Don't stress out over cash crunch
Coping with Financial Crisis advice from Dr. Christine
Sacco-Bene, Assistant Professor,printed in Miami Herald
Most couples would agree that a main source of stress in their
relationship comes from disagreements about money. Relationships and money can be a volatile combination. With our troubled
economy, it is no surprise that couples not only are feeling the strain from shrinking 401(k)s or unemployment, but are also
feeling strain in their relationships. As a licensed mental-health counselor, I know that to keep stress manageable there
are a few things you and your partner can do:
- Recognize that you and your partner may handle stress differently.
There is no particular way that either of you should experience your situation. Strong couples are dedicated to one another's
well-being and recognize the other's needs.
- Talk to your partner. Couples should spend time talking with and
listening to one another.
- Work together. Developing a budget together and encouraging each other's ideas are
important for your financial situation and your marriage. When developing a budget or financial plan, use task-oriented communication
to identify difficulties and determine solutions that work reasonably well for both of you.
- Consider the adage: Through
crisis comes creativity. Financial difficulties, such as unemployment or loss of benefits, present significant change for
you and your partner. This does not mean that you are ''at the end of your road.'' This challenge may offer
an opportunity to be creative. There may be possibilities that you have been overlooking. Talk to family members, financial
advisors and credit counselors to gather information and, perhaps, to find new creative solutions.
- Be patient. Budgeting
and financial planning, like a relationship, are ongoing commitments.
- Take a break if you find that stress is getting
to you and your partner. Strong couples spend time together doing things that they enjoy. You do not necessarily need to spend
money to relax and enjoy each other. When you return to your discussion, you likely will be refreshed and have more patience
to work through your disagreement.
- If your relationship is getting worse as a result of arguments about finances,
consider seeking marital or couples counseling. Financial issues can impact a relationship, and a counselor may be able to
help you find healthier ways to relate.
- Maintain spiritual well-being. Couples describe spirituality in many ways;
and despite these different definitions, spiritual well-being can provide a sense of healing during the most challenging times.
CHRISTINE SACCO-BENE, assistant professor, Adrian Dominican School of Education, Barry University,
Posted on Sunday, 11.02.08 Miami Herald