Recession Proof Your Relationship

 In these shaky financial times couples have more conflict. They feel more distant from one another because they are worried about money or the future.  Although stress about money may increase, romantic relationships need not suffer.  In fact, they can flourish.  Norene Gonsiewski, MSW, LCSW, Certified Imago Relationship Expert , said that there are a few things for couples to consider in order to stay connected in the current economic climate. If they practice these small steps they will not only survive the ups and downs, their relationship will thrive.

-  Schedule two fun date nights per week whether you want to or not! Dates need not be spendy.  When you were falling in love with your partner everything you did was fun and exciting, even going to the Laundromat.  Make a list together of free and low cost ideas for fun dates.  Ride the bus to a spot for a hike; go inter-tubing or sledding at a nearby location; look at the community section of the newspaper for local events at churches and other free venues; build a fire and play a board game; go to the park and play on the equipment.

-  Don't let your frustrations with the economy spill out onto your sweetie.  It is common for couples to turn on one another because they are angry about things outside of their control.  Stop, breathe and ask yourself, "Is my partner the real cause of my upset?"  If the answer is "no", then consider the next tip.

-  Do share your fears and concerns with your partner.  Intimacy is enriched by sharing our feelings in ways that don't blame or shame the other. Real closeness comes from letting your partner see inside of your heart and your mind.

-  Go on a "News Diet" for a few days per week. Limit watching the news, check the Internet or read the paper.  Instead read aloud funny or romantic short stories, spiritual or inspirational text or watch a movie. If you are going to watch  television make a point of watching something upbeat and stay away from crimes, monsters and too much reality that adds to your stress.

-  Reignite your sexual relationship. You might be saying to yourself, "I don't feel sexual when I am stressed!"  Again, early in your relationship you would have made love if the house was on fire. The chemicals of infatuation increase our lust so when we are first together we can easily compartmentalize our troubles, even deny them. If you are beyond the romantic phase you too can relearn how to focus on sensuality instead of your worries.  Set the time aside for a romantic interlude and even if you are not in the mood, being willing to give it a try.  Have a ten minute petting session to see if the fires of desire spark.  Willingness is actually the real first step of a successful sexual encounter for most people. Enjoy the natural stress reduction.

-  Work together on a menu that is tasty, homemade and low cost.  Put on your favorite tunes, light candles and cook together. When the meal is ready sit down at the table, eat slowly and have a conversation.



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