness or toward destruction.  If you want to sit still in your marriage, rule out all conflict.  If you want your marriage to crash and burn, let the conflict rage but refuse to learn the skills necessary for managing it.  Well-managed conflict is like a stairway that can lead you to higher and higher levels of marital greatness.”

Neil Clark Warren [1]

 

“A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!  It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.”

The Bible, James 3:5-6a (The Message)

 

“You Could Learn a Lot From a Forest Fire” (Smokey the Bear)

 

One of my favorite memories as a child was a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.  I was fascinated by the vast blend of wilderness, mountains, and hot water geysers.  But when in 1997 I had the opportunity to take my own children to see Yellowstone, it didn’t look quite the same.  Nearly one-third of the park lay burnt from several small forest fires that, in 1988, merged into five large complex fires claiming a full 793,000 acres of trees.  Battling the fire required 25,000 firefighters, as many as 9000 at one time, and cost US tax payers $120 million.  But how did the fires start and why did they burn out of control?  After all, wildfires are common in Yellowstone (an average of 24 fires is ignited by lightening alone) but rarely burn as much as 100 acres—combined.  So what were the circumstances that lead to a significant portion of the park burning in 1988?  And more importantly, since the most distinguishable difference between high-satisfaction couple relationships in stepfamilies and low-quality relationships is their ability to resolve their differences, what lessons can you learn about managing the fires of marital conflict from the fires of nature? [2]

 

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