According to the Census Bureau, the number of married couples dropped below half of all American households for the first time last year. But while the statistics point to a national decline, plenty of couples still take the plunge. So how can they succeed? Relationship expert and author of The Nine Phases of Marriage, Susan Shapiro Barash, breaks down the three biggest marriage challenges and how to tackle those issues.
Marriage Challenge #1: Finances
Despite how often young couples talk about money ahead of time and how often women talk it with their husbands during their marriage, Susan says it still remains a huge problem. More couples are having separate bank accounts, but when it comes to children and money they’re pooling it together, for things like school and tutoring. So how does a couple broach that conversation without wanting to pull each other’s heads off? Susan says that you have to be flexible when it comes to finances. If your husband looses his job or you’re dealing with problems after the downturn, it’s essential that you both readjust as the climate changes.
Marriage Challenge #2: Family
Family is another issue in marriage, and more specifically as Susan points out, in laws. What do you do with that mother in law? Do you say to your husband when you have two little children: “just go over on Sunday, I don’t have to go every Sunday, I’ll go once a month.” Susan recommends being a little more sensitive that he’s so close to his sister even though she can upset you. But how do you actually put this into practice? How do you draw those boundaries so the wife gets what she needs and the husband gets what he needs? Susan says it’s all about honest communication. In marriage, so often the women are feeling a certain way and are hesitant to express themselves, according to Susan. Susan urges couples to communicate constantly – when it comes to your mother in law, when it comes to your own mother and you want your husband to be a little more attentive, you have to tell him.
Marriage Challenge #3: Children
Susan points out that we live in a very child centric society; we yearn to have children. We helicopter those children long after they need it, but children really can put a wedge in the marriage. Plus, the issue perpetuates if you have different values: will you send you child to private school or religious school? Do you want daycare? When it comes to the children, it’s a very sensitive issue because we have a vision of how our marriage will work with children when it really changes the marriage so much. The key is you have to acclimate, and it always affects the relationship.
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That all said, why is the number of marriages still on the decline? Susan says women are looking at other possibilities like going to a sperm bank to have a child. You can live with your partner in a monogamous relationship and not take those vows. The truth is, however, there are still millions of women in America, all ages and in their 1st 2nd or 3rd marriages, who are very much in favor of being a wife.
In this episode Allison's Wardrobe is provided by:
Earrings, Gorjana - http://www.gorjana-griffin.com/gorjana/
Shoes, INC International Concepts
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