According to the American Psychological Association, out of 25,000 adults surveyed 75% said that money was the #1 source of stress in their lives. And financial stress is the
# 1 reason that couples divorce. With the economic future unstable many couples are feeling the stress already. Here are a few steps that may help keep your stress at bay and your marriage in tact.
- Communicate with intent
- Share your feelings
- Take a walk together every day
By getting away from your home and your office you will discover solutions to problems that you never imagined possible. Have you ever been looking for a file that you know was just on your desk? The more you look, the more you can’t find it and the more frustrated you become. Finally you walk away. You walk down the hall and visit with a colleague or get a cup of coffee. When you return to the office, to your amazement the file is right there on your desk! The file fairy must have come! Sometimes just simply stepping away from a situation will help you to see clearly again.
I also discovered that in order to get my husband to have a conversation with me it helps to take a walk. The reason seems to be obvious to Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. Her research shows that the differences between the communication styles of men and women go far beyond mere socialization, and appear to be inherent in the basic make up of each sex.
Observing videos of boys and girls asked to have a conversation with their best friend Tannen discovered that while the girls were very comfortable the boys were not. Girls in all age groups would face each other and immediately began to talk, eventually ending up discussing the problems of one girl. Boys, on the other hand, sat parallel to each other and would jump from topic to topic--centered around a time when they would do something together. Tannen observed that,
"For males, conversation is the way you negotiate your status in the group and keep people from pushing you around; you use talk to preserve your independence. Females, on the other hand, use conversation to negotiate closeness and intimacy; talk is the essence of intimacy, so being best friends means sitting and talking. For boys, activities, doing things together, are central. Just sitting and talking is not an essential part of friendship. They're friends with the boys they do things with."Being aware of these basic differences will help you to communicate more effectively with your spouse. So lace up those walking shoes and get moving in the right direction.
- Create a plan together
You will most likely have to make sacrifices. Give a little to receive a lot more in the long run. What is each of you willing to do to get your finances back on track? It has to be a joint effort. Do Suzie and John really need to be involved in all of the outside activities you have them signed up for? Can you change dinner out with friends to dinner in? Chances are your friends are in the same boat and will be delighted at the suggestion. Take the money that you save to pay down a credit card or to put into your retirement account or perhaps to build up that take a year off fund.
- Keep focused on the good in your life
My husband and I will sometimes play the gratitude game. We each take a turn telling the other what we are grateful for that happened that day. Try it! I think you will find it both fun and energizing!
cc Kathryn Watson is a Life and Relaxation Coach and Motivational Speaker. She helps her clients to Stress Less and Focus More.