Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Is the economy ruining your marriage?

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By George Mannes, Money Magazine senior writer

Question 5. You can't help it: You think the financial pickle your family is in now is your husband's fault. After all, he insisted that you buy a too-expensive house, which drove up your expenses by a third. He, on the other hand, says it's your fault for poorly managing your IRA s, which lost almost half their value last year. Which of you is to blame?

A. You. You should never have loaded your IRAs with risky stocks.

B. Your husband. Digging out from a financial hole is tougher than waiting for the market to bounce back.

C. Both of you are equally to blame.

D. Neither of you should feel that it's your fault.

Answer : C or D. Ultimately it doesn't matter who was responsible for your financial predicament; what's important is that you don't get hung up on finger-pointing.

Stressful situations often lead couples to lay blame, says Barbara Mitchell, a clinical social worker in New York City who specializes in money issues. "There's a tendency to scapegoat one another, which starts a real downward spiral," she says. Researchers have consistently found that the more "negative interactions" you and your partner have -- and laying blame for the family's financial woes certainly qualifies -- the worse your relationship will be and the more likely you'll start thinking about divorce.

Instead of criticizing each other, fault the true culprit, the economy, and form a united front against it.

Schedule regular weekly meetings in which you and your spouse discuss financial problems and possible solutions calmly. That sort of quarantine will prevent your financial gripes from infecting the rest of your day-to-day interactions. Defuse the emotion by focusing on the task. Instead of arguing about who wanted the McMansion more, look into refinancing to lower your costs or trading down to a smaller house.

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Driving the ultimate in '50s Mercedes-Benz style The SC was the car that re-introduced Mercedes-Benz as a global luxury car icon. More
Driving the world's first car Driving a replica of the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first internal combustion automobile. More
Your guide to Cyber Monday sales This year, more Cyber Monday sales than ever start well before Monday. Here's where to shop if you don't get your fill on Black Friday. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play