November 15, 2013 Newsletter
The old saying goes that opposites attract, and this can certainly be true in finances. The key to making opposing styles work in harmony is to work with your strengths as a couple rather than trying to change your spouse’s inherent nature when it comes to money. Instead, come up with a plan that works to each spouse’s strengths. One example is to put the spender in charge of the emergency savings and unexpected expenses that will undoubtedly pop up. Those expenses are necessary and because the spender likes spending, that will save the saver the stress of spending. Likewise, put the saver in charge of long-term goals like retirement or vacation planning, which require commitment and financial discipline. When you have a joint bank account and different spending habits, it’s critical for couples to discuss how they want to spend their money. Meeting in the middle requires some sacrifices, but a budget and mutually agreeable spending limits will ease tensions and avoid trouble down the road.
Surprisingly, many research studies have shown that materialistic couples report the lowest levels of happiness in their marriage. From a Christian perspective though, this is unsurprising. Marriage is a sacred covenant we enter with our spouse, not a financial arrangement designed to bring us more things. God’s love is so much more powerful than buying a fancy car or a larger TV. If you find that financial issues have become the focus of your marriage, it may be time to seek a professional counselor to identify a path for moving forward together.
Although financial stress is one of the leading causes of divorce in America today, you can defend your marriage against this stress by keeping finances in perspective. Rather than allowing money to pull your marriage apart, work together to find ways to save money. Finding ways to sacrifice now to save for a special purchase, vacation or just having the security of a safety net in the bank, will draw you closer to each other. And if you decide to splurge a little, then splurge together. You’ll enjoy it more when you aren’t feeling guilty about keeping your spending a secret from your spouse.
The concept of codependence arose out of Alcoholics Anonymous, part of a realization that the addict is not solely the problem, but also the network of family and friends surrounding the addict. Many people with codependent tendencies grew up in dysfunctional families with problems like substance abuse or alcoholism. This strict definition of codependency requires one person to be chemically addicted to a substance and the second person psychologically dependent on the other’s behavior. The medical definition of codependency from Merriam-Webster describes codependency as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition, such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin. The definition of codependency has been broadened to include the way a codependent person is fixated on another person for approval and happiness and how those behaviors, thoughts, and feelings go beyond normal levels of self-sacrifice and care taking.
Codependents in relationships often put aside their own needs and interests in order to do what others want. They may also compromise their own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger. They may take on the role of martyr, putting others’ needs before their own and creating the false sense that they are needed. People in codependent relationships often don’t realize that their relationships are not functioning in a healthy way. They’re not aware that they are losing themselves—and sometimes their identity—in the relationship. If you are wondering if you are in a codependent relationship, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel you’re responsible for the happiness of others?
- Do your needs always take a backseat to the needs of other people in your life?
- Do you not do what you really want to do in order to accommodate someone else?
- Do you think that it’s your job to make someone else’s life better or easier?
The important thing to remember is that codependency is a learned behavior and that it takes some new strategies to help you “unlearn” it. The good news is that you are not alone and help is available.
Signs of a codependent relationship:
- Your focus is on someone else’s happiness over your own
- You’re worried that some small thing you do may make you lose the love or respect of someone close to you
- You no longer socialize with your friends and your family like you used to
- Thinking about your relationship makes you feel depressed or anxious
- You have strong feelings that you are being pressured or controlled by someone in your life
- Someone is using harsh words to hurt or control you
- Someone is using physical violence or force to hurt or control you
If you feel that you are in a codependent relationship and want help, know that help is available. Call Advance Counseling today to begin the process of achieving happiness and a fulfilling relationship or marriage.
With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away, the holidays will soon be in full swing. But with all of the treats, parties, and holiday excitement comes a substantial amount of stress. Perhaps you’re responsible for hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or maybe you’ll have extended guests staying with you for the holidays. These can be wonderful occasions for strengthening your family’s bonds, but they can also take an emotional toll. Follow these 5 tips for making the most of the holiday season:
1. Buy on a budget—before you go shopping for gifts and food, sit down with your spouse and talk about what you can reasonably afford as a family. Finances can be a source of stress year-round for families, but holiday shopping can place an extra burden on your family. Your family can enjoy many happy memories without overspending—donating to a charity, exchanging homemade gifts or fun family activities can create memories that will last far beyond an expensive gift.
2. Enjoy the holidays without abandoning healthy habits—while it’s okay to indulge in the office-table treats and a few extra Christmas cookies every now and then, overindulgence can add to your stress and sense of guilt during the holidays. Maintaining your regular sleep and exercise schedule will help keep the cheer in your holiday activities.
3. Begin with a plan and begin your plan early—all of the shopping, baking, wrapping, and parties can quickly take you from fun to frantic. Set aside time to map out a plan to accomplish your tasks and schedule in some free time too. This extra planning time will save you unnecessary trips to the store and prevent overspending which can easily occur when you’re wandering the stores desperate for a gift idea. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy those unexpected guests that pop in for some holiday cheer knowing you’ve scheduled yourself some free time.
4. Pamper yourself—while the holiday hustle and bustle can be very rewarding, it can also be exhausting. Be sure to take a few minutes for yourself every day to unwind. Whether it’s a quick run outside, a few moments of prayer, or a brief bubble bath, this time will help ground you and make the holidays much more enjoyable.
5. Create a tradition—Don’t think you have any family traditions? Spend some time around the Thanksgiving table this year discussing favorite family holiday traditions. You may be surprised at the traditions you’ve already created for your children without realizing it. Parents and grandparents may have other long lost traditions from their childhood that should be revived. Either way you’ll enjoy some fond memories together.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:12
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. – Matthew 6:24
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:25 – 27
Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. – Proverbs 13:18
Q. What is the top cause of stress in the U.S.?
A. According to the American Psychological Association, job stress is the greatest source of stress among Americans. This includes work overload and tensions between coworkers and bosses. Have you experienced job-related stress?
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