Category Archives: Issues

Practical Advice About Joint Credit

Marrying someone is more than just lovely romance: it’s about merging two lives, and with that comes a number of practical considerations. Where will you live? Do you want children? How will you manage your money? This last point is a source of contention in many marriages, and clear communication about finances is the key to navigating its difficulties.

If you didn’t have a frank conversation about finances before you got married, it’s not too late to have one now. Once you and your spouse have your credit scores in hand, and a good sense of what you both want, it’s time to settle in and be honest.

Your credit score from before the marriage and your spouse’s credit score from before the marriage won’t affect each other directly because your credit scores don’t automatically merge. It’s only once you open joint accounts and start adding each other as authorized users on credit cards that things get a little dicey. The truth of the matter is, your credit never merges with your spouse, but that doesn’t mean your partner’s credit can’t affect your credit.

If you open a credit card using your own credit score and then add your spouse as an authorized user, you’ll still be solely responsible for paying the credit card back. If you and your spouse both have good credit scores and good financial habits, it won’t be a problem, but if either of you have poor credit scores or a history of making questionable choices regarding money, you could be in trouble real quick. And this applies for all sorts of things – including cars and house mortgages. Don’t allow your partner’s low score to drag you down, but if it does consider consolidating debt with a loan, which should help to boost yours or your spouse’s score. Many companies, such as MaxLend, have less rigid borrowing options and can help you and your spouse make a fresh start.

Similarly, if you and your spouse co-sign on a line of credit, then you’re both responsible – not 50 percent each, but 100 percent each. The credit company will come after both of you, and 100 percent of the debt from that credit card will show up on both your credit score and your spouse’s credit score. Divorce courts can’t intervene and split that debt up, either; debt is between the lender and the lendee, and courts have no say in how it’s divvied up. So, the most important thing is that you don’t miss payments. Max Lend Loans notes on their Twitter, “Just because you’re short on funds doesn’t mean you’re short on options.”

If you aren’t yet married and your spouse has bad credit, get a prenuptial agreement. It might not seem very romantic, but it can smooth things out later and give you a solid place to start your conversation about money from. If you’re already married, leading experts recommend that you apply for cars, loans, etc. solely, based only on your own credit, rather than your credit and your spouse’s credit. This can also make divorce simpler; it makes the division of debt clear.

It’s understandable that if you’re married or planning on getting married, you’ll want to merge your finances; it’s one part of becoming a family. You won’t want to count on splitting up eventually, or assume that your partner has bad financial skills, but it’s still important to keep your credit score and personal finances in mind. Merging two people’s lives is always going to involve compromise, and while obviously you should be able to trust whoever you marry, peace of mind is priceless.

 

Filling the Void

I don’t post much anymore. Mostly because I’m unsure of what to say or how to say it. I live in a state of confusion, and it’s frustrating. But everyday is a learning experience and everyday I’m one step closer to peace.

I have an undeniable void that nags and begs for my attention. Most times I try to ignore it because I don’t know how to address it. Other times when I’m not busy, I try to figure out how to handle it. I pray, I read books, I listen to music, and the void is still there. It’s the most frustrating thing I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve now been separated for 4 months, and it’s been an emotional roller coaster. It’s lead me to question so much: my husband, myself, the foundation of our relationship, events throughout our relationship, the authenticity of our marriage, you name it. It’s also caused me to take a good, hard, long look at a lot of things: my goals, my motives, myself. So instead of trying to avoid the void, I’m trying to tackle it head on.

Many people have voids for various reasons. Everyone approaches them differently. Some people opt for alcohol, medication, recreational drugs, promiscuity, reckless spending, but all these things are the equivalent of Fix-A-Flat. These are temporary solutions to a very real and very serious problem. It needs a repair, not a quick fix.

To be honest, part of me comes up with excuses as to why I “can’t” deal with the void. The biggest excuse is that I need answers/closure. But I have to become okay with the fact that I may never get those things. I hate limbo. It is the most maddening state of being I’ve ever been in. The state of uncertainty. The problem with not knowing. The fear of questionable outcomes. I hate it. But what can I do about it? I can be upset but that doesn’t help or change anything.

I miss my husband. I miss him as my partner, I miss him as my best friend. I haven’t seen him in 2 months. We only talk sporadically. When we do talk, I end up going off the deep end (embarrassing). The few times I’ve gone to file, I couldn’t do it for one reason or another. I don’t know if that’s a sign or just a roadblock. Who knows. But I do miss him.

With the breakdown in this relationship, I’ve been able to strengthen my relationship with God. I’ve been going to church more often, I’ve regularly attended bible study, I’m reading the Purpose Driven Life, I listen to podcasts, I look for scriptures on my own, and biggest of all, I pray. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed this much in my life. I pray in the morning, I pray at night, I pray in the middle of the day. It definitely helps, even when I don’t see immediate “results”, I know it’s working.

So honestly with all this uncertainty and being in limbo and being estranged (ugh when I looked up the definition of that it just irked me even more), I still have to face this void. I can’t just fill it, I have to conquer it. It’s messy, it’s mind numbing, it’s scary, but it’s necessary. I’m allowing myself to be open. I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable. I’m allowing myself to feel my feelings. And I am confident that no matter what happens, I am going to be victorious when it comes to this void.

I say all this to say if you have a void that you’ve been avoiding, take it head on. I’m not saying don’t be scared; it’s scary! I’m saying do it anyways. Be courageous. Stop trying to fill the void. It’s like filling your stomach with food. You get full, but eventually, you get hungry again. No, this is something that has to be dealt with and ultimately eliminated. So let’s do it.

What Does Separation Look Like?

First off, I want to say thank you for everyone who left a comment here, on Facebook, tweeted me, prayed for me, and thought of me because of yesterday’s post. Even those who did not contact me directly, but sent up a prayer or thought for me, it’s greatly appreciated 🙂 Your support means everything to me.

So how do you follow up a post like Truth Hurts? Well, you just do. I know it sounded like things were pretty final, and no, things haven’t changed. I haven’t spoken to my husband since Sunday, and I don’t think we’ll be talking any time in the immediate future, as in this week. I won’t be reaching out because I know things are still extremely tender between us, and while I may be ready to talk, he’s not, and that’s been a big issue in the past couple of months: me forcing him to talk when he’s not ready.

Divorce isn’t a reality until someone files the paperwork, and even then, in California, it takes at best 6 months for things to be finalized. I have no intentions of filing for divorce. Although I have looked into the process, I’m not interested in getting into it. So what is this strange period/stage that we’re in? Separation.

The past 2 conversations we’ve had, I begged for a separation as oppose to a divorce. Some have brought to my attention that for the past year, living separately, we have been separated. I didn’t consider it as such. I guess I had a thought of what separation was and that wasn’t it. So what does separation look like?

Being separated looks different for each couple, just like marriage looks different for each couple. In my mind and by how things have been going, we’ve been separated for almost a month now. The beginning of “the end” was an argument that took place a few days after Christmas and before the New Year. So I’ll take it as we’ve been separated since December 29.

Space

What happens during this time? At first, I thought we just desperately and wholeheartedly attack all the problems that we have. That strategy won’t work. So the first thing that happens is space. I admittedly have been afraid of space, which is what my husband has been asking for the past month. I took space as a threat to our marriage. My thought was, “how much more space do you need? We’re not living together, I’m not staying over regularly, our communication is mostly via text. What do you need space for?!” Space is for not just him, but for me too. I don’t know what he’s doing during this space that we’re not seeing or speaking to each other. Hopefully, cooling off, because there’s been a lot of anger coming my way from him. Thinking is one thing he says he needs to do during “space”. I’ve been thinking too.

The past couple days I’ve been thinking about our good times together. I miss our time together when we first moved in, before we even got engaged. This time was pre-blog, and we lived in an apartment together. I loved that apartment. It felt like home. We both worked full time, and opposite schedules for the most part, but our time together was special. Doing nothing really but enjoying each other’s presence. There was an understanding to get bills paid and not so much pressure. This was B.M.: before marriage.

Praying

Prayer is a huge component of a separation, at least in my marriage. My husband is a church-going man, but I honestly don’t know if he’s been praying or not, or if he is, what he’s been praying for. I’ve been praying that God soften his heart and open his mind, that he has forgiveness in his heart, that he realize his mistakes and repent for them, and that he finds what he’s looking for. I do have a feeling he’s depressed, and because I can relate, I pray that he doesn’t find shame in his feelings (whether it’s depression or anything else) and that he sees that I am here to support him, not to hurt him, and that he feels confident enough to trust me.

I’m not just praying that God changes him, but also that God changes me. One commenter made a note that maybe I’m the problem, and believe me, I’ve thought that too. Maybe some of my posts come off as pointing all my fingers at my husband, but I’m no angel. I know I do things that I shouldn’t, and that drive him crazy. I’d be the first to admit that. So I ask God to show me things I need to change, and to help me change them. The Serenity Prayer definitely has been coming in handy lately as well.

As for the next stages in separation, I don’t know. It depends on how these 2 things go. If space and prayer lead us to the next stage of reconciliation, I most definitely see counseling in our future. Some have suggested that I go to counseling either way, and I do. I have gone to counseling on and off the past few years, and I definitely think it helps. Some of the problems I go through are because of my relationship and some are independent of my relationship. So it’s necessary for me either way it goes. My prayer is that my husband would be open to going to counseling, both with me and by himself, because I do believe it will help.

So that’s where I am today. Emotionally, I’m feeling better than I did a few days ago. Still have a way to go, but I’m staying optimistic.