Five Tips to Recession Proof Your Relationship

Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor of psychology and business at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, offers these five tips to help couples recession-proof their relationships.

Expand Meaning of Wealth

Tip 1: Expand your definition of "wealth" and "security" to include all of your riches -- good health, hobbies, pets, friendships and, most importantly, your spouse and family.

Couples have to realize what's really important to them, thinking about all the riches in their life besides money. If people are conscious of this and show appreciation of the other person in their relationship, and other members of their family, it takes away some of sting of what they have to give up when financial circumstances limit them. We all have the problem of often thinking about losses instead of our riches, or the things that make us feel wealthy besides money. And the bottom line is that relationships are much more enriching than money. Would you ever trade your spouse for a job? Not likely. But that's what couples are doing when they let financial problems ruin a relationship.

Consider New Roles

Tip 2: Flexibility in the face of change is the best defense. Uncover the secret psychological expectations you have about what a "husband" or "wife" should be and consider expanding those concepts to meet new economic realities.

Couples have to address that a recession or financial crisis may force them into new roles. While the husband may have always considered himself to be the breadwinner, when he loses his job, it can be difficult to readjust to a new roles. So you have to be as flexible as possible in considering new roles in the relationship, and the new meaning of being a husband or a spouse in an relationship altered by the recession. That means discussing what expectations you have on what it means to be a husband or wife, and how you expect to care for the family and to be cared for by your spouse. And there may be different ways for you to be a "masculine man" or a "generous wife" than in your previous roles when the economy wasn't effecting your relationship.

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