Do Financial Crises Cause Marital Crises?

The world’s finances are being shaken to their core because of – well – cheating and greed.  Nonetheless, people are being laid off, large companies are going out of business, small businesses can hardly pay for even minor fees to keep themselves afloat, and the price of gas keeps yo-yoing.  The good news is that you can buy a car for under sticker price…as long as you don’t need a loan; you can also buy a house for a pittance…as long as you don’t need a loan.

A number of financial advisors have reported that their biggest problem is not the most obvious one, which is explaining what folks should and shouldn’t do with their cash, savings, and investments.  As it turns out, their biggest problem is how husbands and wives are turning on each other with blame and rage or turning away from each other with blame and fear.

Feelings of concern, anxiety, sadness, confusion and fear are, frankly, reasonable emotions when tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes hit your community…it is reasonable to slap your own – and maybe each other’s – foreheads, regretful that you both didn’t plan better.  But ultimately, it happened to each of you and all of your neighbors and you have to respond in a constructive way despite your personal pain.

Feelings of concern, anxiety, sadness, confusion and fear are, frankly, reasonable responses when the financial bottom falls out from under you.  It’s not unusual to want to look for the cause of the disaster whether it is a bank CEO, the President, the Treasurer, modest-income people who borrowed to live beyond their means….or….your spouse.

“Kicking the dog” because you are upset with your day is animal cruelty.  Kicking your husband or wife when you are both in the same lifeboat is also cruel, and it is destructive to the marriage and the family.

Perhaps it is true that one or both of you made some financially unwise moves with investments or by spending too much and living beyond your means with credit cards and loans.  I think that in these situations it is always best for the person in charge of the “errors” to simply own up to screwing up, apologize, and then offer to help make things right.  Once your spouse has thrown himself or herself on your mercy, do not ever make them feel stupid or bad in an attempt to regain a sense of superiority or control. 

When things go wrong, turn TO each other with compassion, solace, and a pledge to be a team and work it through together, survive it together, brainstorm together, and work together.  No matter how sad you feel, this is the time for lots of attention and great sex.  Endorphins and orgasms go a long way to keeping you both cheerful about life and life with each other.

The financial situation in America and the world, as well as the Dow, will come back up.  Make sure your marriage weathers the storm so that you can both be there to enjoy it.