10 Ways to Make Your Marriage Last -- Even Get Stronger -- During the Recession
Money is at the root of many marital arguments, even in a normal economy. But right now especially, as unemployment rates skyrocket and savings accounts are dwindling, the heightened financial stress is taking an extra toll on many relationships.
Keeping lines of communication -- about money and any other topic -- open is crucial to keeping your marriage strong.
In fact, according to a Harris Interactive poll, 38 percent of men and women said that money was the number-one cause of marital conflict … and that was in 2006 -- before the economy really got bad.
The bottom line is when finances get tight, something many couples are dealing with right now, it puts extra stress on your marriage. But that doesn’t mean your happiness or intimacy has to suffer. With the tips that follow you can be sure your marriage will survive these tough times, and may even come out stronger.
- Avoid letting money become a control issue. If one partner earns more money than the other, it can feel as though they have more of an entitlement to the money, or in deciding how it’s spent. They don’t. As a couple, you need to make financial decisions together, regardless of who earns more.
- Be extra supportive if your spouse loses their job. Losing a job can be akin to losing your identity or self-worth. Realize your partner may be struggling with such issues after a lay off, and go the extra mile to let them know how much you appreciate and admire them, regardless of what job they hold.
- Keep family out of it. Extended family, that is. While it’s normal to get some support and advice from your in-laws and other extended family, they should not interfere to the point it makes you or your partner uncomfortable. It’s important for you and your spouse to make financial and other decisions as a combined unit, separate from the families you grew up in.
Further, don’t put family members (or friends) in a position to take sides against your mate. If you have done so already or do in the future (even by accident) -- or if someone talks down about your mate -- then know it will take extra efforts BY YOU to reduce and redirect this negative energy, and will require added comments of positive support for your mate.
- Become your mate’s greatest advocate. The best way to respond to any negative comments directed at your spouse is to purposely and immediately make efforts to reply with a comment about something very positive regarding your mate. By NOT agreeing or participating in negative discussions, you will NOT allow or perpetuate such thinking by them and instead you will be replacing negative thinking with a positive focus for your relationship … especially even in these difficult times!
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- Nurture and comfort your partner. We all have a need to feel safe and secure, and this need may be even more prominent during stressful financial times. So offer your spouse encouraging words, hugs and emotional support in any way you can.
- Keep arguments respectful. Arguments are inevitable, but when you argue stick to the issue at hand and avoid making personal attacks. Arguments that are kept fair can be constructive, but if you veer off into the land of mean comments and personal attacks, you'll likely never reach a compromise, much less a solution.
- Communicate. Along with arguing respectfully, it's important to communicate respectfully. By sharing your thoughts, concerns and ideas regularly, you create an open environment of trust and intimacy.
- Laugh often. Lest things get too serious, use humor to keep life in perspective and make your relationship fun again.
Something as simple as laughing with your spouse can turn a dull day into a fond memory.
- Keep the romance alive. When a couple first meets, they instinctively prioritize their relationship and do all types of new, exciting and romantic activities together. Years later, after kids and other obligations enter the mix, it's up to you to make time to do meaningful things together and for one another.
- Make your marriage a safe haven. Your relationship should be a safe place where you both feel free to express your concerns, and can find a much-needed respite from life’s stresses.
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Yahoo Health December 13, 2006