Relationship Advice: Is Money Tight? How to Handle the Stress

money stress relationships advice

Keep financial stress from tearing you down

Relationships are facing more and more stress with the recession; foreclosures, loss of jobs, worry about money, arguing about money, decreased income, loss of stocks, etc.

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 an economic 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 on keeping your connection strong while handling economic stress:

  1. Focus on the NOW: Many people have the “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.
  2. $20 Date Nights: Many couples forget to nurture the relationship and don’t work enough on growing the relati­­onship.  Make the relationship a priority and schedule date nights.  Be creative and find ways to connect with one another while spending only $20.  Take the challenge and see what you can both come up with!
  3. money stress relationships advice san diegoCreate 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 you the two of you will make it  together.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 we “do have.”  Shift your focus and keep looking at what you do have, such as appreciating your family and friends.
  6. 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.
  7. Hold Each Other: 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.


About Jennine Estes, MFT

Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653