In part 1 of Relationships in a Recession we looked at what circumstances exist in the environment around a couple’s relationship that could easily cause it to slide into a recession along with the economy.
In the second part of this series of three articles, we will discuss how important it is to take a controlling stance toward threats to your relationship. You need to be in the driver’s seat when threats impact you, rather than being a passive victim to economic circumstance.
We need to be careful about how we react to the media reports in a recession, as the media is so often driven by sales rather than facts. So many reports tend to drive expectations toward deeper recession rather than promote optimism that would more likely reverse the tide. This requires a couple to not merely be cautious but to rather take a leadership stance to take control of their situation to be strong against the threats of an economic recession.
With the growing stresses on couples’ relationships, each partner has to take on a greater leadership role in combating the threats to the relationship by examining the following:
1. Attitude – a recession is as much an attitude as it is a tightening of the economy. Fear grips the nation as an economic recession begins to be talked about by the mainstream media. Be careful about what you read and hear. Take pronouncements with a grain of salt. I’m not saying go into denial. So don’t let fear dictate your attitude and actions. Think of it this way. Are their opportunities for me during a recession? There are always opportunities. The question is where are they? What sort of changes will I have to make to take advantage of these opportunities? Just remember, someone is always makes money during a recession. The question is how you can gain from this. To take this attitude requires you to fight fear and grasp a clear-sighted confidence about the future.
2. Talk to family and friends – if you are feeling this so are others. Talk about this with your colleagues, friends and family. Develop a plan and commitment how you’ll address the challenges that come. Go to your friends and talk with them about what they plan to do. Talk to your family early before they fall into the fear trap. Deepen your relationship with your wife and teenagers so that when the recession is over, the relationship is stronger, and they become your greatest advocates for your family well-being. You aren’t doing this because misery loves company. No, the reality is that you can’t survive an economic down turn alone. You need support. They need you too. Talk about what is going to happen, and how you can support each other. You never know what sort of new opportunity may emerge in terms of opportunities to grow and become more resilient.
3. Money management – manage your money well. If you need to take a loan or a line-of-credit out, do so before things get tight, and you are in a position of strength to make the decision. Do you homework, and establish your plans for repayment. Keep a clear eye on your bills. If you know that cash will not be on hand to pay a particular bill, call the company and tell them. Similarly, if your mortgage is threatened, call the bank or credit union. They will work with you if you make the effort. After all they want your money and not your keys.
4. Invest in a long-term strategic plan. When the recession ends there will be an increased level of demand, and you want to be prepared to take advantage of it. If a recession hits, think of it as a weekend retreat where you can take time to get your house in order. Establish a plan of action for the next three years can give you all sorts of new areas to explore during the recession. Think of a recession as a correction in the system, and when it is over the system is healthy and you want to be ready to roll with it.
In summary, you have to look at a recession as an opportunity to regroup, rethink, repair, rework, renew and recommit to being at your best. It starts with your attitude as a couple, and it is translated in action in your relationships and in your future development plans.
In part 3 of Relationships in a Recession, we will discuss 10 ways in which to keep your relationship strong while the economy is suffering!
Remember, many businesses do very well in a recession; so can your relationship!!
SEAN LATIMER, MA
Registered Clinical Counselor
15391 Russell Avenue
White Rock, BC