Many people worry about finances and are facing tough economic struggles. Quite frequently when financial stability drops, so does the relationship satisfaction. Money and marriage are always related, and sometimes not in a positive way. Don’t be part of that trend. If your bank account is dwindling, it is more important than ever to keep your relationship strong. The following tips will guide you on how to manage your money stress while maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner.
Keep financial stress from tearing you down
Many relationships are drastically hurting because their finances are declining. In hard times, relationships are supposed to be the comfort zone, the place to decompress and find solace… especially in a global crisis. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for some relationships.
Don’t be one of those couples suffering simply because the bank account has dropped. Here are a few tips for keeping your connection strong while handling economic stress:
- Focus on the NOW: Many people have “worry thoughts” of the future: “What will happen if…” or “What will we do when…” or “How will we handle…” Basically, future thoughts only hurt and damage our mood. Don’t get caught in that trap. Keep your mind on what you have now and what you are doing now.
- Free or Cheap Date Nights: Many couples forget to nurture their relationship and don’t work enough on growing their bond. Make the relationship a priority and schedule date nights. Be creative and find ways to connect with one another while spending only $20 or less. Take the challenge and see what you can both come up with!
- Create a Game Plan Together: Game plans create a sense of direction and decrease anxiety. Sit down with your partner and create a game plan as a team. The stronger the joint game plan, the better the two of you will make it together.
- External impacts Internal: External environments can impact your internal mood. For example: when the house is messy, the more stressed you might feel. Carve out a few hours in the week to organize and clean your house and office. Notice how it impacts your mood and the way you communicate with your partner.
- Look at what you DO have: When stress is heightened from bill payments and work stress, people often hyper-focus on what they “don’t have” versus what they “do have.” Shift your focus and keep looking at what you do have, such as appreciating your family and friends.
- Think Positive: Worry can take away optimistic thoughts and bring you down. The more negative your thoughts, the less energy you have for the relationship. Think positively and avoid the emotional beat-up game. Encourage yourself daily and tell yourself you will make it work and find a way.
- Hold Each Other: Remember that your partner may be just as worried about finances as you are and it is important to be sensitive to their feelings too. When the tough gets going…hold on tight and comfort one another. It is okay to be fearful or upset, so hold onto one another and tell your partner that you will face the struggles together. Getting confirmation that you aren’t alone can ease the stress and make the obstacles more manageable.
What If I’m Married to My Business Partner?
If you happen to co-own or co-operate a business with your partner, this may present a specific set of challenges. People who are married to their business partner have added difficulty in separating work (and finances) from home. In these cases it is especially important to find a healthy balance between career and relationship. This will keep money stress from further leaching into the marriage. Here are some ways to keep the balance:
- Make your relationship a priority. Keeping your relationship and business successful is quite simple. Put a time frame on work. Set up a few times when you two are “off the clock.” This is the time you will no longer discuss work. Set aside time for the two of you to enjoy one another, to relax and connect. You get to now focus on the relationship and it can be a priority.
- Create strong boundaries. When you are working, find respectful ways to discuss stressful situations. Because you are in a relationship, you might react or respond differently than speaking to a co-worker. Set up boundaries in the relationship. If you are working, make it about work. Don’t take your partner’s stress personally.
- Talk, Talk, Talk. As a relationship therapist, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of communication. Work requires one type of communication and relationships require another. Communicate with your partner how you feel and what might bother you. Let them in and teach them what you need.
- Couples Time. Set up a consistent date time once a week…where work isn’t allowed to come into the conversation. No matter how bad you want to talk about work, put it aside until you two are “on the clock.”
- Use your resources. Many couples share their work day with their partner. But you don’t have this leisure. He/She already knows. You can’t vent about your co-worker to your partner. Go to a respected friend to talk about your stress and to vent, or get couples counseling to help you two handle the stress.
- Watch for Team Work. Notice how you two work as a team and support one another throughout the day. Provide feedback to your partner and tell them how much you appreciate their hard work. Pay attention to how you two make the business successful.
Still need help coping with your stress? Check out our article on how to decrease stress and anxiety.