Regina Lewis of AOL had a very nice turn of phrase today about financial problems affecting marriage
They key, as she put it was: “Worse financially but better together.”

This may be a the new marital recipe for these hard times, and is not a bad one. Who says that we should measure our relationships by the ease with which we can spend money? It’s just that “downsizing” hurts. But if two people can do it together well, they may even end up closer than when they were wealthier.

Regina is writing about important matters. Money counts. Here’s a look at a few psychological issues from my perspective as a psychiatrist. Perhaps they may be useful for future articles.

Money is meaningful to people in different ways. For instance, for some having less brings up issues of entitlement (“I deserve that new dress”). For others, competition with others makes money very important, like “look at the kind of car or house that I have.” (This may make the economy hum, but it can be a bad trap for those who can’t afford keeping up.) Money also brings up self esteem issues, like how much you have in the bank is somehow a measure of your self worth. And, last, but really not least, is that money problems can trigger a primal anxiety about self preservation. A modest change in fortune can feel like the bottom is falling out of your world. This kind of anxiety can be truly upsetting and can lead to bad things in a marriage.

In my new book, The Intelligent Divorce: Taking Care of Yourself (, we cover many of these issues, but the material is pertinent for intact marriages as well.

The Message: You have to take a deep breath when a spouse loses his or her job, or the expenses are running beyond your means. This is a test to your marriage. Many people have passed this test before, and you may do so as well. What you have as a loving couple can endure a lot, as long as you don’t let unconscious forces take over. The key is to rationally adjust to a new (hopefully temporary) reality.

See full article from DailyFinance:

Categories: Money


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