I don’t have to tell you about the tough times our country is facing economically right now. You are seeing it on the news, at the pump and at the grocery store. People are losing jobs, homes, and investments. If these challenges are effecting your family directly, it can put quite a strain on your relationship.

What is most important as you face these challenges, is that you face them together, as a team. Your communication and alliance with each other is of prime importance right now. When couples face hard times financially, there may be a tendency to take fears and stress out on each other. But that only makes the situation worse. 

Here I present some strategies to deal with tough times, cope with fears and realities without damaging your relationship. 

1. Listen to each other. Your partner may be feeling many of the same fears that you are. Listen to each others fears and have empathy for one another.

2. Share ideas and discuss strategies with one another. Sit down and write out your budget together. Discuss ideas about how you might cut back, save money or manage money effectively. Listen to each other’s ideas and problem solve together. The only way to effectively problem solve is to listen and talk to one another with respect and resolve. There might not be a ready solution, but talking about it doesn’t have to do damage to your relationship.

3. Stick together. A lot of it is about attitude. Have and share the attitude that we are in this together, and we will get through it together.

4. Recognize that there are ‘free’ ways to spend quality time together. Date night doesn’t have to mean a $30 babysitter, a $50 dinner and $20 at the movies. Date night can be having a night cap on the lanai after the kids go to bed, or an afternoon walk in the park. Find ways to be together and connect with each other without spending money. Cook meals together and eat at home as a family, whether it’s just the two of you or your kids too. Share babysitting duties with a trusted friend who has kids. Take turns watching each others kids for some quality time alone with each other.

5. Be emotionally supportive of one another. Eliminate blame, criticism, finger pointing, attacking and defending. These actions do nothing to solve problems.

Outside stresses can impact your marriage if you let it. But if you build your relationship resiliency through respectful communication, teamwork, support, and love, you can weather these difficult economic times.

If you would like more strategies, I found this great website full of resources. Check it out! http://www.healthymarriageinfo.org/challenges/financialstress.cfm

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