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You can blame the recession and failing economy for many things: rise in crime, homelessness, job cuts, but you cannot blame the economy for failing marriages and increase in divorces. After almost 14 years together and nearly 10 years of marriage, my husband and I have had every argument a married couple will ever have. We’ve had some ugly days. I mean uglier than Flava Flav’s baby picture. So not much is an issue for us.  Even with financial challenges, the recession has brought us closer together, and it can do the same for you.

Don’t Snap

Take it easy when the bills come. It’s neither of your fault unless one of you has a gambling problem. You’re both doing the best you can. Don’t blame the kids for the high electric bill because they charged their cell phones overnight. The bills are here. Be thankful if you’re able to pay them. If you can’t, be thankful you have each other and invest in some candles.

Reminiscing about a former love is a no no

Let it go. Yes, your ex is rolling in wealth and has the life of a TV star, while you’re thinking of innovative ways to prepare chicken. You didn’t marry him. You married this spouse. So focus on this marriage, on this person, and enjoy eating chicken 11 days in a row.

Take time out for each other

So what you can’t afford to go out like you used to. It’s okay. Prepare a nice candlelight dinner at home and make your children dress up as waiters and serve you both. Don’t let them live in your house and not work. Even if your child is five, she can still carry a cup to the table. It’s not like she’s in a sweatshop in Taiwan making GAP jeans. Plus the children will enjoy seeing mom and dad having a good time.

Encourage each other

There’s nothing more annoying in tough times than a spouse who is nagging and negative. You don’t need to say everything you think. Tell your spouse how wonderful he or she is. Make him feel like the smartest, strongest and best husband on the planet. It will help him be easy on himself. Husbands, be easy on the wives. Don’t complain about the way she looks or dresses. Maybe if you earned more money, she would dress better, but you don’t want her to go there.

Say out loud, “Divorce is NOT an option”

Take the D-word and throw it out of your vocabulary. You are in this together. Remember when you said your vows before God, “for better or for worse,” welcome to worse. Not worst but worse. if you can’t afford to stay together, you definitely cannot afford to be apart. That’s multiplying all your bills you already don’t have money to pay by two. It’s not worth it. No storm lasts forever; neither do tough times.

Whether your family is living on one income or no income, you can maintain a healthy marriage, even in a recession. We read all the time about wealthy people getting divorced. Money doesn’t make a marriage; two dedicated people do. I learned a long time ago that love is not a feeling. Love is a commitment. No matter how you feel, stay committed to the marriage, each other and the journey. You’ll make it. The best part, you’ll do it together.