To-Dos to Keep Your Marriage Strong in Tough Economic Times

After a fair amount of research, I found that there was a direct relationship between the increase in economic duress and rising divorce rates.  We have all heard how high money issues are on the list of topics of conflict in marriage, so this statistic only makes sense.  

As we move into this recession, which in my option is no longer a “what if,” but instead is a limbo like statement like “how low can it go,” we must protect our marriages from being affected.  My wife and I are using the following tools in our relationship as we have seen a decline in our own financial stability. 

1. Open lines of communication—When it comes to discussions about money, we both agree beforehand to bring the spirit of cooperation and resolve to seek amenable solutions to the table. We also focus on being loving and noncritical. This is a very volatile subject that is loaded with pitfalls. You must set yourselves up to move forward together with a game plan. That takes preplanning. 

2.  Division of labor—Putting the entire burden of financial planning on the shoulders of one spouse often works when things are good. However, when things get tough, feelings like blame, distrust, shame and overwhelm begin to show up. I believe financial decisions should always be a joint decision in marriage, that way no one is to blame. It also keeps the couple working together. Strive to maintain a “team” attitude and keep each other in the loop at all times. Not knowing or having a say is often a huge source of stress. 

3.  Define needs and wants as a family—My wife and I realized over two years ago, due to our position in the faltering real estate market, that we needed to go on what we call a “spending freeze.” In order to ride out this storm, we have purchased only needs instead of wants, despite having the money to do more. Once this decision was made, we easily made good point-of-purchase decisions that were best for our family. We also explained this to our oldest son and he is getting to learn with us. I go into this in detail in my book, ONO

4. Focus on your duty to one another—Keep the “calling” to co-parent your children from a loving respectful marriage on the top shelf. Humans can do amazing things when motivated by things bigger than themselves. There are very few things bigger than successfully launching a little human into the world from a loving home. Make it your calling and you can move mountains. My wife and I keep our spirituality as the guiding light when making any decision concerning our family. 


A side note—As a result from some recent Twitter chatter, I have heard, but have not been able to verify, that many divorces are being stalled because people do not have enough money to pay for the process.

Thought I would leave you with that interesting twid-bit.

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Marc, what a timely article!

Marc, what a timely article! I am a christian counselor in Brentwood TN right outside of Nashville.  I recently wrote a blog about Marriages Surviving These Tough Economic Times.  The angle I took was for husbands and wives to understand the frustrations of the other spouse, and I added some "cheap dating suggestions" about keeping the marriage alive throughout.  Of course the cornerstone of all of this would be to keep the lines of communication open. Good job! I look forward to reading more.



Marc, thank you for this

Marc, thank you for this post. My husband and I have three children and have "survived" on one income for 10 years. It's a challenge. For us, every year is a recession! But, we made the decision long ago that I should be a stay-at-home parent. Now that I work from home, I really feel we all have the best of both worlds.

We made some financial mistakes in the past, but like a lot of people now, we have a desire to stretch our money as far as it can go. Like you and your wife, we evaluate everything as a "want" or "need". It's amazing how little one needs but how much one wants.

What struck me the most about this post was your point on division of labor. I handle the checkbook and bills, and my husband takes care of our investments. BUT . . . we each know almost nothing about what the other is doing, and that could cause problems. Thanks for the suggestion that we should reevaluate that.

Great advice!


Great post! I enjoyed hearing

Great post! I enjoyed hearing the male perspective of marriage in trying times. It sounds like you and your wife have some great tools.

Thanks for the post Marc. I

Thanks for the post Marc. I know I've felt some stress in my marriage when finances are challenging...

You bring up four good points to pay attention to.

I've developed/discovered some powerful tools that will help men and women both "synergize" these key points .

My book "The Hero Principles" is written for men, but is also popular with women.

I've made it available for free at

Keep up the great work!