Recession & Divorce

With the recession hitting us hard and jobless rates up it has caused the divorce rate to increase. We all know that the economy is struggling and there are more pressures out there on each of us personally. How does this affect your marriage? I am sure you’re already feeling it, financially and emotionally. If your not then maybe you should prepare for it, finances are one of the number one reasons that couples get divorced or break up. With the added pressures of cut backs, foreclosures and other signs of recession it is bound to affect everyone somewhere in their lives and families. Let’s see if we can figure out some solutions that may help you and your relationship sail through this a little less tattered.

When the country is struggling to find a way to bail out businesses, cut costs and take care of it’s people, no matter how hard they try, they are going to loose some of them along the way. Jobs get cut, people get offended and they feel lost in a sea of millions. They start to feel like no one is hearing their woes and that they’re alone in this fight. They start to feel singled out, worthless and almost martyred sometimes. They start to take it personally. This is usually the first stone in the wall that gets built between them and a loved one who truly cares about what they’re going through. Overtime, without any help, they slowly add stones to this wall until eventually it’s so high they can’t see over it. Can’t see what is on the other side, their significant other has disappeared in their eyes. They stop talking and communicating because they no longer feel that anyone will understand their plight. One spouse is feeling alone and the other starts to feel left out and neglected. It isn’t that one spouse doesn’t want to help the other, it’s that they aren’t working together to fix it anymore.

How can you fix this or stop it from happening in your marriage? You would think that would be a simple, “don’t do it” answer but it’s not. Trying to help someone who is building a wall without you can be very difficult. It takes a lot of work and it is steady work, not just a quick fix. It takes sitting down to take on this fight together. You have to remove every stone as it is laid. It takes communication and reassurance. You have to realize that you are in this together; no matter if one of you feels like they are alone or not. Let your spouse know that this situation is happening to both of you, not just one of you. Let them know that you are feeling what they are, what happens to them effects you too. I know this is a time when you don’t have much money or adding anything else to the budget could add more stress, but if you are not communicating well, or not hearing each other, this may be a good time for communication counseling. If you can’t afford it, then still realize you need it and try to find a way to communicate. One good thing to try is writing love letters to each other. Tell each other on paper how you are feeling. That way you are not interrupting each other, you are getting it out and the other person has something to physically hold on to. Something read when they are down. You also need to realize that you are in this together. Marriages and relationship are built as a two person structure; there is a reason for that. You are not alone in this what ever happens, good or bad, it happens to both of you, together. Even if you are separating, you’re both at a loss at the same time. You’re still going through the same thing, having the same experience. You can use that to help support each other. We all like to be with people who understand and are going through the same things that we are.

Not having enough money to do simple things, like shop for groceries or pay bills can definitely slam a wedge between two people. Especially if only one person takes care of the finances. That causes added pressure on that person that could be relieved simply by doing it together. Don’t put one of you in a position where you are trying to hold up the lives that you built alone. Foundations are not built on one skinny stick; we are not made with one leg. We have two for balance. Foundations are spread across an area to that they can hold up the weight. How long can you stand on one foot? Don’t put all the pressure on one person. Stand together and weather the storm. Shore up any distance between you and hold on. Trust me, in the end, when the storm is over, you will be stronger for the next one. Together or not in the end, it will help to know you did everything you could and there will be no “should of, could of or would of’s.” You took every step and are entering into any kind of separation may be easier to handle. Stepping into one without taking every step you could of leaves unanswered questions and makes it harder to get through. Making the emotional strains and stages of divorce longer.

With the stress and strain of the economy, finances and other normal marriage strains, emotions can run high during a recession. People may turn to old bad habits to relieve that, such as alcohol, gambling or straying. The emotional instability and worry can cause relationships to feel like they are drifting worlds apart, when in reality there is no other problem than outside influences pulling you apart. Each person finding a reason to step farther away instead of finding the source and getting rid of it. I have repeated my friend Gordon’s comment over and over, “it takes more energy to get a divorce than it does the save the marriage.” Thank you again Gordon, it’s a wonderful statement and should be engraved into people’s minds. It does take more energy to pull apart two objects than it does to put them together. I’ve got two examples for you that you might understand.

1. Playing with magnets in school. I am sure that in some science class somewhere in school they had to play with magnets. This is a good life lesson that we don’t really think about. Some magnets repelled each other and you couldn’t get them together no matter what you did. Some pulled together and it was hard to keep them apart. This is like a marriage because at one point, you two pulled together. You were drawn to each other like magnets. Now with the added strain of the recession it is like trying to pull the magnets apart. They went together easily and were harder to pull apart. Think of outside influences as those two hands trying to pull those magnets apart.

2. The lid of a jar. When you first try to open that jar and let the contents out that lid is stuck tight. Sometimes they are hard to get off. You have to twist, pull, bang it on the counter, use other object to try and pry it open. This is like a marriage. The lid should be stuck on tight. The twisting and pulling being the outside influences that can open that lid and eat away at the contents.

Whatever your outside influences are during this recession and no matter if your marriage breaks apart in the storm or not, it is hard on all of us. Realize that right now there are a lot of outside influences affecting our lives. There is pressure on everyone. You are not alone; we are all here with you. We are not just one skinny stick holding up our whole worlds. We are a group of legs that need to shore up and stand together so that we can all make it through these high winds and rough waters.

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