Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the 3 Things that Can Ruin Your Marriage

Money, Sex and Kids

Stop Fighting About the 3 Things that Can Ruin Your Marriage

By Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.

How often have you heard yourself and your spouse make these complaints about each other?

You don’t listen.
You spend too much money.
You never want to have sex.
You’re always at work; and you never come home to spend time with your family.
You’re too harsh with the kids.
You let the kids do whatever they want.

If you and your spouse are fighting about or struggling with these issues, you are not alone. In my counseling practice, I see many couples much like you, voicing these complaints over and over.

In every marriage, the main struggles are similar. Like you, other couples also fight about money, sex and kids, with fights about territory, power and other people following close behind.

If you’re feeling tense, worried, stressed, upset, at your wit’s end, and wanting to help because you and your partner are fighting about these issues you’ll find help my book, “Money, Sex and Kids,” featured here and on the Pro Sports Lives Radio Show.

Whether you’re newly married or have been married for a long time; in your first, second or even third marriage; with kids, planning on kids or with step-kids; and from any income level — from just getting by to wealthy — you’ll find the information and techniques you need.

The 3 Big Issues: Money, Sex and Kids

Certain kinds of problems are more emotion-charged than others. I often ask my clients to stop and think about what they’re doing in the middle of a fight, and ask them what they look like to themselves. Many times they realize they sound and look like children fighting, and they’re not making sense, even to themselves. The reason most people fight about money, sex, and kids is that these are the issues with the biggest emotional charge for most people, and they carry the most baggage from our early families.

Money represents power and even attractiveness in our society. Furthermore, it may be charged with meaning doesn’t actually possess. I’ve discovered in working through these is­sues with clients that sometimes a client who grew up poor may unconsciously believe that rich people are mean or evil. Others believe that enough money will bring prestige, success and happiness.

Here are some more money issues you and your partner may fight about:
Who pays for what?
Who keeps the records, pays bills and controls the budget?
When, how and why do we spend money?
One of you wants to save; the other wants to spend.
How do you make big financial decisions?

Or, perhaps you can’t talk about money at all without arguing. If you and your partner tend to think the business end of a relationship is not a romantic topic for courtship, you may not discuss it until you can’t avoid it, and then you fight about it.

You may not think of your marriage as a business deal, but a huge part of it is just that. Just like a business, a marriage takes in income, pays expenses, and is suppose to have a little profit (savings) left over.

Couple arguing over bills

Fights about sex usually appear to be about:
How often you have it
Who initiates it?
The way your sexual needs change as your relationship grows
Fidelity and betrayal
Losing interest in each other

Sex often involves a lot of anxiety, because everyone fears rejection and is trying to live up to the impossible standards set by media images. You and your partner are most vulnerable when it comes to sex, which is why sex is difficult to keep going in a relationship, because when you get scared, you shut down and turn off. If you reject your partner just once, he or she may stop initialing or responding for fear of further rejection, until the problem is cleared up.

Sex is an extension of your couple communication, in physical rather than verbal form, and you can learn how to make it work.

Having children creates extra pressure in your relation­ship because parenting is a demanding, exacting and stressful enterprise.

Parenting requires consistency and experience, and because extended families are often living far apart, help that used to be available for previous generations from parents and siblings may not be here for you.

Parenting fights are most likely about how your parents raised you, as opposed to the way your parents’ parents raised him or her. You wind up having a power struggle about who’s right and who’s wrong, and no one can win because ifs your family history against your partner’s. In these days of divorce and remarriage, blended and step-families fight about stepchildren: who disciplines, fairness, and different parenting rules.

You and your partner may make accusations like:
You don’t help enough (or the right way) with our children.
You treat your children (or our children) better/worse than my children.
You don’t love my children the way you love your children.

You and your spouse can struggle about children before they even exist: Do we want a baby? Should we adopt? Fertility treatments can cause a lot of frustrations, sexual problems, and disappointment too.

Perhaps you had children before you had a chance to solidify your couple relationship, and the changes were confusing and you never re-established your teamwork. Or perhaps you already had children when you met and have had problems becoming an authoritative team in the kids’ eyes. Or perhaps your disagreement is about whether or not to have children. No matter what your struggle, you are not alone.

Couple Arguing

While money, sex and kids may be the three most prevalent issues that cause couple dissension, there are some other issues such as the following:

You may not feel as if you’re competing for anything, but as a human you are a territorial animal — without realizing it. You can get just as protective of your personal space, physical and psychological, as the neighborhood cats do. You’re just not as obvious about it. You are fighting for territory when you argue about these questions:

How do you handle your living space (e.g., fights about “I’m neat and you’re sloppy” or styles of furnishing)? Who cleans house or does what chores, and who sets the standards for cleaning?

How do you use time (struggles over one of you being late. the other on time)?

How do you spend your recreational time? One of you may be more social and the other more physically active or one wants to watch TV and the other wants to go out, or what you can do together or separately?

How do you divide space? Your mess is invading my space; I need alone time, and you’re always here. Or do we move for my job or yours?

Privacy is another territorial issue. Can we open one another’s mail, listen in on phone calls, do we share everything, or keep secrets?

Whenever your arguments are about these issues, your territory instincts are getting in the way of your relationship. It is how you handle these situations that make the difference.

Dating Couple Aruging

A frequent source of trouble in today’s relationships can be other people. Couples fight over whether friends can come over and when. Jealously, interference, or problems caused by relatives and in-laws, and which family can you spend holidays with are all popular subjects for fights.

In-law fights may be about, “my family is better than yours,” which is another version of, “I’m right and you’re wrong.”

It’s a power struggle.

Sometimes there’s no good reason why you’re fighting about money, sex or kids. It may be a symbolic argument. It definitely helps to let your partner know what the symbolic meaning is to you and for you to listen to your spouse’s feelings about it.

To discover what the fight is really about, you need to talk. You’ll learn techniques and discover guidelines designed to help you understand, and overcome old habits, and change the way you and your spouse relate to each other.

About the Author:

Dr Tina Tessina

Dr. Tina Tessina, Ph.D.

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in Southern. California since with over 30 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples, and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including “It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction,” “The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again,” “Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage,” “The Commuter Marriage,” and her latest, “Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences.”

Dr. Tessina is known as “Dr. Romance” online for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Connect with Dr. Tessina online:



Posted in Domestic Violence, Finance, Marriage/Relationships, Parenting, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pro Sports Wives: Signs of Domestic Abuse & Violence

Did you know domestic violence affects 1 out of 3 women worldwide? Domestic (also called spousal) abuse occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. When this domestic abuse includes physical violence OR violent threats it is referred to as domestic violence. As a [pro athlete’s] wife, it is extremely important for YOU to recognize the signs of domestic violence and abuse due to the alarming trend of offenses of male athletes.

The media has reported on countless male athletes who have perpetrated violent offenses against their wives or girlfriends. Research has not definitively proven domestic violence and abuse are higher in male athletes OR if they are highlighted because of their status. But to give you an idea of statistics, in 2010 Jeff Benedict, an English professor at Southern Virginia University released a thorough examination of arrests of professional and college athletes within a 6 month period. He found that out of 125 athletes arrested, domestic violence cases accounted for nearly 20%.

Domestic abuse often escalates from verbal abuse and threats to actual physical violence or domestic violence. Many women may not recognize abuse if it does not come in the form of physical violence. Sexual abuse is also a form of physical abuse. Emotional abuse can be just as damaging psychologically by destroying your self-worth, which leads to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Financial abuse is also a form of emotional abuse.

Below is a list of some common signs of domestic violence and abuse to raise YOUR awareness of this epidemic and how it may possibly be affecting YOU.

Signs of Domestic Violence:

Your spouse or partner:

  • Hurts you, or threatens to hurt or kill you
  • Has a bad and unpredictable tempter
  • Forces you to have sex
  • Destroys your belongings
  • Threatens to take your children away

Signs of Abuse:


  • Feel afraid most of the time around your partner
  • Are regularly humiliated or yelled at by your partner
  • Are criticized and put down by your partner
  • Are blamed for your partner’s own abusive behavior
  • Are kept from seeing your friends or family
  • Have limited access to money, the phone, or the car
Porsha Williams, LAMFT Pwilliams@

Porsha Jones, LAMFT

*All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness of information or opinions expressed on this site or following links.

Posted in Domestic Violence, Marriage/Relationships, Porsha Jones | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A tribute to Reggie Miller

Shooting guard Reggie Miller was a force for the Indiana Pacers for 18 seasons. During that time he filled up highlight reels with his clutch shooting, his most notable moments coming against the New York Knicks.

Miller was a scoring machine who could get hot at almost any moment during a game but he always seemed to save his best for the game’s final minutes. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hakeem Olajuwon’s ‘Dream Shake’ lives on

Hakeem Olajuwon terrorized NBA opponents for 18 years with his patented “Dream Shake,” but it seems that NBA defenders didn’t see the last of Olajuwon’s series of low post fakes and counter-moves when he retired from the league after the 2002 season. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Panthers’ WR Steve Smith not surprised so many players go broke

Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver Steve Smith just turned 33 earlier this month. Despite his age, Smith is still a very productive player and was signed to a three-year extension on Tuesday with a club-option for a fourth year.

Smith hasn’t had to worry about too much financially but he did speak on the problems that other players have had managing money in a radio interview with WFNZ-AM in Charlotte. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Seau’s death forces players to reflect on their own mortality

There are players in the league whose passion for football won’t be deterred even by the untimely death of a football great like Junior Seau.

New York Giant Osi Umenyiora and Atlanta Falcon Roddy White say they expect to be in bad health once their careers are over. Both feel they know the risks they are taking and are okay with whatever happens to them once their careers are done. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The road will only get harder for Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is the most prolific golfer of our day having won 14 majors so far in his career. At one point it was all but certain that he would surpass Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major wins but it has been nearly four years since Woods won his last major.

A lot has happened to Woods during this drought. His list of injuries, surgeries and personal problems has sought to derail his career at a time when Woods should probably be at his most dangerous. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

What the media doesn’t understand about NFL concussion lawsuits

I don’t think the media is purposely painting ex-NFL players in a negative light when reporting about the concussion lawsuits that have been filed against the league but they aren’t going out of their way to show people the players’ side of the issue either.

Sports analyst (and ex-NFL player) Mike Pitts was able to put the issue into proper perspective during the Pro Sports Lives radio show on Saturday by stating that the players’ grievances are really a healthcare issue. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The NFL sheds a tear for a class-act: Junior Seau

The tragedy of Junior Seau’s death hit the NFL hard as many players, coaches and executives grieved over the life of a man that everyone loved. No one wanted to speculate as to what really happened; there will be plenty of time to ponder on that over the coming months.

Instead everyone wanted to reflect on the life of Seau and how his positive presence touched everyone he came in contact with. Seau spent most of his career with the San Diego Chargers but he also played for the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Stern says injuries not related to schedule

Is he serious? Of course the schedule is to blame but it seems that David Stern will take any position he feels will put him in a favorable standing with the public.

Now sure, the schedule may not be the sole reason for the rash of injuries that have plagued the NBA recently but it is definitely a culprit. The compacted schedule gives players less time to recover from injuries or even wear and tear from playing so many games in such a short time. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment