It can be hard enough to keep a marriage together when times are good, let alone surviving something as stressful as financial hardship. The stress of finances can lead to arguments, resentment, and conflict- even divorce.
Stay calm. It’s easy to get upset and take your frustrations out on each other, but try to keep your cool. Also remember not to take your anger out on yourself- this can be just as damaging as blowing up at your partner. If you can see the argument escalating, resist contributing further to the conflict and simply leave the room. Let your partner know that you’re not avoiding the discussion, but that you would prefer it continue only when you both have had the chance to calm down.
Don’t forget to communicate. Remember that even though financial stress causes everyone to become more sensitive and touchy, this doesn’t give you a free pass from not discussing the current situation.
Assumptions have caused many more conflicts than a simple conversation. You and your partner handle stress differently, and each has your own way of getting through a crisis. Take this opportunity to learn more about each other and be each other’s support system.
Get creative. Even though you may be under financial strain, it doesn’t mean that romance has to go out the window. In times like these, it’s even more important to remind your spouse that you still care, and want to spend time with them. Depending on the time of year, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy an afternoon at a nearby park. Light a few candles and have dinner over candlelight, then snuggle and talk under a warm blanket in front of the fire. Set aside time to go through your children’s baby books and old photo albums, reliving memories you have made together.
Stay active. One of the things that get eliminated during tough times is finding the time to keep your body healthy. Don’t let this priority fall to the bottom of the list. Exercising is a great way to work out aggression and frustration, not to mention its natural abilities as a stress reliever. Encourage your partner to exercise with you- you can keep each other motivated and spend more time together.
Ultimately remember that as long as you have a roof over your head and food on the table, things may not be as bad as they seem. Be appreciative that you still have each other and be thankful that you can ride out the financial storm together.