A set of resources that may be helpful for couples as they prepare for their wedding and to support them during their marriage.
The Church of England’s official website for those planning a wedding. Brand new and the result of extensive research among couples who have got married in church, the information here is invaluable for everything from planning your service, understanding the costs involved to knowing how to make the most of married life
Marriage Week UK celebrates the diversity and vibrancy of marriage as the basis for family life in the UK. It is timed to include Valentine’s Day and has been held every year since 1997.
Marriage, from planning your wedding, to enriching and enhancing your couple relationship, support through marital problems, and even the challenges of breakdown and divorce is what 2-in-2-1 is all about.
Care for the Family is committed to strengthening family life, and helping those who are hurting because of family break-up. Our heart is to come alongside people in the good times and also in the tough times—bringing hope, compassion and some practical, down to earth encouragement.
A dual purpose site consisting of The Marriage Preparation Course for engaged couples wishing to develop a healthy foundation for a lasting marriage. Also The Marriage Course for married couples to gain practical advice and tools to help achieve a healthy marriage.
FamilyLife works to strengthen families in the UK. Their focus is with couple relationships and supporting marriage. Research shows that the quality of couple relationship as well as marriage have very significant benefits for the family as a whole. FamilyLife helps to transform relationships through providing hope and practical tools. Their events and resources are suitable for those who are married, preparing for marriage, remarried or in a long term relationship… struggling or solid. Everything they do is designed to be practical, fun, inspiring and give hope to those of all faiths and none.
The website promoting Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages as ways of understanding and building relationships.
Dealing With Money
There are many different programmes available and if you want to use a package you’ll need to find one that works for you.
For Mac users Banktivity 5 (£44.99 from the App Store or www.iggsoftware.com/banktivity) is a well developed program for tracking spending and budgeting and has corresponding apps for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. It also offers excellent chart summaries for checking spending over a given period (and you can sync it with your iPhone and keep track of spending on the go). Also good for Mac users is iCompta 5 (£22.99 from the App Store or www.icompta-app.com). For PC users one of the biggest money management programs for families is Moneydance (about £39.99 and now also available for Mac from the App Store). These programs are very similar. The software allows you to balance your transaction, while keeping a running balance in the different budget categories that you have set up.
There are also software programs that use the envelope system to track spending. You can find different programs that will allow you to track your budget this way. A few are operated online, and so you can access them from anywhere. These work well for people who need a more visual way of tracking expenses.
You can set up a budget tracking system in Excel or Numbers (on a Mac) as well. This is fairly easy to do. You can set up a budget according to your exact needs, and track spending at the same time.
Alternatively if you use on-line banking these products often contain tools to help with budgeting or allow you to download your transactions to your Mac or PC.
Credit Action is a national money education charity dedicated to helping educate individuals and families in all aspects of money management.
CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Service) is a charity dedicated to providing confidential, free counselling and money management assistance to financially distressed families and individuals. The CCCS Helpline is on: 0800 138 1111
The website for the Citizens Advice Bureau, offering help and advice, with sections including ‘Your Money’, ‘Your Family, ‘Your Life’ and ‘Your Rights’.
An internet and telephone service, confidential and free of charge, offering budgeting and debt management advice.
Part of the BBC website dedicated to personal money concerns, with the latest financial news, and advice guides on matters from saving to mortgages and pensions, and links to further websites.
The website of Cambridge Money Advice Centre which offers free one-to-one advice, counselling and advocacy to those in debt. Supported by St Andrew’s Church, Histon and other local churches.
The following sites provide more general information about financial matters, financial terms and available products:
There are many available depending on your particular interest. For a good basic guide to the fun and pitfalls of managing money together we thoroughly recommend: Couples and Money—A Couples Guide for the New Millennium by Victoria Collins (ISBN 1 891689 98 3). Although the examples are all US-based the principles are universal and her thinking and her approach is very practical, clear and easy to follow.
Blended Families—Advice and Guidance
If your marriage will create a ‘blended’ or ‘step’ family, here are some online resources which you may find helpful.
Care for the Family
Care for the Family is a national Christian charity which aims to promote strong family life. A section of their website is devoted to ‘Life in a Step-family’ and provides links to articles, events and resources.
StepIn asap (Advancing Stepfamily Awareness in Practice)
StepIn are an organization of psychotherapists and related practitioners who have come to understand that there are fundamental challenges for families in which not everyone is biologically related. Their website has some useful advice, a list of the services they offer and a list of related reading: www.stepinasap.co.uk/booklist.html
This article is a guide to step-parenting and blended families and includes advice on bonding with your blended family, dealing with differences, strengthening a blended family and maintaining marriage quality.
Being a Step Parent
This website offers extensive advice for step-parents and their families, including financial issues, communication and parenting and includes a number of case studies
Happy Steps is a research based step-family resource centre. There are details of the latest research into step-families, information about events, links to articles and you are also given the opportunity to ‘Ask the Expert.’