Friday, November 21, 2008

Marriage, Money and Mayhem

A crisis in most cases depends for its severity on your own perception. Some people lose a job and see it as a catastrophe, others might see it as an opportunity. I know a very wealthy man who owns and operates restaurants. I once asked him what he'd do if his (first) restaurant burned down. He said "I'd throw a party! It would give me the freedom to try something new."

The spreading financial crisis we are in today also offers multiple points of view. If you're heavy into stocks, it's pretty serious. If you are a financial crisis counselor, this is your moment. Within marriage, challenges can drive a sense of panic which can drive a couple apart. We forget to hug.

It's important to remember the formula for hysteria: two parts fear, one part anger plus a whole lot of projection (we like to think we know the future). We don't know as much as we think we know and, if you're addicted to media versions of life chances are your fear will be fed until your psyche is obese with it. Relationally, fear plus anger equals distance.

For a moment, turn away from the sources of information you rely on. Turn towards your partner and in the quietest possible way share your fears. Don't try, at that moment, to analyze them, and don't try to solve them. Simply share them with each other. When you're done, repeat this simple sentence to each other: "I do not know what anything (including this current situation) means. And I will not use my past experience to guide me now." (this is from The Course on Miracles and is a good meditative sentence)

Another good meditative sentence comes from the New Testament. I have taken the liberty to write the apostle Paul's words in my own language. Here it is: "There are no challenges confronting you but those that are common to men. God, however, is right here and able to help. He will not challenge you beyond your abilities but will, with the challenge, offer a pathway through that you may be able to succeed." (I Corinthians 10:13)

Money is a 'shape shifter' and can easily seduce us into feeling like we're orphans. When mayhem beckons, move towards each other. Embrace your love. Live in the present and remember 'you are not alone.'

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