By: Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Romance Guru
Introduction by Anna Cuevas
Financial struggles are one of the biggest stressors in a relationship or marriage. It’s no wonder, then, that when couples are facing foreclosure, they often find that they lose not only their home, but also their relationship. I’m a strong advocate for keeping the family together, if at all possible, encouraging couples to work together to refuel the love and faith that brought them together. For that reason, I stress the importance of communication, family time, and working together as a unit to overcome financial pressures, including saving your home from foreclosure, and create a better future for your family—one that is stable and based on mutual respect and consideration. America’s Romance Guru Leon Scott Baxter agrees, and he provides us with some very valuable tips to help families get through this challenging time. Whether or not you can save your home, his tips in maintaining respectful communication and understanding the impact of foreclosure can save your relationship. I want you to succeed at all levels and I thought it would be really great to give you some excellent advice from a fellow Guru – America’s Romance Thank you Leon for sharing this important information with my readers!
Your Spouse and The House
By Guest Blogger: Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Romance Guru
Foreclosure. It’s a word that married couples hope never to have to utter, to experience, or to live through. Yet, more couples than ever are being forced to walk away from not only their home loans, but their homes, over a million alone in the first half of 2012 according to RealtyTrac, publishers of the largest database of foreclosure, auction and bank-owned homes in the country.
Losing a car is hard. Losing half of your retirement savings is harder. But, losing your home…that’s the loss of a dream, a dream created by a young couple in love, a dream that can take 30 years to reach fruition. Losing this dream can be nearly as devastating as losing a child.
And, when a couple is forced to hand over their home, a piece of their future goes with it, and this starts to dissolve the fibers that held the relationship together. The life they once believed in is no longer what it seemed. Often there’s a need to blame someone and the easiest target is the spouse.
When I talk with couples about foreclosure, job loss and money issues, I use the analogy of finance. In finance you can’t really build your portfolio if you carry heavy debt. Say you have a large balance on your credit card, which charges a whopping 22% in interest. Each month you offer only the minimum payment, yet stick aside $250 into a mutual fund that offers a 7% return. That 7% investment feels good, but in reality it does nothing for you because you’re still falling farther and farther behind due that that 22% debt.
The best choice would be to forget the mutual fund and use that $250 each month to pay off your credit card debt. Only when that debt is cleared should you start investing in your mutual fund again. And, only then will that investment help your portfolio to grow.
In relationships there’s debt, also, any negative that outweighs the positive. Could be addiction, infidelity or abuse. In this case, we’re looking at financial collapse, loss of employment or foreclosure. This is the 22% credit card debt.
Too many couples are ignoring the elephant in the room. “If we pretend it’s not affecting our relationship and act like nothing has changed,” they assume, “our marriage will be fine.” So, we bring home a bouquet of daffodils or cook a fancy dinner to make our partner temporarily happy. That’s our 7% mutual fund investment.
The problem is, though, that flowers and a T-bone steak won’t make the debt go away. And when I say “go away” I’m not talking about the foreclosure, but rather the hole that the foreclosure creates in the marriage.
Couples in relationship debt need to communicate. Waiting for things to get better on their own just doesn’t cut it. To repair the damage of debt in your marriage, you need to talk about it. And, one of the best ways is through “I statements.”
For a detailed explanation you can check out this report, but here’s the condensed explanation: I statements remove the blame from your partner and focus on you and what you are feeling:
“You ruined our life by losing our house.”
“I feel frustrated that we are in foreclosure.”
The first statement creates an atmosphere where your partner feels forced to defend themselves and fight back. Whereas the “I statement” puts you both on the same team. Instead of battling each other, you both team up to battle the debt.
Sometimes mere communication and I statements alone are not enough to overcome the debt in your marriage, and that’s when visiting a therapist becomes a good choice. Soon after the recession took hold in 2008 the divorce rate in the US rose, but it’s declined recently, while couples visiting therapists have been on the rise.
What’s happened is that we as a nation are understanding that although foreclosures can easily pit husband against wife, divorce doesn’t always fix things. We’ve lost a house and now a spouse. Why not find a professional who can show us how to handle our hardships shoulder to shoulder rather than fist to fist?
Debt in a marriage is devastating, but until we’ve cleared the debt, relationship investment is virtually impossible.
Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Romance Guru and the author of the recently released book, The Finance of Romance, has spoken with over 20,000 individuals about love and relationships. He hosts the website CouplesCommittedToLove.com and has been married to his college sweetheart for 20 years.
Leon Scott Baxter Lewandowski
(America’s Romance Guru)Author of A Labor With Love and Out of the Doghouse
And the new book, The Finance of Romance (FinanceofRomance.com)
www.CouplesCommittedToLove.com“Love is not what makes the world go ’round.
Romance is. And, it’s my job to make everyone dizzy!”
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