Doing Life Together

car-1149997_1280Some things we do are completely predictable when it comes to divorce-having affairs, being abusive, struggling with an addiction, etc. But a family law firm, McKinley Irvin,  put together a list that might not be so obvious. After listening to the stories of people going through divorce, here are a few things that might surprise you.

How did you begin your marriage? Did you have a big wedding? Did you feel pressured to spend and make it an event that everyone will talk about for years or light up Instagram? Well, the law firm found that spending big on a wedding can be a predictor of divorce. Those who spent over 20,000 on a wedding were more likely to divorce than those who held back the costs. Since the average cost of a wedding these days in $25,500, this means that a lot of people are beginning married life in debt. And that is the connection—starting out a marriage with financial stress. Add to this, college debt that many couples bring to marriage and you have financial pressures that stress the relationship.

The fix: Watch your wedding costs and be sensible. Yes, weddings are hopefully a once in a lifetime event, but you don’t need to compete with social media for the most incredible wedding ever. Consider your finances and throw a wedding within your budget.

Here is one that took me aback. This was based on a 2010 study that found that couples were more likely to stay together when they had boys rather than girls. Moms with daughters were more prone to leave a marriage when the relationship was going downhill. The women in the study said they wanting to set a good example for their daughters by not staying in a bad relationship. Staying meant they could damage their daughters.

The fix: Show your daughters how a strong woman works through difficult marital problems regardless of gender. And if there is abuse, both genders need protection.

Another predictor of divorce you may not think about has to do with commuter time. The lawyers found that a commute longer than 45 minutes puts you at risk for divorce. Long commutes create stressed and cranky people. When you deal with traffic and long rides, you don’t enter the household in the best mood! Traffic can get those stress hormones going and you are not a happy traveler.

The fix: Take public transportation and listen to calming music, podcasts, and uplifting media to put you in a great state of mind. Carpool and enjoy the company of others (choose your carpool friends carefully or this can add stress). And if you are in traffic, listen to podcasts and accept the reality that this is a cost of a great job! Change your thinking, change your mood.

Now, I realize that none of the above will cause a marriage to break up. The lawyers were simply trying to point out that stress comes in all types of ways that can put pressure on a marriage if not handled well. So be aware of all the areas in your relationship that can stress you as a couple and take care of business.



job-interview-3410427_1280Awhile ago, I read an interesting article in Business Insider that addressed habits and mistakes that could cost you a job. I thought it would be helpful to pass on a few of those tips in order to prevent mistakes and help all of us know what helps and doesn’t help. While the job reports are positive right now, you still want to stand out as a good employee and person to hire. I chose 10 of the 24 points from the article. Check yourself on these.

  1. If you are looking for a job, Business Insider managing editor Jessica Liebman say always say thank you after an interview. No matter how long or short your time with someone, show interest and thank the person. You can do this by email. It will remind the person about you, show interest and look like you are an organized person.
  2. Be honest and don’t embellish your skills or abilities. Lying is a deal breaker for most companies. And background checks will often verify if your information is correct.
  3. A former medical student once asked why he didn’t get a match into residency. When the residency director gave feedback, it focused on the nonverbal language of the applicant. He looked overly anxious, no eye contact and was anxiously picking at his skin during the interview. His posture was bad and he occasionally yawned. Bad habits and body language sends a negative message.
  4. Swearing. Maybe you think it is common and not a big deal, but it is a turn off to many employers. Watch you language and don’t interrupt the person either. Too much informality sends a message that you don’t know how to be professional.
  5. Talking about demands for the job. If you say you need to sit by a window, need an assistant to bring you coffee and make other demands, you are going to appear to be high maintenance from the beginning. Negotiate demands on the job, not when you are trying to get into a company.
  6. Dressing too casually. I have never had an issue with someone who is overdressed for an interview, but I have been turned off by someone being too casual. Check the work environment and if in doubt, err on the side of professionalism. And check your grooming as well-greasy hair, shirt needs ironing, etc.
  7. Don’t text. You wouldn’t think I would need to say this but it happens. It’s a deal killer.
  8. Don’t be late. Again, this seems to be more of a problem today as young people don’t problem-solve ahead and make plans not to be late. Leave early and account for traffic. Be early and get a coffee.
  9. Do your homework on the company. Nothing is worse than having a job applicant be uninformed about the place they are interviewing. Take some time and do your do diligence.
  10. Present a professional resume or curriculum vitae. Your written material say a lot about your attention to detail and professionalism. It represents you. Make it consistent with the the type of position you are wanting.


religion-3450127_1280It’s easy to feel down and discouraged when you go through a difficult time. Sometimes we feel no one really knows us well or cares about our life. We feel lost as we wade through deep waters. We forget God knows our name and is not watching us from a distance.

This Sunday, our pastor spoke on a passage in Numbers that reminded us all that Jesus is a Good Shepherd that knows our name. Just like he counted the Israelites as they were ready to enter the Promise Land (they had giants to fight too), he knows our name and counts us as one of His.

Psalm 23 reminds us that he makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us besides still waters. A shepherd leads his sheep in life sustaining ways and gives them places to rest. And when we wander in a wilderness, the Good Shepherd tells us to stop losing heart and  ask for our inheritance. Ask and we have, seek and we will find.

It is interesting that God uses the metaphor of a Good Shepherd (Jesus) and us as sheep. Our pastor pointed out that sheep are highly relational and form lifelong partnerships. It takes trust for a sheep to follow a shepherd. Our Good Shepherd laid down his life for us. That makes trust easy.

And while sheep are not dumb, they get no where without a leader to keep them on mission and get them where they need to be. So when we feel discouraged and down, we need to be led by our Good Shepherd who cares for us with grace and mercy, who feeds us what we need and who keeps us on mission to possess the land of our inheritance.

Trust the Lord no matter what. Let Him lead you. He knows your name and counts you as His. Regardless of the difficulty you face, He promises to lead you safely home. Don’t fear, be refreshed and comforted by the Good Shepherd.

Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

nature-3246122_1280Erin was crying in my office. Her husband didn’t trust her and the problem wasn’t infidelity, well sort of. What she described was another type of relationship breach, financial cheating. While we all could probably agree that sexual cheating on your partner is destructive to a relationship, what about financial cheating? Does that tear at trust as well?

A survey reported by Smart About Money tells us that couples who combine their incomes have about a 42% rate of financial infidelity, meaning they have committed some type of financial deception. They might be hiding a bank account, make a purchase and not tell, have a secret credit card, etc. Sometimes people lie about debt or even their income when they enter a relationship. You can be financially deceptive in many ways.

The problem is the secrecy involved. And secrecy affects trust, a building block of healthy relationships. If you lie about money, the question naturally comes up, what else could you be lying about?

In a marriage with combined finances, your credit depends on the financial behavior of the partner. So not only are you impacted by bad spending, but so is your spouse. This is why it is important to be open and honest about how you are spending money and be accountable to each other.

So if you see warning signs–expenditures on credit cards you can’t account for, receipts that are unknown, your partner is defensive and deflective when you question spending–you need to be concerned and confront the situation. What is the problem? It is purposeful deceit, poor management, lack of communication, fear of spending and reporting, etc. Whatever is the root, it needs to be addressed so trust can be rebuilt. Financial infidelity can signal a bigger relationship problem. Don’t ignore and get professional help if you need. This may mean seeing a financial counselor or a relationship counselor to work on trust.