Thirty two thousand teachers have lost their jobs in the past three years in the south land. (1) California has a 10.8% unemployment rate (2) and while corporate America is whining over the very idea of people getting healthcare, 50 million Americans are without health insurance (3) and 636,000 people are homeless on any given night in the good US of A. (4) It’s no secret that financial struggles rate in the top three issues that challenge relationships. If you’re feeling the tensions rise, here are three survival tips for couples in the crunch who hope to make it through hell and high water.
Communicate the Crisis
Superstitious and religious folk sometimes believe that if you talk about the problem that makes the problem appear. Pretending the problem does not exist is called denial. So where is the healthy balance? When a couple can communicate their fears and frustrations to each other and are willing to listen to their partner (without blame or shame) they are laying a foundation to move forward. No one wants to stay in tension timeshare, so make time to talk about the bills, the options and steps you can take today to create some forward motion. Having goals as a couple will inspire activity and ease the stress.
Attack the Enemy – Not Each Other
In a male / female relationship it’s good to realize this about one other: Men like to be right and women like to get their desired result. Often times women will handle things in a way to insure the right outcome, where as men may prefer to win the battle, but in doing so they sometimes lose the war. Ego is a key ingredient for the male species and it would behoove the female partner to recognize that financial distress has the ability to attack the male ego as intensely as sexual issues or neglect. As tight as money may be, this is a time to love on each other, encourage your partner and comfort one another.
Rally Your Resources
In the old days, when an attack was on the horizon, the pioneers would circle up the covered wagons to create a hedge of protection. They may have been ducking behind sacks of corn meal with shotgun in hand, but the idea was that they used what they had to protect themselves and fight off the enemy. In this day of financial crisis, the 99 cent store is your friend, compassion is your sack of corn meal and creativity is your weapon. This is the time to ask yourself: what do you love to do rather than what have you been doing? This is the season to pull out all the stops, dig deep into your creative self and allow those hidden gifts and not-so-hidden talents to surface. If you are a writer, you need to be writing every single day. Artists, get your work out of the attic and up for show and tell and sell. Teachers, get your class online to your target audience and charge fees to those who can pay them. Allow yourselves to be compensated appropriately for what you do best! Design a website for free and market yourself unashamedly. This is not the time to be shy or sit by and hope to be discovered.
This may feel like your darkest hour, but there’s power to be made manifest on your behalf.
Believe for the best and prepare for the worst. Decide today that you’re not a quitter. Foster your faith and appreciate your partner. No one grows faster than when they are faced insurmountable circumstances and choose to make momentum rather than excuses.
There is is strength in the struggle.