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.