How to Save a Financially Wounded Marriage
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2. Partner up.
Two minds are better than one. If you are unemployed, assume your spouse loves you and wants to help you but doesn't know how. Your spouse can be an asset to your job search. Show your mate respect and ask for his/her help before he/she starts giving you orders. Partner up and have a conversation about how to budget, stretch the dollar, and advance your job search.
3 . Avoid dumb emotional arguments.
Have "dollars and sense" conversations. If your mate accuses you of making financial decisions that are based on your emotions, you probably are. Replace emotions with facts and you will short-circuit many arguments. For example, if you want to visit your family in another state, get the cost of transportation and anything else involved in the trip, then discuss the options. Avoid abstract words like "whatever," "about," "maybe," and "probably."
4. Include daily 30-second love plays.
Spark intimacy with kind acts and words. Use the "Follow-Up Love Play" to show you care, especially when financial issues have taken center stage in your life. Call, text, or email your mate to ask about an event, a meeting, or appointment he/she had that day. Giving your mate a little attention works wonders. Then, use a "Pitch-in Love Play." Volunteer to do something before you're asked to do it. Find a chore, task, or responsibility your mate usually does and do it for him/her.
5 . Protect your union: Keep it confidential.
Have a conversation with your mate about what is personal information and should remain private (your bank account, house foreclosure) and what is public. Avoid major battles by agreeing not to "overshare" private information with others.
Use any or all of these tips, and you will see an immediate difference because every person wants to be loved, respected, and appreciated. Each tip is meant to instill a higher value into your relationship.
Laurie Puhn is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator, relationship expert, and bestselling author of "Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship Without Blowing Up or Giving In," from which this article is adapted. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.