Rhonda Audia – the “Guru for Two”

Your dream house has become a nightmare. Because of great interest rates and an adjustable mortgage, you were able to get everything you’ve always wanted in a house. And, that equity loan you took out allowed you to appoint it just the way you wanted.
Now, the interest is about to take a huge jump, your husband’s job has cut back hours, or worse, started laying people off and you can’t even think of selling because the depressed market means you might have to sell your ‘dream’ house for less money than you’ve got in it.
Now is the time couple really need to pull together but – let’s be frank – many don’t. The stress seems like it’s just too much and that person sitting across the table with the calculator and the worried look on his or her face is to blame for all this.
Money problems are a number one stressor for couples – even when times are good.
When times are bad, money problems can be catastrophic for a relationship.
I’m not going to tell you how to get through these tough times economically. That’s the job of some other columnist.
What I’m here to do is give you some tips on how to keep you relationship – even if it looks like you could lose everything else.
Let’s start here. Your arguing isn’t about the money; it’s about your differences.
You and your mate are two different people. That can cause conflict.
In fact, that will cause conflict. That is unavoidable in relationships.
But, conflict does not have to be divisive.
Did you just laugh semi-hysterically? I understand. It’s hard for people to wrap their head around this idea but I am here to tell you in no uncertain terms that your conflicts do not have to tear you apart.
The secret is this. It’s just a choice. Choose to stay emotionally connected while working through these differences – in this case, your differences over money.
When I say emotional connection I am talking about feeling respected and understood by your partner and vice-versa.
O-k, I know, that sounds easier said than done. But, to stay connected in the midst of these economically stormy times, try these four steps.
1) Shift your focus from your self or the other person to the couple that you are. In other words, change your view from ‘me against you’ to ‘us against the problem.’ You’ll not only feel more connected, but you might actually get something done.
2) Talk to communicate, not to change. As I said before, you and your partner are two different people. Accept that (as much as you can) and stop trying to change your partner. Instead, try to communicate to your partner how you are feeling. Try to communicate to your partner that you want to know how they are feeling. When you stop trying to change your partner, you really will see progress made on the problem.
3) Remember that you are not your anger. You may be very angry, but underneath anger is always fear. Talk about your fear with your partner and encourage your partner to do the same. Soothing each others’ fears puts a real damper on anger.
4) Learn to share power. You may never have said this out loud, but you know it inside – and so does your partner. Part of the relationship dance is a power struggle – an unwinnable power struggle. It’s a radical thought, but you could let your partner influence your thinking. They may actually be on to something. You may be able to negotiate a solution or you may just agree to disagree. Either way, you will be closer to coming up with a way for you – as a couple – can attack the problem.

Tough economic problems are hard enough. Losing things you’ve worked so hard for really does hurt. But, I urge you to work through these steps so you don’t lose something more precious than anything material – your relationship.

Author's Bio: 

Rhonda L Audia is a Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience in couples counseling. She is the founder of the “Guru for Two Counseling Center: Enlightened Couples Counseling.” For more information visit Contact Rhonda at or call 513-793-0111.