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Marriage in a Recession: Solve Your Money Problems

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Recession Rift #1: Misdirected Anger
Marriage and money problems
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Stephen Webster

You managed your money carefully. But you can't get a car loan because of the credit crisis, and your boss has reduced your hours. Now your husband and you are lashing out at each other.

Emotional Rescue: Declare a truce on the potshots—which upset the two of you as well as the kids—and remember who you're angry with. "It's the economy, not your partner," says Elizabeth Dickson, a New York City psychotherapist. Vent if you must, but use "I" statements ("I'm so frustrated! We played by the rules, but look where that got us."). And show empathy when you're the listener ("Yes, it's unfair that we've all been hurt."). "If you minimize each other's feelings about the recession, you'll end up fighting about how you're being unsupportive," says Don C. Damsteegt, PhD, a couples therapist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Instead, remind yourselves what's positive in your lives, including things still under your control. And turn off the news. If one of you tends to shout at Fox or MSNBC, the other should say, "Let?s watch a movie."