Current Economic Downturn Threatens Marriages, Says Marriage Counseling Coach

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Marriage counseling expert Nancy Wasson, Ph.D., has advice for couples with marriage problems who are in an unhappy marriage. "Spouses shouldn't let the economy set the mood for their marriage or determine the outcome," she warns.

Marriage counseling expert Nancy Wasson, Ph.D., warns spouses struggling to make their rocky marriage work: "Spouses shouldn't let the troubling economic news and forecasts in the news dampen their energy and commitment to finding ways to solve their marriage problems."

Wasson continues by saying, "It's easy to get disheartened by all the negative news and gloomy predictions for the future and to let this affect a person's attitude and energy level. When a spouse becomes negative and pessimistic, this will affect the interactions with their partner and can lead to a marriage separation or even divorce."

According to Wasson, "The real threat to marriages isn't the depressing economic situation -- it's the fear and stress that it can cause. When spouses are fearful, the ability to be creative problem-solvers decreases. And when they're under stress, it's not unusual for couples to turn their fear, anger, and stress onto each other. This compounds the problem and makes everything seem even more hopeless."

Wasson offers couples seeking marriage advice ten tips for surviving the economic crisis with their marriage intact:

1. Limit the time you spend watching the news and reading gloomy predictions. You are affected by what you see and hear, spend time thinking about, and talk about. Your mood and attitude will affect your interactions with your spouse.

2. Avoid the negative gloom-and-doom prophets at work, and be selective about who you and your spouse spend time with when you're socializing. Are the people you're choosing to be with raising your spirits or depressing them?

3. Watch the words that you use in talking to others and in your self-talk. Talking about how horrible things are will only bring you down and make it more difficult to create the positive type of marital relationship that you want. Bad moods and negativity are contagious and can contaminate everyone around you.

4. Be proactive about increasing the positive influences in your life. Seek out positive individuals and couples. Seek out positive experiences, such as going to church together or planning fun weekend outings. Seek out inspiring quotes, books, and audios that are uplifting.

5. Decrease the stress in your life by taking action to feel your best. Eat healthy, get extra rest, explore meditation, take a yoga class or Tai Chi class, and schedule time for relaxation and recreation. The better you feel, the more energy and emotional stability you'll have to use in building a better marriage.

6. Become aware of when you're projecting your own bad mood, fears, anxiety, or stress onto your partner. Take responsibility for your own moods and issues and own what's yours to resolve instead of blaming your mate.

7. Practice keeping focused on the present moment and spend less time ruminating about mistakes in the past or possible disasters in the future. When you're fully present in the moment, you have increased access to your creativity and personal power--abilities that you need to keep your marriage healthy.

8. Keep your expectations positive. Expect the best outcome possible. Expect that you and your partner will find creative solutions to your marital problems.

9. Look for the best in your partner and keep a gratitude list of the blessings in your life and in your marriage. It takes discipline and practice to choose to focus on the positive instead of being dragged down by the negativity around you. If you build up your ability to be more consistently positive, you'll be stronger individually, and you'll be stronger as a couple.

10. Work on developing a spirit of teamwork and partnership with your mate. Together you can weather the storm. Together, you can brainstorm and come up with creative ways to resolve the relationship problems. Together, you can nurture hope and optimism in your marriage.

Marriage counseling coach Nancy Wasson, Ph.D., consults with couples in unhappy marriages and provides help through the privacy of telephone consultations. She is the co-author of "Keep Your Marriage: What to Do When Your Spouse Says 'I Don't Love You Anymore!'", available at Wasson also offers a free weekly marriage advice newsletter at

In addition, Dr. Wasson has created "Overcome Control Conflict with Your Spouse or Partner: What to Do If Your Mate Says You're Too Controlling OR If You're Tired of Being Controlled", which is available at


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