Men seem to need nonsexual affirmation even more than women do, Dr. Orbuch says . (Dr. Terri Orbuch is a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.) In her study, when the husband reported that his wife didn’t show love and affection, the couple was almost twice as likely to divorce as when the man said he felt cared for and appreciated. The reverse didn’t hold true, though. Couples where women felt a lack of affection weren’t more likely to divorce. Do something to demonstrate that your partner is noticed and appreciated every single day, Dr. Orbuch says. It can be as small as saying, “I love you,” or “You’re a great parent.” It can be an action rather than words: Turn on the coffee pot in the morning. Bring in the paper. Warm up the car. Make a favorite dessert. Give a hug. Money was the No. 1 point of conflict in the majority of marriages, good or bad, that Dr. Orbuch studied. And 49% of divorced people from her study said they fought so much over money with their spouse—whether it was different spending styles, lies about spending, one person making more money and trying to control the other—that they anticipate money will be a problem in their next relationship, too. There isn’t a single financial fix for all couples. Dr. Orbuch says each person needs to examine his or her own approach to money. What did money mean when you were growing up? How do you approach spending and saving now? What are your financial goals? Partners need to discuss their individual money styles and devise a plan they both can live with. They might decide to pool their money, or keep separate accounts. They might want a joint account for family expenses. In the study, six out of 10 divorced individuals who began a new relationship chose not to combine finances. “Talk money more often—not just when it’s tax time, when you have high debt, when bills come along,” Dr. Orbuch says. Set ground rules and expectations and stick to them. From “Divorcé’s Guide to Marriage” by Elizabeth Bernstein
We ruined each other
by being together.
each other’s dreams.
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