Tightening the belt can squeeze your relationship, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, sometimes, it can be a good thing.
According to a study, compiled by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia last month, the recession has both “stressed and strengthened” American marriages. The report stated that while the recession has put “considerable stress” on many American couples, it has also made some relationships stronger and brought people together.
The results are based on a nationally representative sample of 1,197 married Americans ages 18 to 45. The findings, based on information gathered in December and January, offer a recent snapshot of how the current economic climate is affecting married couples in the United States.
The data revealed:
- 82 percent of respondents reported being “very happy” or “happy” in their marriages.
- Among men and women with no financial stress, 87 percent reported being happy or very happy in marriage.
- Only 84 percent who reported one major economic worry said they were happy or very happy.
- Only 67 percent of those who had three major economic worries reported that they were happy in marriage.
- 30 percent of the respondents reported that the stress of the economic downturn had actually “deepened” their commitment to marriage.
While some of those figures are understandable, that last stat was downright encouraging, so we thought we’d chime in with some tips on how to keep the economic stress from souring your relationships.
- You’re in this together – Remember that you are not the only one feeling the pressures and stress in your relationship. This is the time to hunker down and support each other. This is what they meant when they said “for better or for worse.” When times get tight, working together can help make them easier to survive.
- Your relationship is still Job 1 – Even though many couples wind up taking several jobs to make ends meet, don’t let those busy schedules take their toll on your relationship. When you are home, when you are together, remember to make your relationship a priority. Take time to focus on each other and nurture your relationship.
- Make time to communicate – When your work schedules don’t match up, the little things can fall between the cracks. So, schedule a specific time to talk about your day, your plans and other necessities. Just make time to talk, even if it’s just to hear the sound of each others’ voices. Talking is good, no matter what is going on.
- Don’t forget the fun – Make time for fun and enjoy each other. Be creative. Fun does not have to cost a thing. A picnic in the park, a walk through the neighborhood or just sitting on the porch and having coffee can be just as romantic as an expensive meal.
- Don’t forget what you have – There’s a great line in Sheryl Crow’s song “Soak Up the Sun” — it’s not getting what you want/ it’s wanting what you’ve got. Focus your attention on the positive things in your life and relationship. Remember to have gratitude.
If you feel you need help with “stress-proofing” your relationship, please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment or, feel free to call us at 813-769-9039.