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Health & Sex

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7 Solutions That Can Save a Relationship

Rocky road? Get your love life back on track.

Relationship Problem: Sex

Even partners who love each other can be a mismatch, sexually. Mary Jo Fay, author of Please Dear, Not Tonight, says a lack of sexual self-awareness and education worsens these problems. But having sex is one of the last things you should give up, Fay says. "Sex," she says, "brings us closer together, releases hormones that help our bodies both physically and mentally, and keeps the chemistry of a healthy couple healthy."

Problem-solving strategies:

  • Plan, plan, plan. Fay suggests making an appointment, but not necessarily at night when everyone is tired. Maybe during the baby's Saturday afternoon nap or a "before-work quickie." Ask friends or family to take the kids every other Friday night for a sleepover. "When sex is on the calendar, it increases your anticipation," Fay says. Changing things up a bit can make sex more fun, too, she says. Why not have sex in the kitchen? Or by the fire? Or standing up in the hallway?
  • Learn what truly turns you and your partner on by each of you coming up with a personal "Sexy List," suggests California psychotherapist Allison Cohen. Swap the lists and use them to create more scenarios that turn you both on.
  • If your sexual relationship problems can't be resolved on your own, Fay recommends consulting a qualified sex therapist to help you both address and resolve your issues.

Relationship Problem: Money

Money problems can start even before the wedding vows are exchanged. They can stem, for example, from the expenses of courtship or from the high cost of a wedding. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends that couples who have money woes take a deep breath and have a serious conversation about finances.

Problem-solving strategies:

  • Be honest about your current financial situation. If things have gone south, continuing the same lifestyle is unrealistic.
  • Don't approach the subject in the heat of battle. Instead, set aside a time that is convenient and non-threatening for both of you.
  • Acknowledge that one partner may be a saver and one a spender, understand there are benefits to both, and agree to learn from each other's tendencies.
  • Don't hide income or debt. Bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, debts, and investments to the table.
  • Don't blame.
  • Construct a joint budget that includes savings.
  • Decide which person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills.
  • Allow each person to have independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her discretion.
  • Decide upon short-term and long-term goals. It's OK to have individual goals, but you should have family goals, too.
  • Talk about caring for your parents as they age and how to appropriately plan for their financial needs if needed.
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