Holiday Stress and Economic Woes Can Be Dangerous to Marriages

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With extra responsibilities, activities, and spending Holidays create anxiety. In this economic climate where many families have not recovered, this holiday season can be especially stressful.

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, author of Make Up Don’t Break Up advises couples to “holiday proof” their marriage in these economically challenging times.

“Holiday stress coupled with money anxiety is a set up for marital problems,” warns Dr. Bonnie. There is a direct correlation between stress and behavior that can be detrimental to relationships. From drinking too much, over eating, lack of sleep, and a myriad of other stress related behaviors a marriage on the brink can suffer irreparable damage.

According to a 2006 survey by the American Psychological Association(http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/women-stress.aspx) women are susceptible to feeling more stressed and engage in unhealthy behaviors during the holidays.

Dr. Bonnie suggests that both partners engage in activities that counteract the stresses many couples are sure to experience this holiday season. “Kiss more, hold more, and create playful fun activities that aren’t costly.” Dr. Bonnie also recommends that couples tell the truth to their extended friends, family and children about their economic situation. “Don’t write checks you don’t have money for. Send a card with a loving sentiment instead of gifts if money is tight. Friends and family will understand, and are most likely in similar economic situations.”

Unhappy kids who act out is a serious marital stress. Parents must also realize that their children feel anxious, and busy parents miss the cues. “According to a 2009 study, (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/11/stress.aspx), teens and tweens were more likely than parents to say that their stress had increased in the last year. Nearly half of the teens surveyed ages 13-17 said that they worried more this year, but only 28 percent of parents think their teen’s stress increased, and while a quarter of tweens ages 8-12 said they worried more this year, only 17 percent of parents believed their tween’s stress had increased. “This has two implications. Children are more stressed than ever, and parents aren’t aware,” explains Dr. Bonnie

Dr. Bonnie recommends that parents have healthy and honest discussions with their children about their fears and concerns, and teach appropriate behaviors to relieve stress, like playing ball instead of video games. Physical activity releases stress, while sitting exacerbates it.

Make Up Don’t Break Up offers communication tips, and assists couples develop skills to stay together when faced with adversity and the stressors of daily life.

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil (Dr. Bonnie) is a relationship expert who was named by Psychology Today as one of America’s best therapists, and by New York Magazine as one of New York City’s best therapists. Known as “The Adultery Buster” and the “No. 1 Love Expert,” she is the best-selling author of Adultery: The Forgivable Sin (adapted into a Lifetime movie starring actress Kate Jackson), Make Up Don’t Break Up, Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples (Revised edition Feb 2010, including DVD How to Fall in Love and Stay in Love for Singles and Couples), Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery?, Staying Not Straying, How Not to (S)mother Your Man and Keep a Woman Happy, and Financial Infidelity; The #1 Relationship Wrecker.

Dr. Bonnie has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, a three-day series on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating, Discovery Health documentary "Infidelity" and A&E on addictions. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN.

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|Diane Dennis
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