Keeping Love Alive When Your Bank Account’s on Life Support

Aug 8, 2012 by

The potential for couples to argue about money is right up there with sex and housework, so today’s economic difficulties mean there may be plenty for couples to fight about. Marriage Educators tell us that there are skills you can learn to navigate rocky financial terrain while keeping your relationship — and your pocketbook — intact.

For the past three years, the California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC) has taught proven relationship-building skills to California couples. Marriage Education expert and CHMC Vice President Patty Howell tell us, “In a recent statewide survey, we found that over half of divorced Californians named financial problems as a factor in their breakup. It doesn’t have to be this way. Financial problems can stress the relationship, or provide an opportunity to grow even closer together.”

How can a couple grow closer through financial hardship? Howell offers three tips from Marriage Educators: 1) Learn to show understanding! Get in your partner’s shoes and understand what they’re feeling and experiencing in this situation. Let them know you “get” their perspective. 2) Get on the same team! There’s no need for financial issues to come between partners. Use these problems as an opportunity to increase your sense of being “in it together”. By working together to solve an important problem, you’ll have the benefit of two heads working on the problem plus all the dividends that come from pulling together as a team. 3) Invest in your relationship! Spend time together having fun and building your sense of closeness. “This is always important,” says Howell, “but it’s easy to forget about nurturing the relationship when times are tough.”

To learn these skills and others, Howell suggests taking a Marriage Education course, many of which are offered for free or at very low cost through the California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC). CHMC offers Marriage Education and Relationship Skills classes for couples and singles through a network of partnering organizations located throughout California. Local classes and other relationship resources are available on CHMC is a pioneering nonprofit organization that was awarded 2.4 million dollars a year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families to raise awareness about Healthy Marriages and to increase access to Marriage Education classes throughout California.

Source: California Healthy Marriages Coalition

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