Is it possible for something good to come out of the economic downturn? Can a relationship, even one that may be experiencing its own hard times, come out better for surviving the hard times? Here are some ways to use the recession to your benefit:
Back to Basics. View this as an opportunity to get back to the basics. We live in such a busy world, accomplishing a lot, but losing touch with our partner, family, and friends. When we don't have a lot of money to spend on "activities," we have an opportunity to get closer and talk to one another. Re-learn the value of family time. Rather than everyone going in different directions, create simple activities with your family. Instead of going out to eat, cook at home with your kids, have a picnic and bring along the frisbee, or take a long walk and enjoy the fresh air. Play cards or games . . . all the things we used to do before video games and TV shows invaded family time.
Keep it Simple. When the economy is good, you have more money. More dollars in your pocket allows you the freedom to distract yourself with more activities and opportunities to do things separately. This may cause you and your partner to drift apart. Because our wallets are slimmer now and we're staying home more, this gives us the chance to sit still, slow our lives down, and start dealing with the unaddressed issues of our relationship. By keeping it simple and going back to talking to each other, you have a chance of getting closer and reviving the spark that drew you together in the first place.
Reevaluate. Now's the time to reevaluate our relationship to money. What are we spending our money on that we really don't NEED? In flourishing economic times, it's easy to get carried away and confuse our wants and our needs. This is the time to differentiate the two. Talk with your partner about ways to pare down. Use this as an opportunity to team up and work together on ways to save money. You'll both feel better with a plan of action.
Finish, Rather than Start. Use this as a time to look at the loose ends in your environment. Is there a project you could finish together that doesn't cost a lot? When the economy is good, we tend to start a lot of things without finishing them. Get creative and save money by trading weekends with friends. Get your buddies together and alternate weekends by helping one another with household projects. This week at my house, next week at yours. Then wrap up the day with a simple barbeque and good company.
We come from a culture of doing and achieving, with less emphasis on slowing down and enjoying the simple things that life offers. The recession gives us an opportunity to go inward, instead of outward, to think about what we're grateful for and what we appreciate, and just how lucky we are to be alive. Ultimately, we want closeness and companionship, and now is the opportunity to cultivate what's really important.
About the Author:
Relationship and Conflict Resolution Expert, Sharon M. Rivkin, M.A., M.F.T., author of The First Argument: Cutting to the Root of Intimate Conflict, helps hundreds of couples break the argument cycle with her proven, groundbreaking technique that resolves the most painful issues, stops repetitive conflict, saves relationships, and puts the love back in your marriage. Sharon has been featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, Reader's Digest, and major websites such as YahooPersonals, DrLaura.com, Hitchedmag.com, SheKnow.com, and many others. Visit Sharon at www.sharonrivkin.com.