The same-sex challenges in marriage can wreak havoc on a couple when they aren’t prepared for it in advance. Not to mention, the issue of blended families can sometimes make things even more complicated for both individuals involved. What is even more challenging is when they come from distinct ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Same-sex Challenges in Marriage
While the U.S. government and many other countries have begun acknowledging and recognizing same-sex marriages like any other, it doesn’t make everything easier for the couples involved. Since we see most gay and lesbian couples marrying later in life, the challenges that come with their marriage can be even trickier to resolve at times. For example, often, when same-sex couples marry later in life, both partners have higher assets and sources of income. Figuring out how to make legal documentation around that can be vastly distressing.
Adding to all this, couples living in those parts of the world where the government is still contemplating whether they should grant legal recognition to same-sex marriages may deal with a whole other set of emotional challenges along the way. However, that’s still not all since they also have to deal with issues unrelated to finances and such legal matters.
8 Things to Discuss to Avoid Challenges in Same-Sex Marriage
Before marching down the aisle and saying the words, “I do,” you must consider and discuss a few things with your partner to avoid sudden mishaps down the road. Moreover, while some of the to-be-discussed same-sex challenges in marriage may not arise until later in life; it’s always better to ensure you and your partner are on the same page and share compatible priorities before tying the knot.
Furthermore, besides sharing the associated obstacles of same-sex marriage, we’ll discuss how you can make better plans for living a blissed married life with your partner much more adequately!
1- Income and Taxes: Beware the Marriage Penalty
In same-sex marriages, both individuals are likely to make a good living independently since they usually marry later, most of them striving for better careers. If that’s the case with you, it’s best to be aware that gay or lesbian couples, where both spouses earn high incomes, are more likely to be hit with a major marriage penalty.
For same-sex couples where each spouse makes approximately $100,000, the additional liability of jointly filing taxes might be a little over $3,000. That’s the same amount, if not somewhat more, of the extra tax they would owe if they opted to file separately instead.
What to Do When Both Partners Have High Incomes?
Couples opting to file separately have to report their individual incomes and expenses on the tax returns. By filing separately, their status decreases the deductions for IRA contributions while eliminating certain tax credits. In general, their similar incomes, medical expenses, and miscellaneous deductions cut them a good deal, helping them save significantly on taxes.
2- Setting Up a Date from a Financial Perspective
There’s another vital financial hit you can take as a couple when you opt to file jointly. It’s that when you get married in the second half of the year, even if it’s on December 31st, you will be considered married for the entire year. Therefore, you’ll be subjected to a marriage penalty not just for a day but for the whole year afterward.
While filing separately may save you from this hassle, you wouldn’t want to do that if one of the spouses doesn’t make as much money as the other; this puts you in a tricky spot unknowingly.
What to Consider When Setting Up a Date?
Wait Until January
The simple solution to save yourself from paying for the marriage penalty unnecessarily is to wait until January. The wait will significantly help you save a ton of money on taxes if you already planned to marry well past the second half of the year.
3- Living Arrangement
Living arrangement complications are often a hanging factor for same-sex couples when they both live in a close-minded society that doesn’t welcome the LGBTQ community. Or, it could be that both you and your partner live in a country that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage to begin with. On the other hand, there could be a possibility that the society you want to be living in isn’t safe for long-term living, especially if you plan to adopt anytime in the future.
Nevertheless, in either case, it could be a topic of conflict when you and your partner can’t decide where you would live after tying the knot.
What to Do When You’re Living in a Closed-Minded Society?
Consider Moving After Diligent Research
No matter how emotionally attached you seem to be to the place you call home, we would still suggest moving elsewhere if your partner doesn’t agree to move there with you for safety or any other reason. Instead of making it an issue of pride and putting yourself in harm’s way, you can open yourself to a world of opportunities by shifting to someplace together that makes you feel like you’re supposed to when living in your home. After all, your home is your sanctuary where you should feel safe and welcome at all times!
4- House Chores
When it comes to home chores, distributing the tasks can be even more challenging for same-sex couples, especially when they get married with their careers at peak. When both partners are working, at least one spouse feels like they’re being burdened with the housework while their partner does nothing to help.
Soon enough, this unfair division ends up taking a physical and emotional toll on the partner overdoing it, and that’s when the conflicts arise in full force.
How to Manage the House Duties?
Delegate Tasks Where Possible
First of all, you don’t have to tackle everything yourself when there are services to do most of the housework, including cleaning, doing laundry, and gardening-related work. As long as you can afford to delegate some tasks forward, you can free up notable space in your schedule on the get-go.
Make a Calendar and Stick to It
As for the tasks that require your or your partner’s attention first-hand, you can make a calendar for that. It would be best if you were fair with who gets what job and on which days so that there’s no problem afterward. Plus, the person not sticking to the calendar should be held accountable for it and not skip their duties unnecessarily.
For example, if your partner doesn’t cook dinner on a night they’re supposed to for no good reason, you can make it a rule to have the right to push one night of cooking out of your schedule to theirs.
5- State-Level Discrimination
While the federal law has legalized same-sex marriages in all fifty states, unfortunately, LGBTQ people may still face state-level discrimination when they’re unfairly denied employment, housing, and other services. Therefore, it could be that one week you’re getting married and the following week you’re getting fired for putting up a picture of you with your partner at your desk. Even though the chances of this happening are decreasing every day because companies fear they may get sued by their employees, it’s still a financially threatening situation that you and your partner have to prepare for.
What Potential Steps Should Be Taken to Financially Secure Yourself Before Marriage?
Keep More Money in Your Emergency Savings Account
To protect yourself from state-level discrimination and have enough resources to take immediate action if you find yourself in such a situation, you must have more money in your savings account than the standard three months’ worth of living expenses. While keeping a good chunk of money aside before tying the knot may be challenging, it would still be better to have that on your side if you’re forced to have backup resources to resolve your current crisis.
6- Parenting and Adoption Rights
Another thing same-sex couples may face problems with is when it is time to extend their family by adoption or any other means. It could be that one of the spouses never thought about becoming a parent and assumed their partner feels the same way due to any reason whatsoever, so they never prepare themselves for it.
Moreover, even if there’s no disagreement about bringing a child into their family, there might be some conflict between you and your partner regarding parenting styles and adoption rights.
How to Save Yourself from Surprises Regarding Parenting?
Communicate to Get On the Same Page
It’s essential to set your priorities straight regarding important matters before you sign the marriage papers. For example, you need to ensure whether you both want to adopt or take another approach and if parenting is even in the picture. Similarly, it’s necessary to decide who will make the child’s immediate decisions down the road.
Many times, gay and lesbian couples leave out this critical discussion, thinking the right time for it hasn’t arrived. However, they don’t understand that if there’s no potential for their priorities to match in the future, they may face more complications than they might be able to deal with.
Similarly, the talk about adoption rights needs to happen beforehand as well. While you don’t necessarily have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, it’s still better to at least broach the topic, so you both know you’re on the same page and will not encounter problems afterward.
7- Family Conflicts
Similar to any marriage, when same-sex couples tie the knot, two families come together. But unfortunately, the rate of conflicts between uniting families is far greater in same-sex relationships. Resistance to acceptance, past abuse, and useless family traditions play a far more destructive role for newlyweds who already struggle to be a part of a society that has been rejecting them.
How to Navigate Your Relationship Around Family Conflicts?
Learn to Agree to Disagree
It’s a dark place out there, and you can’t fight everyone’s demons. The best you can do is stand your ground and learn not to pay attention to comments you disagree with. While it is crucial to make some noise and ensure everybody knows you wouldn’t tolerate any abuse from the other side, it’s always better to agree to disagree with others’ bigoted opinions for the sake of your mind’s peace, even if it’s you or your partner’s family on the other end.
Let Go and Move on Together
Next, you and your partner must know when to let go of things that do nothing other than adding toxicity to your life and move on together. Once you’re able to do that, you can focus more on your life and how to make it a fulfilled one with no hesitancy.
8- Religion and Traditions
Lastly, believing in different religions or traditions can also become a stressful obstruction for same-sex couples, especially when kids are involved. For example, if you’re to adopt a child, what practices will they follow? Because, ultimately, even though you and your partner might be alright following distinct religions, it may become a sensitive matter when it comes to deciding for your child.
How to Deal with Different Religions in Same-Sex Marriages?
Give Freedom to All
The best way to deal with this issue is by giving your partner the right to follow their practices without holding them back, and they should do the same for you. Similarly, you can expose your child to both religions adequately so that they can choose to follow whichever religion and practices when the time comes. Stripping them of this fundamental right is not just restrictive but also downright toxic.
Talk to a Relationship Coach
Besides talking things through with your partner to deal with the same-sex challenges in marriage, it’s just as important to attend couples’ counseling together to improve your relationship. A couples’ coach who’s open to discussing the challenges you and your partner may face before and after your marriage can make things effectively easier for you both in the long run.
At Marriage Means Moore, we welcome all couples from different ethnicities and religions to begin their new journey with us, regardless of their sexual preferences. You can start by scheduling a $99 Coaching Special with one of our relationship coaches.
In the meantime, you can check out our website blog to go through the resources we’ve put together for helping you through your struggles as a couple together. Another thing you can do to make a strong front with your partner is to look through our latest couples’ workbook, Built Marriage Tough Workbook for Couples. It can be used as a relationship guidebook that encourages you and your partner to participate in constructive and healthier communication.