Martin Luther once wrote, There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage. Having a good marriage takes work maybe a bit more work if you’re a blended family. Today We'll talk about a great tool for second marriages with Ron Deal and Greg Pettys. Deal and Pettys are the authors of The Smart StepFamily, which is loaded with practical financial advice for blended families. In particular, they’ve come up with a way for couples in that situation to promote peace and unity in their marriage. THE TOGETHERNESS AGREEMENT It’s called the Togetherness Agreement. Couples who form a blended family are blending so many things, both familially and financially. And it’s critical to communicate about all of the moving parts and dynamics. In a financial sense, it’s attitudes about money, saving, spending, investing etc. It’s the debt, savings, and investments each person brings into the relationship. But it’s not just about money. It’s about providing and loving well, caring, and creating trust in a relationship that can go the distance. Pain from the past creates fear. It’s important to talk through those past experiences, including scars from the past, to fully understand one another. The goal is to eliminate fear as a barrier to your oneness. The Togetherness Agreement is about writing the rules for our marriage with love and respect for both parties. They advise couples to make this agreement a written binding, legal contract. Marriage itself is a binding legal contract, but there is a lot of important information that isn’t addressed in standard marriage documents. For instance: How many accounts should you have? Should you combine all of your finances? What does fair mean? Is fair always equal? What about the rights and roles of children, grandchildren or others? You include a story about a couple Anthony and Jenny who put their Togetherness Agreement into action. What was their situation and what did it do for them? Learn more about The Smart StepFamily Guide To Financial Planning at FamilyLife. com/Blended. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● How can you help a single parent with a big schedule and financial challenges? ● After reaching a full employer max, should you invest your money outside of the matched account?