Let’s face it—most people are feeling the effects of the economy. It might be as simple as your dollars don’t stretch as far as they did before or as severe as you or your spouse has been out of work for over a year. You might be arguing with your spouse over small purchases, or impulsively making big, unnecessary purchases to help alleviate your stress. You might be struggling with downsizing your lifestyle or feel embarrassed to let others know how much you’re financially stressed.
There are real problems and challenges out there and if your marriage or relationship is affected by money or the lack thereof, then this article is for you. Here are 6 coping strategies to help alleviate the strain on your relationship.
- Do a reality check. Sometimes we "catastrophize" and exaggerate our situation because we are full of fear and worry over our future and lack of control. Take stock of your real circumstances, such as your employment status, assets, savings, friends, family, and outside resources. Many times the reality of your situation does not match your fears—you may have more security than you think and more people in your life that could and would help out if needed.
- Don’t play the blame game. Approach money management from the perspective of what is best for the relationship and your family. Don’t blame, resent, or expect one partner to save the day. In most cases, everyone is doing their best. Times are challenging. Work together as a team and you will discover more effective and creative problem solving.
- If times are tough and money is tight, find activities to do that are fun and free. You still need time to escape and enjoy life no matter what. Sometimes the greatest experiences come from the adventure of doing something simple or out-of-the-box—and often those activities are free.
- Create a safe space from which to express your concerns and fears. Own your own feelings. Support your significant other’s feelings. It is far better to express yourself with responsibility, sensitivity, and care rather than allowing pent up feelings to seep out (or rage out) in destructive ways.
- Be willing to suffer a loss and make a change. You never know what tomorrow may bring. These tough times may be your entry into a new and exciting life. Feel the pain of letting go of life as you knew it but embrace the possibility that your best life is still ahead. This includes your relationship. A crisis can be the gateway to creating more love and intimacy, not less.
- Remember, you have each other. Going through tough times together is far better than feeling alone. Remember what really counts—the people in your life that you love and who you share your life with. Nurture those relationships. Getting perspective and feeling gratitude is a powerful way to navigate through challenging times.
It is normal for money problems to affect your relationships. However, there is a way to transform the conflicts that arise from money issues into an opportunity for greater understanding, acceptance, and love. If you and a loved one are struggling with how to deal with money concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help. I want you to have the best possible outcome when it comes to strengthening your relationships.
Please share your story with our community. This is how we learn and grow from one another.
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com