As people are increasingly losing jobs, and being thrown towards forced retirement due to recession, their married lives are hitting a rough patch as well.
A large number of couples are reporting growing tension after one partner retires, or is forced to retire due to layoffs.
And researchers have said that job loss is pulling people apart instead of making them closer.
They have found that this could be because coping with the unexpected job loss can jolt a person's relationship as they spend everyday together, leading to irritation and boredom.
Psychologists have attributed the change in behaviour among couples to the fact that any major transformation, expected or unexpected, alters life in unimaginable ways.
But people can still pull their married lives together by following some simple tips to reduce the tension, which are:
1. Redefine your job loss as a temporary transition and as a time to explore what you really want to do when the economy picks up.
2. Identify your connectors. Let everyone know what happened and that you are well and available.
3. Use your time wisely. In addition to job hunting, set aside at least two days a week to either volunteer or set up an internship for yourself in a place you would someday like to work.
4. Keep your stress level under control. Take up walking, yoga, meditation, reading, swimming.
5. To reduce tension with your spouse, initiate an 'Expectation Exchange'. This is the time to discuss your relationship and how it is being affected by your job loss.
6. If you cannot discuss the situation openly it might be helpful to meet with a counsellor, therapist, psychologist or social worker -- someone who can bring underlying feelings out into the open and help the couple resolve the tensions.
7. Go to Plan B. Realise that your life has not followed the script you both had in mind. You are experiencing an event -- job loss -- and a non-event -- not having the life you expected. This is the time creatively brainstorm your plan B. This is the time to rethink your script and realise that today is not forever.
Has the recession taken a toll on your relationship with your spouse?
Have financial tensions ever threatened to damage your marriage?
What was the experience like and how did you cope with these factors?
Share your experiences and advice with us -- simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: 'How recession affected my marriage'). Interesting entries will be published right here on rediff.com and names will be withheld upon request.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh