Protecting Your Marriage During Troubling Financial Times

The four biggest conflicts that couples have difficulty reaching agreement about are money, sex, household chores, and parenting.   During these tumultuous and distressing times,  the threats to  marriage are exacerbated tenfold.  Your marriage may be testing thinking “How are we going to get through this when we can’t even talk about some of the smaller things or when we fight about small things all-time?”  Times such as these test even the healthiest of marriages.  Every individual and couple faces difficult challenges, trials and tribulations, and tests of endurance. We seem to find strength – day by day.  Of course, budgeting, compromise, and discipline are key ingredients – but how does a couple appreciate each other during these times and draw closer together?  The following exercise is designed to help you  draw upon strength and to find hope in the bleakest of moments.

Triumphs and Strivings (Gottman, 2007)

This exercise is designed for you to write about some aspects of your own life and
your own personality that will help both you and your partner understand you better.
In your own notebook, answer the following questions as candidly as you can.

  1. What has happened in your life that you are proud of?
  2. Write down the story of the psychological triumphs you have had in your life,your gains, times when things went even better than you expected, periodswhen you were better off after coming through trials and tribulations. Includethose periods of stress and duress that you survived and mastered.These events might have been small events, but they may still have a greatdeal of importance to you. They might include your childhood or your adultlife. They may be challenges you have met, even if these were challengesyou created for yourself to meet. They may be periods of power, withglorious events or fine people, events of closeness and intimacy, great timesof friendship. They may include previous, very positive relationships orpositive moments within them.
  3. How have you coped and gotten through these hard events and periods in yourlife? How have you endured? What glories and victories have youexperienced? What were the lasting effects on you of going through these things?
  4. What did you take from these positive events in your life? How have theyaffected the way you think of yourself and your capabilities? How have theyaffected your goals and the things you strive for? Did these events strengthenyou?
  5. What has been your own history with the emotion of pride and with praise? How did your parents show you that they were proud of you when you were achild? How have other people responded to your accomplishments in your life?What role does pride in your accomplishments play in your marriage or relationship? What role do your own strivings have in your relationship? Areyour goals and strivings honored and valued? How so? What do you want your partner to know and understand about these aspects of your self, your present, your future plans and goals, and your past?
  6. How can you draw upon these with each other to face the most current threat to your marriage?